International Bluegrass Music Hall of Famer George Shufller died on Monday at his home at the age of 88. The bluegrass guitarist and developer of cross-picking played with The Bailey Brothers, The Stanley Brothers and Ralph Stanley's Clinch Mountain Boys during his career.
Born on April 15 in Valdese, North Carolina, a young Shuffler fell in love with music after attending a shape note singing school in his hometown. After hearing guitar players on radio show broadcasts, he became interested in learning to play and by the time he was 12, his father had gotten him a guitar of his own, helping make that dream come true. He spent the next few years playing in local talent shows and singing in area churches, getting better and better on his instrument.
After the end of World War II, was working in the mill when his big break came. He went to see the Bailey Brothers play a concert in Granite Falls, North Carolina Their back-up band didn't show up and Shuffler offered to play bass for them. He did so well that the brothers offered him a job that paid $60 per week playing for them in Nashville on the Grand Ole Opry radio show. The chance to play music and get paid double what his mill salary was was a no-brainer and thus, George Shuffler began his musical odyssey.
In 1950, George took a job with Carter Stanley and his brother Ralph. For the next 18 years, Shuffler played on and off with the Stanleys and the Clinch Mountain Boys. He retired from music for a while, but returned as a family gospel band (The Shuffler Family) that recorded seven albums after he heard his daughter sing in church.
George Shuffler is survived by his wife of over 63 years, Sue Benfield Shuffler; two sons, Herbie Shuffler and Eric Shuffler and Victoria Ervin; two daughters, Debra Corley and husband, Tom, and Jennie Brittain and husband, Tony; three brothers, Gus Shuffler, Joe Shuffler and wife, Sue and Ronnie Shuffler and wife, Laura; and a sister, Sue Randall. He also leaves behind his grandchildren, Bryan Shuffler, Jason Shuffler, Katie Shuffler and Molly Shuffler; and great-grandchildren, Bailee, Tanner and Leah.