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Earl Scruggs and Foggy Mountain BreakdownThe Making of an American Classic$
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Thomas Goldsmith

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042966

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042966.001.0001

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The Piedmont’s Rich Musical Soil

The Piedmont’s Rich Musical Soil

Chapter:
(p.12) 3 The Piedmont’s Rich Musical Soil
Source:
Earl Scruggs and Foggy Mountain Breakdown
Author(s):

Thomas Goldsmith

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5622/illinois/9780252042966.003.0003

The piedmont areas of North and South Carolina provided much of the music that Earl Scruggs heard in his youth. After hearing the music of banjoists such as Charlie Poole, Snuffy Jenkins, Fisher Hendley, Smith Hammett and Mack Woolbright, Scruggs created his own three-finger style. Poole was a successful recording artist and model performer whose banjo playing resembled the classic style. Snuffy Jenkins is most often cited as Scruggs’s predecessor in three-finger banjo. Fisher Hendley was a businessman and civic figure as well as a musician. Woolbright was a blind musician who made a deep impression on Scruggs. Smith Hammett played a three-finger style perhaps inspired by a traveling African American musician. Hammett experienced a violent death. Scruggs came up with his own style when 10 or 11 years old while playing in the parlor of his family home in Flint Hill. Jim Mills explains Scruggs’s unique step forward.

Keywords:   Earl Scruggs, Charlie Poole, Snuffy Jenkins, Fisher Hendley, Smith Hammett, Mack Woolbright, banjo, three-finger style, Jim Mills, Bob Carlin

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