I couldn't let the passing of George Shuffler go unmentioned. George was the third man in the Stanley Brothers for 17 years, singing and playing guitar. His crosspicking style of guitar is now the standard for many bluegrass guitarists. Shuffler utilized the style to fill in the gaps when budget concerns forced the Stanley Brothers to travel and record as a trio. Without Shuffler, the Stanley Brothers would have sounded very different, and not for the better.
George was a very nice, and quiet man. I had the honor or meeting George and and brother (who had also played in various bluegrass groups) in 2006, when they came to Ralph Stanley's Hills Of Home Festival. The event marked 40 years since the passing of Carter Stanley. When Shuffler and Ralph Stanley took to the stage to perform a few songs together, the audience knew that it was something special. The two men sang around one microphone, still leaving a little bit of space for Carter.
When I put together the book on North Carolina Musicians, I was aware that you have to include the big names. Scruggs, Watson, Taylor, and such. But I also knew that it had to include George Shuffler, with a picture of George and Ralph from that show. Without it, the book would have been incomplete, just like the Stanley Brothers, and bluegrass music would have been incomplete without George.
Safe travels, George.
April 20, 2014