George Shuffler in the news

George ShufflerWe posted last month about pioneering bluegrass guitarist George Shuffler being recognized by the North Carolina Arts Council for his lifetime of contributing to the world of traditional and bluegrass music. George worked with The Stanley Brothers for many years, and his crosspicking style is imitated to this day by successive generations of bluegrass guitar pickers.

The News & Observer in Raleigh, NC has published a lengthy profile on Shuffler by staff writer David Menconi, which includes a memorable interview about how George got started on guitar.

It’s not too hard to persuade Shuffler to pull out his guitar and show off a little. Does he play much anymore?

“Oh, no more than I have to,” he deadpans, a twinkle in his eye.

But he still plays more than passably, in a homegrown rhythmic style somewhere between country blues and sea chanteys.

“When I was 12,” Shuffler says, pausing to expel some tobacco juice into a cup, “the old fellow across the creek, Jack Smith, showed me how to do three chords — G, C and D, that might have been all he knew. I took it from there.”

“I was barefoot, walking home with my dad afterward and playing my old guitar,” he continues. “I’d stop and play those three chords, G, C and D, because I was afraid I’d forget them. I’d do that, then run to catch up with my dad, stop and play some more. That evening, Mama was humming ‘Birmingham Jail’ and I seconded on guitar. She got so hoarse she couldn’t talk.”

Simply precious… Read the full article on the News & Observer web site.

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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.