Winston Marshall says the late banjo player 'should be an inspiration to all musicians'

Mumford and Sons‘s banjo player Winston Marshall has paid tribute to bluegrass icon Earl Scruggs, who passed away earlier this week (March 28).

Speaking to NME, Marshall – above, left – called the fellow banjo player, who was one half of Flatt and Scruggs and a member of Blue Grass Boys, “one of the truly great pioneers of modern music.” He added:

He invented my job! He was prolific and open-minded which should be an inspiration to all musicians. For those who hear the banjo as something other than a joke instrument, it’s thanks to him.

Earl Scruggs died of natural causes at the age of 88 in Nashville on Wednesday. He popularised the three finger picking style of playing the banjo and performed the theme to The Beverly Hillbillies with his musical partner, Lester Flatt. Flatt passed away in 1979.

Scruggs won three Grammys in his lifetime including a Lifetime Achievement Award, which was given to him at the 50th annual Grammy Awards in 2008. He was a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The bluegrass band in the 2000 Coen brothers film O Brother, Where Art Thou? were named The Soggy Bottom Boys, in tribute to Flatt and Scruggs’ own group The Foggy Mountain Boys.