Earl Scruggs Essay

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EARL SCRUGGS Born into a musical family on January 6, 1924, Earl Scruggs would become famous for developing a unique style of banjo picking, and ultimately help popularize the Bluegrass genre of music. Many people listened to his music during the 30’s and early 40’s on various radio shows. When he joined Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys in 1945 he became famous and would forever change the sound of popular bluegrass music. At the age of 4, in the southwestern Piedmont area of North Carolina, Earl began learning to play the banjo. He learned the popular two-finger style, using his thumb and index fingers. When he was six he played for the first time in front of an audience in Boiling Springs, North Carolina at a fiddlers convention. At the age of 10 he finally figured out the three-finger style, that would ultimately be dubbed “Scruggs-Style.” At this point Earl was working at Lily Mills, a thread mill in Shelby, NC. He would rent out the company rec building and throw fish fry’s, private parties and other social events, where he would play for money. With no electricity for miles around he learned to pick hard and aggressively, which would be a factor in his soon to be fame. Earl stayed at the mill until the war ended in 1945, at which point he decided to move to Knoxville, TN. He joined a band called the Allied Kentuckians and would soon be playing a Saturday morning radio show in Nashville, TN. On December 1, 1945 Earl’s band’s leader decided to quit. Earl tried out for Bill Monroe’s band and was hired at a salary of sixty dollars a week. He first appeared with Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys on the Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman Auditorium on December 8, 1945. His playing style was very different from the banjo players that preceded him. Earl Scruggs went on to record many albums with Bill Monroe. In 1948 Earl and the groups tenor

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