As we approach the 70th anniversary of the original bluegrass band, we find ourselves missing a good many of the pioneers that brought it to life. Many have received flowers while they were living, while others passed before seeing bluegrass stabilize into a widely recognized music form, or witness their own elevation into the IBMA Hall of Fame.
George Shuffler, credited with creating the now staple crosspicking style for guitar, has enjoyed both. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011, and has found multitudes of younger players imitate his playing.
A long time member of The Stanley Brothers in the 1950s and ’60s, Shuffler has said that he developed the crosspicking technique during lean years with the Stanleys. Often they worked as just a trio, with George swapping between bass and guitar, helping to solo and ‘fill the holes’ with his six string.
Remembering his legacy as a bluegrass icon, modern practitioners Milan Miller and Buddy Melton have released a new recording of The Boy From Valdese, which Miller wrote for Songs From Burke County, an album from 2013 with a focus on North Carolina history. It tells the story of one George Shuffler, who was born and raised in that town.
Melton takes the lead vocal with Miller on guitar, Terry Baucom on banjo, Adam Steffey on mandolin and Ron Shuffler (George’s younger brother) on bass. Harmony vocals come from Miller and Carl Jackson.
They are offering a free download of the track as a tribute to Shuffler.
George Shuffler – hip… hip… hooray!