Reuben’s Train video from Todd Taylor

What’s this…? Rock ‘n’ roll banjo man Todd Taylor playing an Earl Scruggs tune? Someone must have gotten their signals crossed.

Nope… Taylor is just returning to the Scruggs’ style banjo he mastered in his youth, when he first came to wide attention. It was as a teen and young adult that he made repeated appearances on the Grand Ole Opry, and on a variety of television programs like Regis & Kathy Lee and the Jerry Lewis telethon. With Lewis he demonstrated just how much someone with a variety of muscular dystrophy could accomplish.

While his illness has created problems for Todd throughout his life, his faith has always kept him on track, and even while hospitalized he never lost his cheerful disposition.

The rock banjo became his calling card when Taylor took his five to the Rick Dees Weekly Top 40 radio show in the mid-’80s, and played his version of Free Bird. He’s been the rock ‘n’ roll banjo man ever since.

But check out his take on Reuben’s Train, an Earl Scruggs classic from the 1950s. You’ll hear a few elements of Todd’s fascination with rock music, like the flanged guitar in the intro, but it’s mostly just solid pickin’ and singin’, with a bit of double banjo at the end.

Reuben’s Train by Todd Taylor will be in the popular download and streaming services soon online. Radio programmers can get the track now via AirPlay Direct.

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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.