Why Is Ricky Skaggs Famous?

Ricky Skaggs is most famous for his works in bluegrass and country music. He has received numerous awards in his career and made it to the Top 100 Guitarists of the Century of Musician Magazine. Although Skaggs play various instruments, such as the banjo, guitar, and fiddle, he is best known for playing the mandolin. All four instruments are commonly used in producing bluegrass music.

Personal Life

Ricky Skaggs’ real name is Richard Lee Skaggs and he was born on July 18, 1954, in Blaine, Kentucky, the state in which bluegrass music has originated. When Skaggs was only five years old, he was given the opportunity to play the mandolin with the late Bill Monroe, who is recognized as the father of bluegrass music.

A year later, he performed in the variety show hosted by Martha White and shared the stage with other legendary bluegrass artists, namely Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt.

When Skaggs reached his teenage years, he met another teenage musician, Keith Whitley (guitar) and later on Keith’s brother, Dwight (banjo). Their group performances became quite popular and they were frequently asked to perform on radio programs. Later on, they had been able to serve as the opening act for Ralph Stanley.

Professional Career

Skaggs was part of the Clinch Mountain Boys, Ralph Stanley’s band, before joining New South of J.D. Crowe. He was also a member of the Hot Band of Emmylou Harris.

When the 90’s ushered in, Skaggs refocused on bluegrass music with his new band, Kentucky Thunder. This proved to be a smart move as he and the band began consistently reaping awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association and Grammy.

Although his interest clearly lies in bluegrass music, Skaggs had never been the type to shy away from experimentation. In 2000, Skaggs had performed with Phish, a jam band based in Vermont. And in 2007, Skaggs collaborated with Bruce Hornsby, a rock musician, for a new album.

Another notable collaboration took place in 2008 when Skaggs revived the song “Old Enough” and performed its bluegrass version together with its original artists, the Raconteurs, and Ashley Monroe.

As a producer, he owns the Skaggs Family Records, which he used in 2007 to produce an album he had worked on with The Whites.

Besides numerous personal and album achievements from various award-giving bodies, Skaggs had also claimed the 37th spot in the 40 Greatest Men of Country Music of CMT as well as being named Artist of the Decade by BBC Radio 2.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

JohnWren May 6, 2011 at 3:16 am

Thanks for your items about Earl Scruggs and Ricky Scaggs. It is much appreciated by us aficionados of the music.

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