|(Photo from Country Weekly 2-20-12)|
In October of 2010, Dierks Bentley was having the week of his life. Not only was he celebrating five years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry, but he was lucky enough to share the stage and spend time with legendary bluegrass icon, Earl Scruggs that week. Dierks called it a "career highlight" for himself.
Earl Scruggs died on Wednesday, March 28, at the age of 88 of natural causes.
According to the Associated Press, "Scruggs' use of three fingers — in place of the limited clawhammer style once prevalent — elevated the banjo from a part of the rhythm section — or a even a comedian's prop — to a lead instrument that was as versatile as the guitar and far more flashy." AP generously quoted Dierks throughout their story:
"It's not just bluegrass, it's American music...there's 17- or 18-year-old kids turning on today's country music and hearing that banjo and they have no idea where that came from. That sound has probably always been there for them and they don't realize someone invented that three-finger roll style of playing. You hear it everywhere."
AP also said, "Bentley and bluegrassers like Sam Bush and Jon Randall Stewart celebrated him at the Tin Pan South gathering of songwriters in Nashville and Eddie Stubbs dedicated the night to him on WSM, the home of the Grand Ole Opry. Bentley attended Scruggs' birthday party in January and had a chance to pick one more song in a circle with the legend. He even snapped a picture with his 3-year-old daughter, something he says he'll cherish forever. (Photo above is believed to be Dierks' 15 month old daughter, Jordan.)
"I think Earl was ready to go see Louise. I think he was ready to go. But we're lucky. We've got a lifetime of his music that's recorded to listen to and he's in a better place."Upon learning of Earl's death, Dierks tweeted:
"lost one of the pillars of bluegrass music and country music today. rest in peaceThanks to Dierks, we all know Earl Scruggs a little better and appreciate his musical influence on the world.
#earlscruggs! thanks for a lifetime of music to listen to!"
Rest in peace, Earl. God Bless.