A few weeks back I posted about the NPR 100, a series from back in 2000 that recounted “the stories behind 100 of the most important American musical works of the 20th century, across all styles and genres.”
In light of the passing of banjo legend Earl Scruggs, take a minute to listen to this episode which has a brief history of Earl — from his early days in North Carolina to his stint with Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys — and the story behind the development of Scruggs style banjo playing and the song that catapulted it into the American consciousness: Foggy Mountain Breakdown (original recording here).
There’s also lots of incredible footage of Earl and the Foggy Mountain Boys from the Grand Ole Opry on YouTube which I’d highly recommend exploring. Here are some good places to start:
Ground Speed: http://youtu.be/csSEZbRCEuc
Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms: http://youtu.be/zDgYN5qeG4Y
Little Rabbit Run: http://youtu.be/8uOy3WdT3mY
Salty Dog Blues (starting with a great rendition of “So Doggone Lonesome” from Johnny Cash): http://youtu.be/arCypiTi260
If I Should Wander Back Tonight (with some fantastic Dobro work by Uncle Josh): http://youtu.be/YORY20sG5rE