Earl Scruggs


Earl Scruggs


Music--History and criticism.
Bluegrass music.
Bluegrass music--History and criticism.
Bluegrass musicians


This interview with Bluegrass music icon Earl Scruggs begins with a discussion of his childhood in Flint Hills (N.C.). Scruggs talks about his family, and talks about his family members' musical abilities. Scruggs also talks about learning his famous "three-finger roll" style of banjo playing as a child. Next, Scruggs talks about his early experience playing at the radio station WSPA in Spartanburg (S.C.). He also talks about obtaining his high school education, a privilege few in his community were afforded. Scruggs then talks about his early career as a professional musician, which he balanced with a day job at a mill in Shelby (N.C.). Scruggs also discusses how a gig on a radio program led him to be offered a job by Boss John Miller, and talks about being courted for Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys by fiddler Jim Shumate. Scruggs also discusses traveling and performing with Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys. Scruggs talks about touring with guitar player Lester Flatt, and auditioning at radio station WCYB in Bristol (Tenn.). He then talks about how a lucky break led him to sign as a solo artist with Mercury Records. Next, Scruggs talks about recording his seminal song, "Foggy Mountain Breakdown." He also talks about recording songs such as "Earl’s Breakdown" and "Foggy Mountain Chimes" led him to become Columbia Records' number two selling recording artist, behind Johnny Cash.
Next, Scruggs discusses the band he formed with his sons, The Earl Scruggs Revue and talks about recording several albums with a variety of music icons. Scruggs also talks about the work of his wife, Louise Scruggs, who acted as the band's manager and booking agent. Scruggs talks about playing the guitar, which he learned alongside the banjo. He then talks about recording an album with Mother Maybelle Carter. Next, Scruggs talks about working with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Finally, Scruggs talks about his 1925 Gibson Granada banjo, which he has played since trading for it with Bill Monroe. He also talks about how a lack of a mandolin player led him to focus on the guitar.






Eddie Stubbs


Earl Scruggs

Interview Keyword

Bluegrass musicians
Bluegrass music--History and criticism
Music icons




“Earl Scruggs,” Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum, accessed January 27, 2020, https://nunncenter.net/bluegrass/items/show/9.