Grammy-winning country musician Randy Scruggs dies at 64

The guitarist, born on August 4, 1953, grew up surrounded by musical geniuses like Maybelle Carter and Johnny Cash, who were regular guests at the Scruggs household.


                            Grammy-winning country musician Randy Scruggs dies at 64
Randy Scruggs (Source : Getty Images)

Grammy-winning musician Randy Scruggs died on Tuesday, April 17, after succumbing to an illness. The award-winning guitarist, producer, and studio owner was 64. Randy was the second of three sons born to Nashville based musician, Earl.

The guitarist, born on August 4, 1953, grew up surrounded by musical geniuses like Maybelle Carter and Johnny Cash, who were regular guests at the Scruggs household. When the guitarist was a toddler, his father Earl had already made him famous in a banjo tune titled 'Randy Lynn Rag.'

It is believed that Maybelle's autoharp had a major influence on a 6-year-old Randy, which impelled him to start his own musical journey.

"I used to come home at two or three o'clock in the morning and go by the boys' room," his father Earl told The Tennessean in 1995, adding, "Randy would be asleep with the guitar still across his stomach." 

Top Specialty Instrument Player of the Year Randy Scruggs performs during the 4th Annual ACM Honors at the Ryman Auditorium on September 20, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images for ACM)

At the age of 13, Randy was already making music professionally and in the decades as a musician, he worked with everyone from Waylon Jennings to Miranda Lambert.

In his first few years, however, he was part of a duo with brother Gary and recorded two albums for Vanguard Records in 1969 and 1970. Their music fell in the progressive country rock genre. Their 1979 single, 'I Could Sure Use the Feeling,' featured in the Top 30, according to Rolling Stone. 

In the 80s, the Scruggs collaborated with Earl Thomas Conley by co-writing three songs for his LP, which went on top the Country music chart. Other musicians also "cut" many of Randy's songs, including Sawyer Brown, Billy Joe Royal and Deana Carter, among others. 

 Glenn Worf, Singer/Songwriter Marinda Lambert and Musician Randy Scruggs at the BMI Honors Miranda Lambert's for her First #1single with a 1940's style bash and a few hundred of her friends at The Cellar on February 26, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for BMI)

The 80s was also the time when Randy opened his studio in Nashville and the '89 recording of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's 'Will the Circle Be Unbroken II,' which was recorded at the Scruggs' studio earned Randy a CMA award. Over time, the studio facility became a mainstay for many country musicians, including Don Williams, Jason & the Scorchers, Charley Pride, Tanya Tucker, Andy Williams, Ronnie Milsap and Anne Murray, who recorded their material there. 

In 1998, he produced his solo debut album, 'Crown of Jewels' including collaborations with Emmylou Harris, Iris DeMent, John Prine, Joan Osborne, Trisha Yearwood, Amy Grant, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Delbert McClinton and Earl Scruggs among them. For his contribution to country music, the CMA named Randy Musician of the Year thrice, in 1999, 2003 and 2006. 

Guitarist Randy Scruggs poses with the 'Musician Of the Year' award in the press room at the 40th Annual CMA Awards at the Gaylord Entertainment Center November 6, 2006 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Peter Kramer/Getty Images)

The producer, songwriter and guitarist is survived by wife Sandy, daughter, Lindsey, and his brother, Gary. The family hasn't released details of his funeral service but a memorial event will be announced in the next few weeks, according to Rolling Stone. 

"Randy was a quiet man with an encyclopedia of music as his guide. Blessed to be one of the sons of musical giant Earl Scruggs and ground- and glass-ceiling-breaking business manager Louise Scruggs, he was a wise and generous producer and a brilliant session guitarist. His catalog of successes will boggle those who are willing to follow the long and impressive line he accomplished. I will miss his calm and grace as a man of the studios of our town," the late musician's friend Jerry Douglas told The Tennessean.