The Earl Scruggs Center in Shelby, NC has caught the attention of music fans worldwide since it’s opening in January of 2014. The modern museum, established in an historic restored courthouse, celebrates the life and music of Earl Scruggs, and the culture and folklore of Cleveland County where Scruggs was raised.
Another notable bluegrass artist from North Carolina’s western Piedmont region is Darin Aldridge, who has spent his life touring and recording with top acts like The Country Gentlemen and The Circuit Riders, and more recently with his wife as Darin & Brooke Aldridge. They live about 15 minutes away from the Center in nearby Cherryville, and have been supporters and volunteers at the Center even before it opened.
Now he and Brooke are featured at the museum in an oral history exhibit on themselves in the Local Voices exhibit. The pair were interviewed several years back about their upbringing, how they met and started a band, and their lives together in music. Scruggs Center attendees can now access this 45 minute presentation when they visit the museum.
Darin has been assisting the Center since plans were first announced. They called on him to record some banjo samples to help explain the Scruggs style for interactive exhibits, and its his hands you see in many of the photos demonstrating the style. At the Common Threads Table, another interactive attraction, visitors can hear several newly-recorded tracks with examples of the sort of music recorded when Flatt & Scruggs were in their prime. Among these are Salty Dog Blues, Old Lonesome Me, and Little Sadie, recorded by Darin and Brooke with Becky Buller.
The Center also calls on Darin when tour groups arrive, and for special presentations. But it’s an easy commute for him, and he says he loves to do it.
Aldridge mentioned that he and Brooke are planning to record a new project as their schedule slows down over the winter, and that they are already looking forward to their 2016 tour schedule, which take them out west a lot more, and include a tour in Europe as well.
You can follow their schedule online.