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RICKY SKAGGS (AND KENTUCKY THUNDER)

  • From Brushy Creek (near Cordell), Kentucky.
  • Learned to play mandolin at age 5.
  • Age 7, performed on Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs’ TV show.
  • First pro job: age 15 with Ralph Stanley’s Clinch Mountain Boys. Keith Whitley also was in that group.
  • 1970, he and Whitley recorded a duet album called Second Generation Bluegrass.
  • 1971-73, lived in Washington D.C. and worked with the Country Gentlemen, playing fiddle.
  • 1974, played mandolin and fiddle in J.D. Crowe’s band, The New South.
  • 1975, formed Boone Creek with Terry Baucom, Jerry Douglas and Wes Golding.
  • 1978, left Boone Creek to join Emmylou Harris’ Hot Band singing background vocals and playing guitar, fiddle and mandolin.
  • 1979, recorded Sweet Temptation album (Sugar Hill) which launched his career in country music.
  • 1982, won CMA Horizon award and Male Vocalist of the Year award.
  • 1982, married Sharon White (of the Whites). They have four children.
  • 1984, joined the Grand Ole Opry.
  • 1985, won CMA award for Entertainer of the Year.
  • His recording of Bill Monroe’s “Uncle Pen” was the first bluegrass recording to make #1 on the country charts since “The Ballad of Jed Clampett.
  • As a country artist, he had 18 top ten songs, 12 number one hits, 8 Grammies, 8 CMA Awards, 4 gold albums, 1 platinum album.
  • 1995-97, hosted TNN’s “Live at the Ryman” series.
  • 1996, formed new bluegrass band Kentucky Thunder.
  • 1997, released Bluegrass Rules, his first bluegrass album since “Family and Friends” (1982). This album won Album of the Year (IBMA).
  • Hosted the IBMA Awards show for four consecutive years (1995-1998). Also co-hosted the show in 2002 with Patty Loveless and in 2005 with Alison Krauss.
  • 2003, performed and recorded with Doc Watson and Earl Scruggs as The Three Pickers. The live concert was televised nationally on PBS.
  • 2004, inducted into the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame (in Renfro Valley).
  • 2004, became Dr. Ricky Skaggs. He was awarded an honorary doctorate of humanities from Eastern Kentucky University.
  • 2006, he and his band Kentucky Thunder won the IBMA Award for Instrumental Group of the Year for the 8th time in 9 years. (1998-2006. In 2001, the award was won by Nickel Creek.)
  • 2008, won the Grammy (his 13th) for Salt of the Earth with the Whites (Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel).
  • 2009, won the Grammy (his 14th) for Best Bluegrass Album: Honoring the Fathers of Bluegrass: Tribute to 1946 & 1947.
  • 2011, won Entertainer of the Year at the ICM (Inspirational Country Music) Awards.
  • 2013, released live album with Bruce Hornsby.
  • 2013, his autobiography Kentucky Traveler (with writer Eddie Dean) was published.
  • Hobbies: photography, fishing, collecting pocketwatches, old Marx Brothers and Three Stooges videos.

RECOMMENDED ALBUMS:

  • That’s It (Rebel, 1975) This is Ricky’s first album of bluegrass songs, showing the promise that would lead to superstardom ten years later.
  • Sweet Temptation (Sugar Hill, 1979) Ricky shocked his fans by adding steel guitars and drums to several songs but this album launched his career in country music.
  • Skaggs & Rice (Rounder, 1980) This is a re-issue of a classic album of country duets with Tony Rice.
  • Family & Friends (Rounder, 1982) A classic bluegrass album released after he had signed with Epic Records. Features the Whites, Jerry Douglas and other top musicians.
  • Bluegrass Rules (Rounder, 1997) This is the album that kicked off Ricky’s Kentucky Thunder years. Won the IBMA Award for “Album of the Year.” Features Bryan Sutton on guitar and Marc Pruett on banjo.
  • Soldier Of The Cross (Skaggs Family, 1999) Gospel songs. Some incredible harmony vocals throughout by Ricky, Paul Brewster and Darren Vincent.
  • Ancient Tones (Skaggs Family, 1999) Won the Bluegrass Grammy Award in 2000.
  • Sing the Songs of Bill Monroe (Skaggs Family, 2000) Originally titled “Big Mon: The Songs of Bill Monroe,” this album features Skaggs and his band with guests John Fogarty, Dwight Yoakum, Patty Loveless, Bruce Hornsby, the Dixie Chicks, Charlie Daniels, etc.
  • History of the Future (Skaggs Family, 2001)
  • The Three Pickers (Rounder, 2003) Ricky performs live in concert with Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson. A DVD of this concert is also available.
  • Live at the Charleston Music Hall (Skaggs Family, 2003) Great live recording capturing the feel of Skaggs and his band at their peak.
  • Brand New Strings (Skaggs Family, 2004) Won the Bluegrass Grammy Award in 2005.
  • Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder: Instrumentals (Skaggs Family, 2006) Bluegrass and Celtic instrumentals. Won the Bluegrass Grammy Award in 2007.
  • Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby (Skaggs Family, 2007) First collaboration between Skaggs and Hornsby with Kentucky Thunder. Bluegrass piano at its best.
  • Salt of the Earth (Skaggs Family, 2007) Ricky and the Whites. This album won a Grammy in the country Gospel category.
  • Honoring the Fathers of Bluegrass: Tribute to 1946 & 1947 (Skaggs Family, 2008) The “Fathers” are of course Bill Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs and the Stanley Brothers. This album won the Bluegrass Grammy award in 2009.
  • Songs My Dad Loved (Skaggs Family, 2009) Ricky sings self-accompanied on guitar, mandolin, banjo. No band.
  • Country Hits: Bluegrass Style (Skaggs Family, 2011). The title says it all. This originally came out on Cracker Barrel Records.
  • Music To My Ears (Skaggs Family, 2013) Contemporary gospel feel to this album.
  • Cluck Ol’ Hen (Skaggs Family, 2014) Great live recording featuring Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby with Kentucky Thunder.
  • Hearts Like Ours (Skaggs Family, 2014) This is an album of duets with his wife, Sharon (White).
Artist List

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