NASHVILLE, April 1 (UPI) -- Fans and fellow musicians gathered in Nashville Sunday for a memorial to bluegrass icon and banjo master Earl Scruggs, who died March 28 at 88.
The memorial at Ryman Auditorium, home of the Grand Ole Opry, featured appearances by Charlie Daniels, Del McCourt, Bela Fleck, Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill, John McEuen, Marty Stuart and Patty Loveless.
Eddie Stubbs, an announcer on the Opry and WSM-Nashville, said Scruggs was "a superhero to untold numbers of musicians and fans," The (Nashville) Tennessean reported.
McEuen, a founding member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, said in a statement following Scruggs' death his old friend was "a leader who demanded nothing of his countless followers, determined to perfect his art, yet unassuming as to his special talent and role as a legend in music."
McEuen recalled his first encounter with Scruggs -- "he played 'Sally Goodin' for 5 minutes in a 1967 dressing room after a show, showing yet another unknown admirer an easier path his notes" -- and said when Scruggs agreed to take part in NGDB'c "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" project, "it gave us the needed credibility to call on some of the icons" who joined the landmark project.
Like so many other of his contemporaries, McEuen said Earl Scruggs was "an inspiration."
"Your life's work will influence and inspire forever, as a rare few have over the years. You made it a better world."
McEuen's current project, "The McEuen Sessions," is a collaboration with his sons John, Nathan and Jonathan, which he has called "a culmination of my sons' influences that come from everything from Phish to Johnny Cash to the Beatles to The Band."