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Earl Scruggs: The Ultimate Collection (Live At the Ryman)

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Album Review

Earl Scruggs first stepped onto the legendary Ryman Auditorium stage in 1945 as one of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys. His signature three-fingered banjo style would go on to influence countless musicians in the years to come, cementing him as a legend in his own right. In 2007, at the age of 83, Scruggs took the stage again, this time with family and friends who included Rob Ickes (dobro), Randy Scruggs (guitar, vocals), John Jorgenson (mandolin, guitar, clarinet, vocals), Jon Randall (guitar vocals), Gary Scruggs (bass, vocals), Hoot Hester (fiddle, vocals), and John Gardner (drums) to record Ultimate Collection: Live at the Ryman for Rounder Records. Boasting 18 tracks that include perennial favorites like "Foggy Mountain Breakdown," "Lonesome Ruben," "Ballad of Jed Clampett," "Soldier's Joy," "In the Pines," and "Earl's Breakdown," it's not surprising that Scruggs hasn't lost a beat, as he's been tearing through most of these songs for well over 50 years. While 2005's Essential Earl Scruggs remains the best entry point into this bluegrass icon's impressive canon of songs, it would be hard not to want to delve deeper into the man's history after an evening spent with him at the Ryman.

Biography

Born: January 6, 1924 in Flint Hill, NC

Genre: Country

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Earl Scruggs was to the five-string banjo what Paganini was to the violin. As part of the Foggy Mountain Boys and later Flatt & Scruggs (both with Lester Flatt), he created the sound of bluegrass and helped bring it to national recognition through radio shows, recordings, television appearances, and concerts. During the '40s, the group added "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" to the bluegrass canon, and during the '50s and '60s, they became the most visible bluegrass act in the country, performing often...
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Earl Scruggs: The Ultimate Collection (Live At the Ryman), Earl Scruggs
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