Foggy Mountain Tribute to Earl Scruggs
The music world lost a pair of Southern greats recently. Flat-picking guitar legend Doc Watson, 89, died in a North Carolina hospital Tuesday night. And in late March, banjo innovator Earl Scruggs, 88, passed away in Nashville. Thankfully, their legacies live on through their music, and for Scruggs, a tribute album is already forthcoming. Though in this case, it wasn’t originally planned in memoriam.
Over a two-year period, a dozen of the finest banjo players in bluegrass (including Tom Adams, Kenny Ingram, Larry Perkins, and Tony Trischka) got together in Nashville to record Scruggs’s songs. The result is Foggy Mountain Special: A Bluegrass Tribute to Earl Scruggs (June 5, Rounder), produced by longtime player and Lonesome River Band founder Tim Austin. Covering everything from traditional pieces (“Sally Goodin”) to Bob Dylan covers (“Nashville Skyline Rag”) to what many consider the biggest banjo tune of all time (“Foggy Mountain Breakdown”), the twelve songs on the album are based on live and studio tapes of Scruggs’s playing. All told it’s a fitting homage to the man whose eponymous three-finger style (“Scruggs style”) changed the banjo forever. “With Mr. Earl practically owning the three-finger roll, he created a sound no one else had,” Austin says. “How many folks can say that?”
>First Listen: Click to hear two songs from the album: “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” and “Steel Guitar Rag”