Earl Scruggs mural painted in downtown Shelby, NC

Shelby, NC, the birthplace of Earl Scruggs and the home of the Earl Scruggs Center, has set aside funding for murals of both Scruggs and country legend Don Gibson, also a hometown boy.

Destination Cleveland County and Uptown Shelby Association announced the project today, along with news of the completion of the Scruggs portrait, which emblazons the pedestrian alley side of Newgrass Brewing Company, just one block from the Earl Scruggs Center. Patrons of the brewery will sit at outdoor dining tables alongside the mural, which is taken from one of the most iconic photos taken of Earl as a young man when he first joined the Blue Grass Boys.

Eagle-eyed banjo aficionados will note that he is playing a style 11 banjo, before he acquired the Hearts & Flowers Granada so commonly associated with him during his time with Flatt & Scruggs.

Work on the Gibson mural is set to begin soon. It will be located on the building that houses Miss Molly’s Boutique, which was the one-time residence of Don’s wife, Mrs. Bobbi Gibson.

Scott Nurkin of The Mural Shop in Chapel Hill, NC, is the painter for both projects, as a part of the North Carolina Musician Murals Project. He says that it gives him great pride to be able to remember them in this way.

“Earl and Don are two of the biggest names in country and bluegrass music, and given their undeniable talent and accomplishments, they had to be a part of the NCMMP. The work of the performers included in the project covers an immense spectrum of musical genres and makes me proud to call North Carolina my home. My hope is that these murals recognize the accomplishments of these incredible musicians as well as spark interest and curiosity.”

Nurkin is currently completing a mural of John Coltrane in his birthplace of Hamlet, NC.

So when visiting Shelby to see the Earl Scruggs Center, be sure to visit Newgrass Brewing and pay your respect to the great Earl Scruggs.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.