Friday, March 30, 2012

Earl Scruggs is gone now...

Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs with The Foggy Mountain Boys
Boarding the Martha White Tour Bus

Dear Wynn,

It was a bright Sunday afternoon at the bandshell in Centennial Park in the warm spring of probably 1963. We were lucky and we found a place to park on the street off West End nearby. We were always lucky in those days. On the green grass meadow in front of the stage, what seemed like hundreds of people patiently waited to see and hear the best bluegrass band in the world... live.

Dodging the crowd, we marched to the backstage entrance where you escorted me inside. There, Lester Flatt and Earls Scruggs sat around taking sips of Jack Daniels in Dixie cups waiting for the show call to begin. Flatt recognized you immediately and stood to shake hands. Then Scruggs, and you introduced me to both.

Flatt was friendly with a sharp eye. Scruggs was shy and smiling. They were elegant men. They were humble, and they were creators of something brand new and amazing and exciting. In my self-centered youth, I didn't realize how much their musical art had affected practically everyone in America and millions across the planet.

On the five minute call, we left the backstage to go around for the show. We stood under an oak tree far out to stage left. The Foggy Mountain Boys entered followed by Flatt and Scruggs.

No drums. No piano. No horns. Just strings. Strings that made sounds from another more perfect world.

Thank you for taking me to that concert, Wynn. And thanks for introducing me to Scruggs who is gone now, certainly to some beautiful cabin on a hill.

Hope you are well and prosperous. Best to all of the family. I'm heading back over to Asia for more teaching soon. I'll keep in touch.