It's been a rough week in country music. We've lost two major players this week, sadly right around their birthdays.
Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith: There were plenty of "Arthur Smith" artists (notably, Fiddlin' Arthur Smith and Arthur Q. Smith), but only one wrote "Dueling Banjos." Don't think that and "Guitar Boogie" are the only two things that Arthur Smith gave the world, however: he wrote the gospel classic "The Fourth Man" (most recently covered by Dailey & Vincent on their Cracker Barrel gospel album) and nearly 500 other songs. Arthur Smith died of natural causes at his home in Charlotte, North Carolina on April 3, two days after turning 93.
George Shuffler: Bluegrass music's "style" is known as cross-picking, and George Shuffler is one of the men who brought it into the world. Shuffler played guitar with the Stanley Brothers, then with Ralph Stanley's Clinch Mountain Boys and recorded with the likes of Don Reno. Shuffler would have turned 89 on April 11. He died April 7 after some time in poor health.
A couple of relatives have also passed away recently, and they need to be acknowledged as well:
Stella Fulks: The grandmother of alt-country great Robbie Fulks died in York, Pennsylvania on March 31. She was 96 years old.
Parker Rector: Thelma Ernestine "Parker" Rector, the widow of legendary bluegrass mandolin great Red Rector, died March 12 in Knoxville after a bout with cancer. She was 86.
Remember these families in your thoughts and prayers.