Ricky Skaggs loves country fairs: To be headline entertainment Friday night
by GREG KAYLOR, Banner Staff Writer
Jul 21, 2013 | 965 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ricky Skaggs
Ricky Skaggs
Thursday was Ricky Skaggs’ 59th year of life. This Friday, Skaggs will spend a little time in Cleveland as the featured performer at the Foothills Country Fair.

(Can everyone wish him a happy birthday as a surprise when he takes the stage?)

“To the best of my knowledge we have never played in Cleveland,” Skaggs said Thursday.

But, he is no stranger to the area.

Perry Stone is dedicating the new Omega Center International located on Urbane Road.

“I would like to be able to be on hand for the dedication,” Skaggs said.

The lead man for Kentucky Thunder will be onstage Friday evening after another dynamic musical group makes their opening for Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder.

Mustang Sally will kick off the evening at 8 p.m. and Skaggs and crew will follow.

It will be a night filled with country, Southern rock and bluegrass.

“We love country fairs,” Skaggs said.

“Country fairs are family oriented and the price covers everything including our shows,” he added.

“It’s an inexpensive way for family entertainment,” Skaggs said.

Skaggs began in the music business long ago.

By the time he was 21, he was “already a recognized master of one of America’s most demanding art forms but his career took in other directions,” according to his bio which will incidentally be released into book form later this year.

Skaggs, who was born in Cordell, Ky., was thrust into the country music world via bluegrass.

He had picked up the mandolin around age 5.

Hobert Skaggs began teaching his son after he recognized a natural talent.

The “Father of Bluegrass” Bill Monroe was touring Kentucky and the crowd knew of “little Ricky Skaggs.”

According to his bio, the crowd chanted for the 6 year-old to take the stage with his mandolin, beside Monroe.

“No one could have ever imagined what a defining moment that would be in the life of the young prodigy. Skaggs made his Grand Ole Opry debut when he was seven,” according to the information.

The late Keith Whitley and Skaggs teamed with bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley in 1971.

In the late 70s, Skaggs entered the world of country music.

His talent as a musician continued to flourish and his album “Waitin’ for the Sun to Shine” topped the country charts in 1981. Twelve No. 1 hits came from the album.

Eight Country Music Association awards along with Entertainer of the Year in 1985, four Grammys and numerous other achievements were had by the child who thrived on bluegrass and then went country.

Skaggs went on to establish his own record label.

Dozens of awards have since been taken by Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder.

More Grammys for the ‘Best of the Best,” including gospel and more bluegrass albums.

The list is extensive regarding his achievements as well as Kentucky Thunder’s rumble in the music industry.

He continues to diversify …”genre-bending” and adding to the musical table … building new music from his past inspirations all while remembering where he came from and how he got there, never forgetting those who provided inspiration.

Some of his country hits include” “Crying my Heart Out Over You,” “Heartbroke,” “Country Boy,” “Honey Open That Door “and even a bluegrass favorite about Bill Monroe’s Uncle Pen crossed over.

Skaggs said he is excited about a new project which is currently being produced and set for release Aug. 20.

In the past, Skaggs has worked and toured with Bruce Hornsby.

“Bruce took a portable recording system on the tour with us. He went through the old live recordings and called me wanting to produce a live CD from what we had recorded,” Skaggs said.

“He sent me some of the stuff so we are collaborating on the project,” he added.

“I’m also excited about the release of my new autobiography “Kentucky Traveler.” It’s my life story and it will be released just before the new CD with Bruce,” Skaggs said.

“Cluck ol’ Hen” is the title for the new music release.

Kentucky Traveler will be available on Aug. 13.

“We look forward to the show Friday in Cleveland. We will be playing at the Ryman Thursday and then head to the fair Friday,” Skaggs said.