Earl Scruggs Memorial Broadcast - Sunday, April 1 Beginning at 8 a.m.
WKCR will be broadcasting a 6 hour festival in honor of the late Earl Scruggs who died Wednesday March 28, at the age of 88. From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday morning, April 1, our American Department will devote its shows programming to Scruggs, a pioneer of the five-string banjo. Along with Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs proved to be a fundamental musician in Bluegrass, influencing his contemporaries, and Folk musicians to come.
Scruggs was born Shelby, North Carolina on January 6, 1924. At the age of 21, Scruggs joined godfather’s of bluegrass Lester Flatt and Bill Monroe’s band Blue Grass Boys. Scruggs’ innovative three-finger style of banjo playing, Scruggs style, emphasized clean picking techniques, and lifted the banjo from its label as a comedian’s instrument. In 1948, Scruggs formed a trio band with Lester Flatt on guitar, Cedric Rainwater on bass, known as the Foggy Mountain Boys. In 1959 the group performed at the Newport Folk Festival gaining them international recognition, and solidifying bluegrass in the folk idiom. Scruggs, and the folk genre gained increasing popularity with the use of Scruggs’ iconic composition, “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” in the television show “The Beverley Hillbillies”.
Earl Scruggs’ popular achievements continued with several of his recordings used for the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde, but Scruggs, and Flatt broke up in 1969. Scruggs went on to record with his sons in the band Earl Scruggs Revue. Scruggs’ life is not without celebrity moments, but it is his innovations in rhythm, and Folk recording which WKCR emphasizes in our broadcast. Tune in at 8 a.m. Sunday morning when we begin our celebration of Earl Scruggs.