Thu, May 24, 2018 09:01 AM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
Ricky Skaggs to play MAC July 18

This Friday, July 18, Ricky Skaggs will perform in concert at the Mountain Arts Center. The show begins at 8 p.m. and opening for Skaggs will be the Kentucky Opry.

Some could easily argue that Ricky Skaggs was a child prodigy. Skaggs was born July 18, 1954, in rural eastern Kentucky. At age three he was singing in church with his mother, Dorothy, and by age five his dad Hobert had given him his first mandolin. With virtually no instruction, it wasn’t long before the young boy had figured out his way around the instrument. Soon he was singing and playing with his family at local churches, fairs, and town socials in his native Eastern Kentucky.

Skaggs’ career progressed so fast that he won both the Horizon award and Male Vocalist award for 1982. Three years later he followed up that victory with the organization’s most coveted award, Entertainer of the Year. All the while, Ricky continued to hone his production skills, producing albums for the Whites and Dolly Parton’s much-touted return to country project, “White Limozeen” in 1990.

More importantly Skaggs helped to bring country music back around to its roots and led the revival for a much-needed overhaul. He helped to pull country music out of the slick pop sounding doldrums that had dominated the genre for too many years. He blended traditional elements such as bluegrass, gospel, honky tonk, and western swing with contemporary songs and state-of-the-art production techniques. He was a visionary in that he accomplished all of this with an eye toward the future while paying respect to its past.

Skaggs continues to pay his respects to country’s rich history while nurturing it for the 21st century. Says Skaggs, “I always want to try to promote the old music as well as trying to grow and be a pioneer, too.”

His album Solid Ground marks Skagg’s reunion with Rick Blackburn, now President of Atlantic Records Nashville. Says Skaggs of Blackburn, “He understands the marketplace about as good as anybody there is. He’s the kind of person that will give all he’s got for what he believes in. I think he understands me personally. He understands what I am spiritually as a man, a father, a husband. I think he understands those things are important to me.”

Blackburn’s earlier faith in Skaggs proved to be well-founded. Solid Ground is testimony to his faith in Skaggs today.

Tickets are available by calling 1-888-MAC-ARTS or locally at 886-2623. They are $25, $23 and $20.

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