How Chris Scruggs Carries On the Legacy of His Grandfather Earl Scruggs

Earl Scruggs was a legendary musician who revolutionized the way the banjo was played and helped create the genre of bluegrass music. He was known for his distinctive three-finger picking style, which gave the banjo a more melodic and expressive sound. He also influenced generations of musicians across various genres, from country to rock and roll.

But Earl Scruggs was not only a musical innovator, he was also a family man. He had three sons, Gary, Randy, and Steve, who all followed in his footsteps and became musicians themselves. And one of his grandsons, Chris Scruggs, is also carrying on the family tradition of making music.

Who is Chris Scruggs?

Chris Scruggs is the youngest son of Gary Scruggs and Gail Davies, both successful songwriters and producers in Nashville. His maternal grandfather was Tex Dickerson, a country singer who performed with Hank Williams and Roy Acuff. His paternal grandfather was Earl Scruggs, the banjo master who changed the course of music history.

Chris Scruggs was born in 1982 and grew up surrounded by music. He started playing guitar at age four and later learned to play several other instruments, including steel guitar, bass, mandolin, fiddle, and drums. He was exposed to a variety of musical styles, from punk rock to folk to rockabilly.

He began his professional career at age 15, when he formed a band called the Hoptown Tigers with a school friend. He also played with rockabilly singer Rosie Flores and appeared on the Grand Ole Opry with his mother. In 2002, he joined the country rock band BR549 as a guitarist and co-lead singer. He wrote and performed the title track of their 2004 album Tangled in the Pines.

In 2005, he left BR549 to pursue a solo career. He released his first solo album Anthem in 2009, which he produced and wrote 11 of the 12 songs. The album showcased his versatility as a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. He also collaborated with many other artists, such as Charlie Louvin, Andrew Bird, Ray Price, Robbie Fulks, Jools Holland, Giant Sand, Peter Noone, Bobby Bare, M. Ward, Michael Nesmith, She & Him, Billy Walker, Suzy Bogguss and Marty Stuart.

He is currently the bass guitarist in Marty Stuart’s Fabulous Superlatives band, which he joined in 2015. He also performs regularly with his own band SteelDrivers.

How does Chris Scruggs honor his grandfather Earl Scruggs?

Chris Scruggs has inherited not only his grandfather’s musical talent but also his spirit of innovation and experimentation. He is not afraid to explore different genres and sounds and to blend them together in new ways. He is also respectful of his roots and pays tribute to his grandfather’s legacy.

One of the ways he does this is by playing some of Earl Scruggs’ original compositions in his shows. For example, he often performs “Foggy Mountain Breakdown”, one of Earl Scruggs’ most famous instrumentals that was featured in the movie Bonnie and Clyde. He also plays “Flint Hill Special”, “Earl’s Breakdown”, and other classics that showcase Earl Scruggs’ banjo prowess.

Another way he honors his grandfather is by using a banjo that belonged to him. According to The Tennessean, Chris Scruggs plays a Gibson RB-3 banjo that Earl Scruggs gave to his son Gary when he was 12 years old. The banjo has been passed down from father to son and now to grandson.

Chris Scruggs says that playing his grandfather’s banjo is a way of connecting with him and keeping him alive in his music. He says: “It’s like having him there with me every time I play it.”


Chris Scruggs is a talented musician who has inherited the musical genes of his grandfather Earl Scruggs. He is also a creative artist who has forged his own path in the music industry. He is proud of his family heritage and honors it by playing some of Earl Scruggs’ songs and using his banjo. He is also inspired by his grandfather’s spirit of innovation and experimentation and continues to explore new musical horizons.

Chris Scruggs is not only related to Earl Scruggs by blood but also by music. He is a worthy successor of one of the most influential musicians of all time.

Doms Desk

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