Earl Scruggs

Book cover showing a young Earl Scruggs with playing a banjo.
Courtesy of University of Illinois Press

Two minutes and 40 seconds of lightning-fast picking propelled bluegrass music into the mainstream. "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" written by Earl Scruggs and first recorded by Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys in 1949 helped bluegrass move from a subgenre of country to a popular and recognizable sound for American audiences.

An image of Earl Scruggs
Michael Buckner/Getty Images

We've teamed up with Come Hear NC on a podcast series that explores North Carolina music one song at a time. This week, Executive Director of Pinecone William Lewis talks with us about the legacy of Earl Scruggs and his song 'Foggy Mountain Breakdown.' It's a tune that is as relevant at bluegrass festivals today as it was when it was written in 1949.

David Hoffman

Earl Scruggs is considered one of the most influential banjo players of all time. He made a name for himself performing with Bill Monroe’s band on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in the mid-1940s. Scruggs went on to compose seminal records like “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” and “The Ballad of Jed Clampett.”