'Foggy Mountain Breakdown' begins our 'Bluegrass for Beginners'

Posted by David Menconi on September 11, 2013 

Flatt & Scruggs perform "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" from 1965 at the Ryman Auditorium, featured on the Grand Ole Opry Vintage Classics DVD.


If you were to try to describe bluegrass music to someone who had never heard it, you could talk for hours and probably still not do it justice. But here’s an easier solution: Just play the dozen tracks in our “Bluegrass For Beginners” playlist, and that will do as a rough neophyte’s guide to the genre.

It won’t make you an expert, but it’s a start on learning the style’s building blocks - which will come in handy leading up to the International Bluegrass Music Association’s “World of Bluegrass” festival. We’ll do a song per day, concluding on Sept. 22, when our special IBMA preview section will roll out.

And here is our first selection, “Foggy Mountain Breakdown,” written by Shelby native Earl Scruggs in 1949. Say the phrase “bluegrass instrumental,” and for most people this is probably what comes to mind. “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” has been covered by virtually everyone in bluegrass, but the best version is by Flatt & Scruggs. This version is from the Grand Ole Opry, circa 1965.

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