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Friday, March 30, 2012

Earl Scruggs Influence Lives Here!

EARL EUGENE SCRUGGS (Jan. 26, 1924 - Mar. 28, 2012)
by Gerry Mitchell

I was very sad to hear that Earl Scruggs passed away on Wednesday at the age of 88.



If you have ever had an interest in a stringed instrument, I encourage you to explore this man's life, and his contribution to banjo players everywhere. The internet will undoubtedly be the best place to find information about his life and accomplishments.
I don`t believe there is a banjo player out there who has not been influenced by Earl in some way and I am no exception.

First Encounters with Earl Scruggs Style


In the winter of 1974/75, I was attending College in Kingston, Ontario. My friend Joe, invited me to his place to meet some friends who were visiting from his home town of Kirkland Lake, Ontario. He told me they would be playing a guitar and a banjo, and that I might enjoy listening to them. I had heard banjo music on the Beverly Hillbillies TV show, as well as the Bonnie & Clyde, and Deliverence movies. The experience of hearing it live was something special. I must have had a thousand questions for the banjo player. He told me the music was called Bluegrass, and he used a three finger style of picking developed by Earl Scruggs.

Earl Scruggs Treasure Discovered


Two years later while browsing a pawn shop in Toronto, Ontario I spotted some banjos. The sight of the banjos sent my mind back to that day at Joe's. I went home with a $50 banjo, and a renewed passion to play. I took that banjo with me to my first Bluegrass Festival in Carlisle, Ontario where I found the holy grail- an Earl Scruggs instruction book!

Thank You Earl Scruggs


After two months, and daily repetition of the three finger pattern rolls laid out in Earl's book, I started to hear something that resembled the sound I heard that day in Kingston three years earlier.
The beast had been tamed, and another banjo player was spawned by Earl Scruggs.
Damn! Another one! Oh no!
Thank you Earl for sharing your gift with us.
Rest in peace.
About the Author:
About the Author:Gerry Mitchell plays Bluegrass banjo with the Northland Ramblers, and is the driving force behind Bluegrass Sundays upstairs at Royal Canadian Legion Branch 497 in Omemee. When not encouraging other musicians at the Legion, you can find Gerry and the Northland Ramblers performing fundraising concerts for local churches,and organizations. Gerry will not be at this week's Bluegrass Pickin'' Session, but invites you to enjoy the fun, and camaraderie at the Legion this Sunday starting at 2pm with Bob Hunter as your host. For more information, call Gerry Mitchell at 705-799-5008 or see the Omemee Bluegrass Events

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