Tommy Goldsmith has been writing and playing music for more than thirty years. He is the editor of The Bluegrass Reader, the winner of the International Bluegrass Music Association's best journalist award, and former member of The Contenders, a popular band from Spartanburg in the 1970s that also featured Walter Hyatt and Champ Hood.
His facintation for Earl Scruggs led him to explore the origins and influence of "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" against the backdrop of Scruggs's legendary career.
Recorded in 1949, "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" changed the face of American music. Earl Scruggs' instrumental essentially transformed the folk culture that came before it while helping to energize bluegrass's entry into the mainstream in the 1960s. The song has become a gateway to bluegrass for musicians and fans alike as well as a happily inescapable track in film and television.
Interviews with Scruggs, his wife Louise, disciple Béla Fleck, and sidemen like Curly Seckler, Mac Wiseman, and Jerry Douglas shed light on topics like Scruggs's musical evolution and his working relationship with Bill Monroe. As Goldsmith shows, the captivating sound of "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" helped bring back the banjo from obscurity and distinguished the low-key Scruggs as a principal figure in American acoustic music.
Passionate and long overdue, Earl Scruggs and Foggy Mountain Breakdown takes readers on an ear-opening journey into two minutes and forty-three seconds of heaven.