Legend sighting: As an accidental bluegrass fan (having kids does the darndest things), I’ve come to discover there are many people I’ve never heard of who are genuine legends in a home-grown American art form. Ironically, even when one lives in Nashville as I do, it is a rather staggering statistical long-shot for non-musical, city-slicking parents with no ties or affinity for anything twang to look up one day and see their off-spring fiddling Orange Blossom Special in front of a couple thousand screaming folks. It’s a long-shot, but believe me, it can happen. But even when you’re an accidental bluegrass fan (which, and this may be hard for some to understand, is quite different from being a country music fan) living in Nashville you have the chance to actually recognize it when a bluegrass legend is standing next to you in a check-out line or at the airport.
Of course, there are legends…and then there are icons. Earlier this evening, in as pedestrian a place as a big-chain Italian restaurant, I glanced over to notice that also waiting for a table was Earl Scruggs (official site w/ sound file). Even non-bluegrass fans know his music (Beverly Hillbillies Theme, for instance). But some of those of us “into bluegrass” can make a convincing argument that Earl Scruggs actually created the genre of music we now call bluegrass. (No time now for arguing the point, however. Bill Monroe gets the credit…let’s just say Earl Scruggs was instrumental in its creation.)
My 14-year-old son never got the chance to meet Bill Monroe, so it was a pretty cool moment this evening when he got to shake hands and chat a few seconds with a warm and friendly Earl Scruggs. The circle stays unbroken.
Sidenote: Speaking of bluegrass, back in May, I blogged my magazine-small world-connection to the young bluegrass group, King Wilkie. Recently, the group was nominated for a 2004 IBMA Award as emerging artist of the year. Congratulations guys.
rexblog bumper music from the iTunes store:
Foggy Mountain Breakdown (Flatt & Scruggs)