Grammy-winning performer Gary Scruggs, who was the oldest son of Earl Scruggs and played alongside his legendary bluegrass father as well as in a duo with his brother Randy, has died, the Tennessean reports. He was 72 years old.
Born in 1949 and immersed in the music world from a young age, Scruggs picked up guitar and bass early on, and contributed to Flatt and Scruggs’ albums while still a teenager. He and his younger brother Randy formed The Scruggs Brothers, releasing two projects together:1970’s All the Way Home and 1972’s The Scruggs Brothers. Together with their famous father, the two brothers then formed The Scruggs Revue, touring extensively under that billing and forming connections with other country and rock acts of the day, including the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
That friendship eventually gave way to the creation of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band-led Will the Circle Be Unbroken album, a 1972 collaborations project that featured contributions from titans of the bluegrass and country genres such as Roy Acuff, “Mother” Maybelle Carter, Doc Watson, Merle Travis and many others. Scruggs played on several of the tracks on that project; the album has since been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and the Library of Congress.
Over the course of his career, Scruggs would go on to serve as a backing musician and producer for Waylon Jennings, and also earned a Best Country Instrumental Performance Grammy award for his performance as part of the Earl Scruggs and Friends’ rendition of “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” in 2001. He retired from touring in the mid-’80s, but continued his work as a songwriter, and wrote or co-wrote hundreds of songs over the course of his career.
Scruggs is survived by his sons Jesse and Jaime, as well as a niece and several grandchildren. He is preceded in death by both his father and brother: Earl Scruggs died in 2012, while Randy died in 2018. Scruggs’ mother, Louise Scruggs, became the first-ever female manager in the music industry in 1955 when she began managing Flatt & Scruggs. She died in 2006.
Scruggs’ cause of death was not immediately available. A celebration of life has been planned for Dec. 8 at 2 PM at Nashville’s Spring Hill Funeral Home & Cemetery.
Remembering the Country Stars Who’ve Died in 2021:
May they rest in peace …