Thursday, June 11, 2009

Earl Scruggs "Home Again" - Shelby, NC - June 19

Earl Scruggs Family and Friends Band will headline a benefit concert on Friday, June 19th in the Malcolm Brown Auditorium of Shelby High School in Shelby, NC. Tickets for the event are priced at $25, $35, and $45 with all proceeds going to support the development of The Earl Scruggs Center: Music and Stores of the Carolina Foothills and The Don Gibson Theatre. Both Scruggs and Gibson were born in Shelby. Malcolm Brown Auditorium is located at 230 East Dixon Blvd, Shelby, NC 28152.

Cleveland County Courthouse - Home of the Scruggs Center

Photo by Cinsy

Earl Scruggs, born in Shelby in 1924, is famed for having developed the Scruggs style of banjo picking, which revolutionized the way the banjo was played and helped solidify the sound Bill Monroe was seeking to create with his band, The Blue Grass Boys. When Scruggs and Lester Flatt joined Monroe’s band during the 1945 – 1948 period, the speed and energy with which Scruggs’ banjo complemented Monroe’s mandolin play and high lonesome singing set the standard for what came to be known as bluegrass music. After leaving Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs toured with the Foggy Mountain Boys for many years. Their concerts at Carnegie Hall in New York City introduced the urban folk crowd to bluegrass music, and they heartily embraced it. Earl Scruggs, even in his eighties, remains a force in bluegrass music, influencing every other major banjo player who has come after him.

In an interview, Gary Scruggs pointed out that his mother, the late Louise Certain Scruggs, was involved in planning the Earl Scruggs Center from its beginning stages. Louise was the first woman manager/booking agent in country music and was a pioneer in her own right as she managed Earl's career through its many stages. Another Scruggs family member, J.T. Scruggs currently serves on the board of Destination Cleveland County. Gary said that his father "is very honored and pleased that the museum will carry his name. We always enjoy visiting Shelby and the Boiling Springs/Flint Hill area." He also pointed out that the Center will serve as a collection point for information, exhibits, and study of the rich musical heritage of the Appalachian foot hill region surrounding Cleveland County from which musicians like Earl Scruggs sprang.

The Earl Scruggs Family & Friends band to appear in Shelby on June 19 will include Earl Scruggs (banjo, guitar, and vocals), Gary Scruggs (electric bass and vocals), Randy Scruggs (acoustic guitar and vocals), John Gardner (drums), Hoot Hester (fiddle and vocals), Rob Ickes (Dobro), Jon Randall (acoustic guitar, mandolin, and vocals), and Keith Sewell (electric guitar and vocals). This powerful band spans the history of bluegrass music in its instrumentation as well as in the contribution of its members to the development of the genre. It should present a great show.

Earl Scruggs Birthplace - near Shelby, NC

Don Gibson Grave - Shelby, NC

Architect's Rendering of Don Gibson Theatre
The Don Gibson Theatre will open this fall in a restored and expanded 1939 art deco theater in the heart of historic downtown Shelby. As part of the Destination Cleveland County (a 501 © 3 non profit) organization’s efforts to attract music lovers to Shelby, the theatre will offer “a busy schedule of premier musical performances” as well as “variety acts, small stage productions, dance, comedians, etc.” Don Gibson was born in Shelby in 1928 and began recording and writing songs in the late 1940’s. He was a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, having written country standards like “Oh, Lonesome Me,” “Sweet Dreams,” amd “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” He recorded a series of songs with singer Dottie West. Gibson died in 2003 and is buried in Shelby. Destination Cleveland County maintains a blog, which can be found here for people interested in more information about the organization, its development, and its plans.

Earl & Gary Scruggs

Earl Scruggs & Doc Watson

Friday night’s concert will headline Earl Scruggs with Family and Friends coming home to visit Shelby and to help raise funds for the Scruggs Center, dedicated to his musical influence and highlighting the musical environment which helped to spawn the most influential banjo player of all time. People attending the concert can expect Scruggs and his supporting band to deliver a fine performance.

Darin & Brooke Aldridge Quintet

Opening for Earl Scruggs will be the Darin and Brooke Aldridge Quintet, a rising young gospel and bluegrass band also originating in Cleveland County. Their CD “I’ll Go with You” has excited critics and fans of bluegrass music. In recent months, their reputation has spread and they have received much acclaim. They were nominated for several gospel awards at the recent Dove awards presentation and performed on several stages at this year’s Merlefest in Wilkesboro, NC. They have been chosen as one of the official showcase bands for the upcoming International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) World of Bluegrass convention in Nashville in September

Darin & Brooke Justice Aldridge.

There are still some tickets remaining to this event, so order them while they last.

Earl Scruggs at the Lewis Family Festival, Lincolnton, GA - 2007