Thomas Goldsmith presents Earl Scruggs and Foggy Mountain Breakdown
Thursday 9/17, 7 pm
Thomas (Tommy) Goldsmith is a North Carolina-born journalist and musician based in Raleigh.
His new book, Earl Scruggs and Foggy Mountain Breakdown: The Making of an American Classic, contains extensive interviews with bluegrass banjo master Scruggs, as well as deep historical research and talks with such acoustic stars as Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Mac Wiseman, Jesse McReynolds and others.
Remarked Douglas Green, a well-known music scholar as well as “Ranger Doug“ of Riders in the Sky:
“Thoroughly researched, elegantly written, this is a superb study of a tune, a man, and the creation of a highly distinctive American musical style. Loaded with information and interpretation, its warm personable style makes for a compelling and insightful read.”
The author's grounding as a singer, songwriter, guitarist and record producer reaches back to the rootsy, freewheeling scenes in North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, from the late '60s until 1982. He stayed active in the field after talking his way into a job in daily newspapers in 1983.
As a music journalist, he spent seven years covering the Nashville scene at the Tennessean, wrote for consumer and trade publications including Billboard, the Journal of Country Music, Bluegrass Unlimited, and Country Song Roundup. His book The Bluegrass Reader (University of Illinois) won the International Bluegrass Music Association’s journalist of the year award in 2004.
As a musician, Goldsmith played lead guitar for artists including Hazel Dickens, Alice Gerrard, Marcia Ball, Alvin Crow, the Contenders, Riders in the Sky, Tim Krekel, and David Olney and the X-Rays. His songs have been recorded by the Nashville Bluegrass Band, Riders in the Sky, Uncle Walt’s Band, and Elise Witt. He produced records by Tracy Nelson, Tom House, Olney, Witt, the Nashville Jug Band, and others.
After 33 years and counting in daily newspapers, he retired in 2016 from the News & Observer, and has continued to freelance for the nonprofit North Carolina Health News and for INDYWeek.
Tommy Goldsmith continues to play music, live and in the studio, in North Carolina’s Triangle area and beyond.