Bluegrass legend and pioneering banjo player Earl Scruggs died this morning in Nashville, Tenn. He was 88.
Scruggs died of natural causes, but his passing leaves an unnaturally large hole in the fabric of American music, since his legacy is so tightly woven into the bluegrass, country and roots music we hear today.
“It’s not just bluegrass, it’s American music,” bluegrass fan turned country star Dierks Bentley told the Associated Press. “There’s 17- or 18-year-old kids turning on today’s country music and hearing that banjo and they have no idea where that came from. That sound has probably always been there for them and they don’t realize someone invented that three-finger roll style of playing. You hear it everywhere.”
Since I agree with the AP’s assessment that it’s impossible to overstate Scruggs’ importance and impact on our country’s music, I’ll let the music do the talking: