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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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Joining Bill Monroe

Joining Bill Monroe

(p.27) 5 Joining Bill Monroe
Earl Scruggs and Foggy Mountain Breakdown

Thomas Goldsmith

University of Illinois Press

Earl Scruggs joined the Grand Ole Opry, the high-profile country-music radio show, in December 1945. Although some were skeptical that he’d fit in, Scruggs turned out to be a necessary counterpoint to the approach of mandolinist and singer Bill Monroe, already a star of the show. Also in the band was singer-songwriter Lester Flatt, Scruggs’s eventual co-bandleader for many years. Another prominent figure of the day, singer Mac Wiseman, recalled that Monroe didn’t have a definite sound in mind when assembling the elements of bluegrass but was experimenting with different sounds. In later years, Monroe was to say that Scruggs has benefited more from his work with Monroe than the other way around. But most observers believe that Scruggs was the key element that brought bluegrass together as a style between 1945 and 1948.

Keywords:   Grand Ole Opry, Earl Scruggs, banjo, Bill Monroe, Monroe Brothers, Lester Flatt, Blue Grass Breakdown, Mac Wiseman, bluegrass music, Béla Fleck

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