Ricky SkaggsMarch 06, 2012
(Singer, Songwriter, Guitar, Mandolin, Fiddle)
Given Name: Ricky Lee Skaggs Date of Birth: July 18, 1954 Place of Birth: Cordell, KentuckyMarried: Sharon White Children: Mandy, Andrew, Molly Kate, LucasRicky Skaggs is familiar to anyone who has followed country music over the last twenty years. But many may not know that his musical roots reach back much farther. Skaggs, who began playing the mandolin, fiddle and guitar around the age of five, joined Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys on the mandolin in his late teens. He played short stints with such groundbreaking groups as the Country Gentlemen, J.D. Crowe and the New South and his own group Boone Creek before moving to Nashville in 1980 to try his luck in country music. Refusing to give up his love of bluegrass completely became an important part of Skaggs' country image and earned him the respect of his peers and fans as he garnered 12 number one hits on Billboard's Top 20; one of these was a remake of Bill Monroe's "Uncle Pen." It was the traditionalist in him that also caused Skaggs to come back to bluegrass in the late 1990s. Today, Skaggs and his band Kentucky Thunder are preserving the traditional sounds of Bill Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs and the Stanley Brothers, while sharing Skaggs' own brand of contemporary bluegrass.
Ricky Skaggs had a life filled with music, beginning as a prodigy singing solos in the Free Will Baptist Church. His dad bought him a pawnshop mandolin when he was 5 , taught him the three basic chords, and every weekend, Ricky and his dad would gather at the local grocery store where other musicians gathered to play.
When Bill Monroe performed at the high school in Martha, Kentucky, Ricky and his parents attended, and the crowd repeatedly requested Monroe to call up little Ricky Skaggs to play and sing. Monroe adjusted the strap of his mandolin to fit Ricky and he performed the Osborne Brothers’ hit Ruby Are You Mad at Your Man, to tremendous applause.
Ricky traveled with his parents around Kentucky performing as the Skaggs Family. When he was 7, they moved to Nashville in hopes of getting him a spot on the Grand Ole Opry, but management said he was too young. He did appear on the Flatt & Scruggs TV show, earning $52.50. After two years, the family moved back to Kentucky and Ricky continued to sharpen his skills.
When Ricky was playing fiddle with his dad at a talent contest in Estill, Kentucky, he met Keith Whitley, who was also performing. Neither won, but they became friends and started performing together. When they went to see Ralph Stanley perform at a local club, they ended up on stage because Stanley’s bus had broken down. Stanley came in while Whitley and Skaggs were performing and was so impressed that he invited them to join him onstage, and asked Ricky to join his Clinch Mountain Boys in 1970, when he was 15.
After stints with several groups, Ricky formed his own Bluegrass group, Boone Creek, recording two albums with the band before joining Emmylou Harris’ Hot Band. While working with Harris, Ricky recorded a solo album for Sugar Hill on which he broke new ground by mixing Bluegrass and Country. Ricky began to seek a major label, but was turned down by every label in Nashville for being "too Country." He was given a shot by CBS label Epic in 1981 and he convinced them to let him produce his own album. The album proved fans were ready to return to the roots of Country and Bluegrass by producing four charted singles.
In 1982, Ricky picked up the "Male Vocalist of the Year" award and the Horizon Award from the CMA. The ACM named him "New Male Vocalist" and Ricky fulfilled a lifelong dream when he was invited to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Ricky was hailed as the leader of the "New Traditionalist" movement and he set new standards for live performances.
Ricky’s career has continued to be sensationally successful, with a string of top chart hits and Certified Gold and Platinum albums. He has continued to fulfill his mission to bring Bluegrass to a new generation, also taking his traditional brand of Country music to England, Ireland and Sweden. He has been recognized for his musicianship by his fans and the music industry, earning major awards and accolades along the way.
Don’t Get Above Your Raisin’ Heartbroke I Wouldn’t Change You If I Could Highway 40 Blues Country Boy Uncle Pen