In 1972, deep in the generational culture wars, Will the Circle Be Unbroken was released as a 3 LP set. A that time I was a budding 14 year old banjo player. It was refreshing to hear the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band fusing their hippie sensibility with the mastery of more mature musicians like Earl Scruggs and Vassar Clements. It opened up a world of possibilities I hadn’t heard before.
To this day their take on Soldier’s Joy remains my favorite banjo song to play or listen to. IMHO all other versions pale in comparison.
Scruggs was both a master craftsman and a transformational musical innovator, a very rare combination. Bluegrass simply wouldn’t be what it is without him. Be like Earl and goodness will ensue.