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Joan Baez
Earl Scruggs dies at 88; banjo legend was half of Flatt & Scruggs
Earl Scruggs dies at 88; banjo legend was half of Flatt & Scruggs

Bill Monroe, the man widely acknowledged as the father of bluegrass music, was in search of a new banjo player for his famed Blue Grass Boys when a young musician turned up backstage at Nashville's celebrated Ryman Auditorium during a 1945 Grand Ole Opry radio broadcast, hoping to audition. Once Monroe and his guitarist, Lester Flatt, heard the sparks fly from 21-year-old Earl Scruggs' instrument, the bandleader asked Flatt what he thought. "If you can, hire him," Flatt told Monroe, "whatever the cost." Upon joining Monroe's band, Scruggs solidified a lineup that came to define bluegrass, a rural strain of country music typified by the "high lonesome...

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