Sunday, July 4, 2010

A red, white and bluegrass Fourth

By Wayne Shelor

It's Independence Day! Click on the link below and let it play as you visit an all-red-white-and-bluegrass edition of Six String Sanctuary:

Way back when violins were first becomin' fiddles and instruments weren't 'lectrified, a man by the name of Bill Monroe pretty much "created" bluegrass music when he took country music, added a quickified edge to it, and let all sorts of instruments -- banjos in particular -- take solos to show off the musicians' virtuosity.

Then came the 1940s and another man -- Earl Scruggs -- wrote a song he called "Foggy Mountain Breakdown." He and another feller by the name of Lester Flatt had the most famous bluegrass band of all time: the Foggy Mountain Boys.

Now ol' Earl, a banjo player like Mr. Bill Monroe himself, took pickin' to whole new level of creativity. So much so that his talent eclipses subjectivity; he's The Best Dang Banjo Player Ever. His playing alone.

Earl's song "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" was featured in the movie Bonnie and Clyde. Every time there was a chase scene they played the song, and there were a LOT of chase scenes. You'll recognize some of his other songs too, such as "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" that you hear at the beginning of The Beverly Hillbillies, and "Dueling Banjos," the signature song from the movie Deliverence. Oh, and that Larry the Cable Guy fella used it, too.

Now you may not fancy yourself a big bluegrass fan, but it don't matter none if your preference is Trance, reggae, Hip-hop or soft rock, ain't nobody can keep from tappin' their toes when they hear "Foggy Mountain Breakdown."

This particular version is from an engaging album called Earl Scruggs and Friends, and if you look closely at this video you'll see everyone from Earl Scruggs (banjo) to comedian Steve Martin (2nd banjo solo) and - well, hell, here's all-a um: Glen Duncan (fiddle), Randy Scruggs (acoustic guitar), Vince Gill (1st electric guitar solo), Marty Stuart (mandolin), Gary Scruggs (harmonica), Albert Lee (2nd electric guitar solo), Paul Shaffer (of late night fame, on the piano). Jerry Douglas (dobro), Leon Russell (organ), Glenn Worf (bass) and Harry Stinson playing the brushes on the snare. DANG those boys can pick 'n' play!

Ol' Earl didn't invent bluegrass, but he's the one -- with his buddy Lester -- who popularized it years ago.

Bluegrass is about as Americana as it gets and we thought with last night's Firecracker 500 race at Daytona Beach, Independence Day and all the fireworks that go with it, this song dovetailed pretty nicely with all the festivities.

We hope it got your toes-a-tappin' this Sunday mornin'! Y'all come back now, hear?

Wayne Shelor is an occasional guest host of Sundays at the Sanctuary, where friends and regulars dial in with some noteworthy perspectives on music.

1 comment:

  1. Happy 4th to all.....Love America, and fly our flag with pride!!!!!