Earl Scruggs

Preposterous Routes

Preposterous Routes

I happened to inherit an old banjo from my granddad just as I was trying to quit smoking for the 20th time and I figured I could use the instrument to replace those perfect seven-minute smoke breaks as I wrote a deadly boring dissertation. Those seven-minute stretches soon turned to hours and my days were consumed with tracing recordings back earlier and earlier, attempting to imitate the oldest and weirdest banjo sounds imaginable, from back in the days when each little hollar had its own style, before the Dixie Limited of Earl Scruggs blew through and killed them all. 

Like everyone else, I was obsessed with the Harry Smith “Anthology of American Folk Music,”...

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