Earl Scruggs and Friends

More a testament to the versatility of the pioneering banjo king than a career retread, Earl Scruggs and Friends takes Scruggs on a far-flung journey into the realms of a remarkably diverse group of a

More a testament to the versatility of the pioneering banjo king than a career retread, Earl Scruggs and Friends takes Scruggs on a far-flung journey into the realms of a remarkably diverse group of artists, and he leaves his mark in every instance. Scruggs adds homespun depth to Elton John's spirited (if ragged) "Country Comfort," offers structure to the vocally meandering Sting on the latter's well-written and lovingly performed "Fill Her Up," and contributes discipline and style to a surprisingly sturdy Billy Bob Thornton vocal on the Cash standard "Ring of Fire." A new look at "Foggy Mountain Breakdown," with a who's who of string wizards that includes Vince Gill, Marty Stuart, Albert Lee, Jerry Douglas, and Steve Martin (yes, that Steve Martin) dazzles.—RW