PLEDGE NOW
The Life And Music Of Earl Scruggs

We’ll look at the life and music of bluegrass pioneer and banjo great Earl Scruggs.

Earl Scruggs, a pioneering banjo player and bluegrass icon, died Wednesday. (AP)

Earl Scruggs, a pioneering banjo player and bluegrass icon, died Wednesday. (AP)

Bluegrass pioneer and banjo great Earl Scruggs has died in Nashville at 88.  Earl Scruggs took the humble five-string banjo out of the rhythm section and gave it a thrilling voice.  Made it a solo star at the front of the bluegrass band.

He was there with Bill Monroe.  There with the Foggy Mountain Boys.  There when country music met rock and politics.  He was to the five-string banjo, it’s been said, what Paganini was to the violin.

This hour, On Point:  the life and music of the late, great Earl Scruggs.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Peter Cooper, senior music writer for the Daily Tennessean and a Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter. You can read his Earl Scruggs obituary here.

Tony Trischka, one of the world’s top banjo players, he played with Earl Scruggs, Béla Fleck and actor/musician Steve Martin on the album Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular.

Ron Stewart, a celebrated banjo player, he was named the 2011 International Bluegrass Music Awards Banjo Player of the Year.

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times “Earl Scruggs, the bluegrass banjo player whose hard-driving picking style influenced generations of players and helped shape the sound of 20th-century country music with his guitar-playing partner, Lester Flatt, died on Wednesday in a Nashville hospital. He was 88.”

USA Today “A quietly affable presence, Scruggs popularized a complex, three-fingered style of playing banjo that transformed the instrument, inspired nearly every banjo player who followed him and became a central element in what is now known as bluegrass music.”

Entertainment Weekly “Scruggs died Wednesday morning at age 88 of natural causes. The legacy he helped build with bandleader Bill Monroe, guitarist Lester Flatt and the rest of the Blue Grass Boys was evident all around Nashville, where he died in an area hospital.”

Video: Earl Scruggs and Steve Martin

Check out this preformance with Scruggs jamming actor and noted banjo player, Steve Martin.

Video: Earl Scruggs: Lonesome Road Blues

Check out this vintage video of Scruggs playing Lonesome Road Blues.

Video: Earl Scruggs and Béla Fleck

Here’s a video of Scruggs playing his song Salty Dog with banjo great Bela Fleck.

Video: Scruggs Picking

This musical documentary focuses on three “finger picking” musicians, Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson, Ricky Skaggs.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 3, 2015
Demonstrators shout slogans during a rally organized by supporters of the YES vote for the upcoming referendum in front of the Greek Parliament in Athens, Tuesday, June 30, 2015 Greece's European creditors were assessing a last-minute proposal Athens made for a new two-year rescue deal, submitted just hours before the country's international bailout program expires and it loses access to billions of euros in funds. (AP)

Overtime pay. Diplomatic ties with Cuba. Greece defaults. Iran deadline missed. Chris Christie jumps in. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Jul 3, 2015
Harmonica master Howard Levy, in a photo dated February 2012. (Courtesy the Artist)

Harmonica virtuoso Howard Levy tears it up with us. From Bach to the blues.

RECENT
SHOWS
Jul 3, 2015
Harmonica master Howard Levy, in a photo dated February 2012. (Courtesy the Artist)

Harmonica virtuoso Howard Levy tears it up with us. From Bach to the blues.

 
Jul 3, 2015
Demonstrators shout slogans during a rally organized by supporters of the YES vote for the upcoming referendum in front of the Greek Parliament in Athens, Tuesday, June 30, 2015 Greece's European creditors were assessing a last-minute proposal Athens made for a new two-year rescue deal, submitted just hours before the country's international bailout program expires and it loses access to billions of euros in funds. (AP)

Overtime pay. Diplomatic ties with Cuba. Greece defaults. Iran deadline missed. Chris Christie jumps in. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: July 3, 2015
Friday, Jul 3, 2015

We made a lot of last-minute programming changes these past few weeks, and you stuck around with us through it all. Thanks!

More »
Comment
 
Election 2016: Who Exactly Is Running For President?
Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015

Who is running for President, anyway? We attempt to help you figure it out.

More »
9 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: June 19, 2015
Friday, Jun 19, 2015

Why our broadcast changed in different markets this week, and a closer look at a puppet theatre vandalism in rural Norway. (Really).

More »
Comment