Those of us who have been in bluegrass since the early 1980s recall legendary broadcaster Eddie Stubbs not so much for his mastery of his on-air persona, but initially from his steady fiddle, bass vocal, and MC work with The Johnson Mountain Boys. His smooth voice and certain command of the history of bluegrass helped temper the shock of seeing a group of young, suburban-looking Maryland boys in string ties playing the music of the 1950s.
Oh, he was the same refined gentleman he is today, just almost 30 years younger, and with the same command of his vocal delivery as is evidenced on WSM or announcing the Opry.
Bluegrass guitarist and singer/songwriter Brad Davis has a song on his latest album that remembers all of Eddie’s contributions to our music, especially his ability to bring forward the sound of an earlier time. In the song Eddie Stubbs, Brad describes his own experience discovering Eddie on the radio one night, and how he found comfort in the soothing sound of Stubbs’ voice.
The song appears on Brad’s I Need Music CD on Louisiana Hayride Records, which also includes another treat. Back in 2002, Brad recorded a song he wrote with Gary Scruggs, Steel Lady Ride, and Earl played banjo on it along with Sam Bush on mandolin. At the time, Brad was playing guitar with Earl when he went out to perform, and he had become close with the Scruggs family. Davis said that he did a job for them in his studio, creating a new digital master for the audio component of Earl’s milestone instructional book, Earl Scruggs & the Five String Banjo. When it came time to be paid, Brad told Louise Scruggs that all he wanted was for Earl to play on this track.
For banjo players, any time a new Earl Scruggs track is discovered, everyone pays attention. And this is a good’n.
I Need Music is available now from popular download sites, and from Brad’s web site. Radio programmers can download a copy from Airplay Direct.