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Thousands Remember the Life of Earl Scruggs at Public Funeral

Earl Scruggs
Rusty Russell, Getty Images

Charlie Daniels may have summed up Earl Scruggs‘ contribution to country music the best. “No one will ever play the banjo like Earl,” the famous fiddle player said on Sunday, as over two thousand fans and contemporaries gathered around him at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

The Associated Press reports that the famous mourners who took time to play alongside Scruggs’ closed casket included Del McCoury, Ricky Skaggs, Bela Fleck, Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill, Marty Stuart and Patty Loveless. Everyone had a story or memory of the man who popularized the three-finger banjo playing style.

“If not for Earl Scruggs, I might not have played music at all,” McCoury said. Skaggs called him “the most humble musician I ever met.”

A couple of thousand miles away, country’s biggest stars paid tribute to Scruggs during the 2012 ACM Awards in Las Vegas. Reba McEntire and Blake Shelton roused fans to stand and applaud the banjo-man’s life and career before Rascal Flatts and Steve Martin took the stage to perform ‘Banjo.’

Scruggs died on Wednesday (March 28) at the age of 88.

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