Ryan Cavanaugh on Earl Scruggs

This Earl Scruggs tribute is a contribution from avant-garde and jazz banjo pioneer, Ryan Cavanaugh.

I was fortunate enough to have a few conversations with our hero Earl Scruggs, and having spent my formative years in an extensive study of his music, I will be inserting a little something Earl in all of my solos at the Blue Note Jazz Club in NYC next week.

I felt like really got to know Earl from the age of 10-15. I spent hour upon hour with his instructional book and records, even being influenced by his style of dress and hair style!

I attended Earl’s funeral service and was deeply moved by speeches from Charlie Daniels, Béla Fleck, John McEuen, and Vince Gill. I learned that Earl was indeed the sweet man he portrayed in all of his photos and interviews and that is something I found great comfort in. He was a good friend and father best of all.

My farewell to him was a tearful one for sure. Nashville has lost an icon and it feels as if a big part of it died with him.