In a time when the prevailing trend in bluegrass music is to fuse it with various different styles and create a progressive blend of styles, the Earls of Leicester have been reaching in the opposite direction, bringing the extraordinary gifts of Flatt & Scruggs to a new generation of listeners.
Less tribute band than revival, the Earls are one of the strongest stringbands on the circuit these days, and their latest album, Live at the CMA Theater in the Country Music Hall of Fame (Rounder Records), presents them in their natural habitat: live on stage.
Here they are delivering a song to which Flatt & Scruggs had to attach a warning label. These days, it fits in just fine with all the modern music about lying and cheating lovers, but back in the day it was simply too much to suggest that it was a woman doing the “steppin’”.
Douglas expounds, “’I’m Gonna Sleep With One Eye Open From Now On’ was a maligned song when Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs performed it in the late 1950s. Said to be improperly suggestive for the audience of the Grand Ole Opry, it was censored by radio stations for the same reason. Today it would be played without even a second thought. I guess the times, and the morals we’re held to, have both changed.”
If you can’t get out to see the Earls in person, Live at the CMA Theater is the next best thing. Turn it up and enjoy the trad-forward stringband music in this Flatt & Scruggs classic.