Just about everybody who was anybody on Music Row jammed into the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville on Thursday evening (March 10) to tour the new Earl Scruggs exhibit and say a word or two to the famed banjo man and his manager-wife, Louise.
The event heralding the arrival of Banjo Man: The Musical Journey of Earl Scruggs was basically a three-hour cocktail party held in the Hall of Fame lobby, with guests wandering off at intervals to tour the small, compact exhibit of Scruggsiana on the building’s third floor. Many took the opportunity to wander through the rest of the museum’s displays.
The crowd was so big that the party planners had to set up a bar and extra tables in the Hall of Fame rotunda to accommodate the overflow. In one corner of the lobby, there was a living room stage set where Earl, Louise and their son Randy Scruggs sat throughout the evening and received guests, many of whom knelt to talk to what some have called “Music Row’s original power couple.” Although some of the famous faces stood patiently in line to wait their turn, others came directly to the side of the stage and were ushered into Scruggs’ presence directly by Hall of Fame personnel.
Everywhere one looked there were celebrities. At one table, Eddy Arnold and his wife Sally huddled with Arnold’s biographer, Dr. Don Cusic of nearby Belmont University. At another, Tom T. Hall bent in close conversation with bluegrass legend Mac Wiseman.
Among the more notable minglers were Vince Gill and Amy Grant; Ricky Skaggs, Sharon White and their daughter Molly; CMT Hot Dish columnist Hazel Smith and her son Billy (who played guitar for Lester Flatt after he left his longtime musical partnership with Scruggs); Del McCoury; Bluegrass Unlimited publisher Peter Kuykendall and his wife, Kitsy; producers Buddy Cannon and Mike Clute; and “Ranger Doug” Green of Riders in the Sky and a former sideman for Bill Monroe.
Also, performers Tim O’Brien, Larry Cordle, Becky Hobbs, Cowboy Jack Clement, Shawn Camp, George Hamilton V and Larry Stephenson; Sirius Radio personality Charlie Monk; Grand Ole Opry star Jeannie Seely; publishing baron Buddy Killen; Country Music Hall of Famer Bud Wendell; songwriters Larry Shell and Paul Craft; and fabled bluegrass talent manager, booking agent and historian Lance LeRoy.
Banjo Man: The Musical Journey of Earl Scruggs will be on exhibit through June 2006.