Country Artist Ricky Skaggs

Rickie Lee Skaggs (born July 18, 1954), known professionally as Ricky Skaggs, is an American country and bluegrass singer, musician, producer, and composer. He primarily plays mandolin; however, he also plays fiddle, guitar, mandocaster and banjo.
Skaggs was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2018.

–A life full of music. That’s the story of Ricky Skaggs. By age 21, he was already considered a “recognized master” of one of America’s most demanding art forms, but his career took him in other directions, catapulting him to popularity and success in the mainstream of country music. His life’s path has taken him to various musical genres, from where it all began in bluegrass music, to striking out on new musical journeys, while still leaving his musical roots intact.

Ricky struck his first chords on a mandolin over 60 years ago, and this 15-time Grammy Award winner continues to do his part to lead the recent roots revival in music. With 12 consecutive Grammy-nominated classics behind him, all from his own Skaggs Family Records label (Bluegrass Rules! in 1998, Ancient Tones in 1999, History of the Future in 2001, Soldier of the Cross, Live at the Charleston Music Hall, and Big Mon: The Songs of Bill Monroe in 2003, Brand New Strings in 2005, Instrumentals in 2007, Salt of the Earth with The Whites in 2008, Honoring the Fathers of Bluegrass: Tribute to 1946 and 1947 in 2009 and Ricky Skaggs Solo: Songs My Dad Loved along with Mosaic in 2010), the diverse and masterful tones made by the gifted Skaggs come from a life dedicated to playing music that is both fed by the soul and felt by the heart.

Ricky was born on July 18, 1954 in Cordell, Kentucky, and received his first mandolin at the age of five after his father, Hobert, heard him harmonizing with his mother from across the house as he played with his toys. Two weeks after teaching him the G, C and D chords, Hobert returned from working out of town shocked to see his young son making chord changes and singing along. He soon earned a reputation among the locals in his community. When the legendary Bill Monroe came to Martha, Kentucky for a performance, the crowd wouldn’t let up until “Little Ricky Skaggs” got up to play. The father of bluegrass called six-year-old Skaggs up and placed his own mandolin around his neck, adjusting the strap to fit his small frame. No one could have imagined what a defining moment that would be in the life of the young prodigy. By age seven, Skaggs performed with bluegrass legends Flatt & Scruggs on their popular syndicated television show, for which he earned his first paycheck for a musical performance.

In 1971, he entered the world of professional music with his friend, the late country singer, Keith Whitley, when the two young musicians were invited to join the band of bluegrass patriarch Ralph Stanley. Ricky soon began to build a reputation for creativity and excitement through live appearances and recordings with acts such as J. D. Crowe & the New South. He performed on the band’s 1975 debut album for Rounder Records, which is widely regarded as one of the most influential bluegrass albums ever made. A stint as a bandleader with Boone Creek followed, bringing the challenges of leadership while giving him further recording and performing experience.

In the late 1970s, Ricky turned his attention to country music. Though still in his 20s, the wealth of experience and talent he possessed served him well, first as a member of Emmylou Harris’ Hot Band and later as an individual recording artist on his own. With the release of Waitin’ for the Sun to Shine in 1981, Skaggs reached the top of the country charts and remained there throughout most of the 1980s, resulting in a total of 12 #1 hits. In 1982, he became a member of the Grand Ole Opry, the youngest to ever be inducted at that time. As his popularity soared, he garnered eight awards from the Country Music Association (CMA), including “Entertainer of the Year” in 1985, four Grammy Awards, and dozens of other honors. These achievements also placed him front and center in the neo-traditionalist movement, bringing renewed vitality and prominence to a sound that had been somewhat subdued by the commercialization of the ‘Urban Cowboy’ fad. Renowned guitarist and producer, Chet Atkins, credited Skaggs with “single-handedly” saving country music.


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Learn More About Ricky Skaggs

More About Ricky Skaggs

Ricky Skaggs is an American country and bluegrass musician, singer, and songwriter. He was born in Lawrence County, Kentucky, on July 18, 1954. Skaggs first began playing music at the age of five, and by the time he was six, he had already won several awards for his mandolin playing.

In the 1970s, Skaggs joined the band Boone Creek, which was one of the first bluegrass bands to use electrified instruments. He later joined the legendary bluegrass group The Country Gentlemen, and in 1980, he formed his own band, Kentucky Thunder.

Skaggs has won multiple Grammy Awards for his work in bluegrass and country music, and he has been inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry. He has also been honored by the Americana Music Association and the International Society of Bluegrass Music.

Throughout his career, Skaggs has collaborated with many other musicians, including Alison Krauss, Dolly Parton, and Emmylou Harris, and he has also recorded a number of highly successful solo albums. In addition to his musical achievements, Skaggs is also known for his devotion to his faith and his commitment to preserving traditional American music.

Today, Skaggs continues to tour and perform, and he is widely regarded as one of the most talented and influential musicians in the world of bluegrass and country music.

Is Ricky Skaggs country or bluegrass?

Ricky Skaggs is both a country and bluegrass musician. He is considered one of the leading musicians in the bluegrass genre and has won several Grammy Awards for his bluegrass recordings. However, he is also known for his work in country music, and has recorded several country albums and collaborated with many country artists. Skaggs is considered a pioneer in the world of bluegrass and country music, and his blend of traditional bluegrass and modern country influences has earned him a dedicated following of fans and critical acclaim.

Is Ricky Skaggs a member of the Grand Ole Opry?

Yes, Ricky Skaggs is a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He was inducted into the prestigious institution in 1982, and he has been a regular performer on the Opry stage ever since. The Grand Ole Opry is one of the oldest and most famous radio programs in the United States, and it is dedicated to showcasing the best in country music. As a member of the Opry, Skaggs has had the opportunity to perform alongside some of the biggest names in country music and to share his love of bluegrass and traditional American music with audiences around the world.

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