Penny Parsons to speak at Earl Scruggs Center

Penny Parsons, author of Foggy Mountain Troubadour – The Life and Music of Curly Seckler, will speak on Friday (May 19) at The Earl Scruggs Center in Shelby, NC. She will talk about Curly’s time with Flatt & Scruggs, his background in the early days of country and bluegrass music, and his life as a pioneer of the style prior to a concert by Rich In Tradition at the sendoff event for the traveling Grand Ole Opry exhibit that will be closing this week at the Center.

Parsons has spent much of her life involved with the bluegrass community, serving as marketing and promotions director at Sugar Hill Records, publicity director for MerleFest, and as Curly’s manager and producer this past 12 years. She has also contributed articles to Bluegrass Unlimited magazine for 35 years.

Her book offers a glimpse into a very different time in the music business, when artists were based at regional radio stations where they would perform daily, usually for no fee, and earn their living playing shows throughout the station’s broadcast range. Once the groups had saturated each area, they would move on to another radio station at a different city.

She will discuss the role of radio, and later television, in developing the career of Flatt & Scruggs, who were the first bluegrass band to achieve mainstream success with the American public.

Following her discussion, Rich In Tradition will offer a one hour set of their featuring music from their current album, Lonesomeville.

The event runs on Friday starting at 6:00 p.m. when Center members are invited to a reception with the author with drinks and light hors d’oeuvres, followed by Ms. Parson’s lecture at 7:00, and the concert at 7:30. A $10 registration fee for the evening will be requested.

Visitors will also be invited to tour the current Grand Ole Opry exhibit before it closes on Saturday afternoon. It features Opry memoribilia and high quality photographic prints from Gordon Gillingham who was their staff photographer in the 1950s. His black and white images include both performance and backstage photos that capture the time when television was just coming into its own.

More information about Friday’s events can be found online.

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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.