Reviewed by Dr. Tom Bibey
arl Scruggs and his sons Gary and Randy, along with Horace Scruggs' son Elam and Grand Ole Opry staff fiddler Hoot Hester took the in Earl's hometown of Shelby, N.C. to share music and family stories with the home folks. It was like we were kin come to visit with an invitation to a private family picking session in the front room where the family opens up Christmas presents.
At the recorded event, there were old stories of growing up on the farm, the discovery of the three-finger style, picking sessions over on Lilly Mill Hill, Earl's first $100 payday ("we thought we'd struck it rich") and tales $200 '41 Chevrolets.
There was Sally Goodin, (it was an audition tune when Bill Monroe hired Earl) You Ain't Going Nowhere, (Scruggs played with Dylan along the way) and stories of bluegrass festivals, Carnegie Hall, and rock 'n roll shows with The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac. They told of Louise Scruggs' negotiation skills and of T.V. shows ("The Beverly Hillbillies") and calls from Warren Beatty and movie scores. ("Bonnie and Clyde")
It was tales of country breakfasts of cow's milk and liver mush at Uncle Horace's and an order of "gravy boys" at Nashville restaurants. Mother Maybelle Carter was a babysitter for Gary and Randy along the way. Lester and Earl named their band "The Foggy Mountain Boys" after the old Carter Family tune Foggy Mountain Top. They picked The Wildwood Flower in their honor.
This theater and the new museum about Scruggs are in the home town of both Earl Scruggs and Don Gibson. Shelby was wise to decide to document this for all time. As Lester Flatt used to say (paraphrased) "Some kinds of music come and go, but in this music, folks are fans for life."
The theater and museum will be good for their tourism, but even more important, it will serve as a major documentation of the roots and history of traditional music for all time, and that is far more important.