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Earl Scruggs obit

EARL SCRUGGS, the banjo virtuoso who helped shape the sound of 20th century country music with his guitarist partner Lester Flatt, died on Wednesday in a Nashville hospital. He was 88. As a key member of Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys, which he joined in 1945, the North Carolina-born Scruggs was a co-creator of the archetypal “high, lonesome sound” that would define country, but he’s best known for pioneering the modern banjo sound with Monroe and subsequently with Flatt in their group the Foggy Mountain Boys, which surpassed Monroe in popularity. The group’s appearance at the first Newport Folk Festival in 1959 inspired young folk musicians to adopt Scruggs’ his style, and the Foggy Mountain Boys began to play the college folk-festival circuit. Unlike Flatt, Scruggs embraced the movement, recording material by Bob Dylan and other younger artists, and he also began to work with his sons, Gary, Randy and Steve. In a statement, the Recording Academy praised the Lifetime Achievement Award recipient as “a bluegrass legend and banjo pioneer [who] leaves an indelible legacy that will be remembered for generations to come. (3/29a)

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