We've just learned that country, and more importantly, bluegrass music has lost one of it's finest and most influential talents. Sadly, Earl Scruggs passed away this morning at the age of 88, reportedly from natural causes.

The accomplishments of this man could fill several books. He received his first accolades after joining Bill Monroe and a newer rendition of his Blue Grass Boys in 1945. Earl brought a new prominence to the banjo in a way it had never been displayed before, picking at the instrument with three fingers and creating a completely new sound. It was in that setting that he'd begin collaborating with fellow Blue Grass Boy, Lester Flatt, forging a fantastic partnership where he would create his most brilliant and lasting recordings.

Their 21 year partnership would dissolve in 1969 over differences in musical direction. Within those years, songs like Foggy Mountain Breakdown, The Ballad of Jed Clampett, Cripple Creek, and others, would become the standard for which bluegrass music was, and is, known. 

We like to remember him more for the fact that he was the headliner at our Beartrap Summer Festival a few years ago, and not only made the entire audience believers with his banjo magic, but lent supreme authenticity to what our event was all about.

Thank you, Earl, for holding a special and personal place in our hearts, as well as the joy and entertainment you brought to the entire world. We haven't even begun to mourn.