Established in 2003, the museum’s residency program annually honors a musical master who may also be credited with contributing a big and demanding body of labor to the canon of yankee popular music. Honorees are given a blank canvas and are encouraged to lend their very own creative brushstrokes to an up-close-and-personal musical experience. Previous Artist-in-Residence honorees include Cowboy Jack Clement, Earl Scruggs, Tom T. Hall, Guy Clark, Kris Kristofferson, Jerry Douglas, Vince Gill, Buddy Miller, Connie Smith and Kenny Rogers.
This year, Skaggs has chosen to accomplish two unique shows—each with its own theme and lineup of guest artists. The primary show, November 18, may have a rustic music theme; Ricky’s special guests that night will include Emmylou Harris, Brad Paisley, Peter Frampton, Gordon Kennedy and The Whites. The second one show, November 19, will celebrate his bluegrass roots with special guests Alison Krauss, Bruce Hornsby, Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill, Del McCoury and The Whites. Both nights will feature Skaggs’ award-winning band, Kentucky Thunder.
“Ricky Skaggs has created his own career path,” said Museum Director Kyle Young. “It’s rare to search out an artist who thrives in three different genres, but Ricky does. He's highly respected in country, bluegrass and gospel music, and he has some way of mixing these styles that delights music fans. Ricky have been an excellent friend to the museum for a few years. He was on hand, in 2011, once we announced our plans for expanding the museum. Now he's going to present the museum’s first public program in our new CMA Theater. With its nearly 800-seat capacity, the brand new theater allows us to welcome more guests while still maintaining the intimate atmosphere that makes our Artist-in-Residence series so special.”
An innovative musician, top-notch vocalist, record producer and label owner, Grammy award-winning Ricky Skaggs has developed a novel hybrid of traditional American music throughout his greater than four decades career. While he's thought to be a pioneer of country music’s neo-traditionalist movement and a flame-keeper for standard bluegrass, he also have been creatively restless, every now and then moving roots-oriented music in new, progressive directions.
Ricky Skaggs was born on July 18, 1954, in Cordell, Kentucky. His father gave him his first mandolin when he was five, and it was soon apparent that the young boy was a natural musician. A year later, when Bill Monroe performed within the nearby town of Martha, he invited young Skaggs onstage to play his mandolin. By age seven, Skaggs earned his first paycheck for performing “Ruby” and “Honky Tonk Swing” on Flatt & Scruggs’ syndicated TV show.
In 1969, Skaggs and fellow Kentuckian Keith Whitley formed a band, the Lonesome Mountain Boys, and did note-perfect covers of the Stanley Brothers’ songs. In 1970, Ralph Stanley heard the young men perform and invited them to enroll in his band, the Clinch Mountain Boys. Skaggs stayed with Stanley until 1974, when he joined the Washington, D.C.-based Country Gentlemen. He also performed and recorded with J.D. Crowe & the brand new South. He started his own band, Boone Creek, and recorded albums for Rounder Records and Sugar Hill Records. Within the late 1970s, Skaggs joined Emmylou Harris’ Hot Band and bridged the distance between bluegrass and country music—something he would do throughout his career.
Though he continued to accomplish and record with other acts, Skaggs launched his solo career with the discharge of Sweet Temptation in 1979, on Sugar Hill. His first major-label release, Waitin’ for the Sun to polish, was issued by Epic Records in 1981. The album charted four singles, including back-to-back #1s “Crying My Heart Out Over You” and “I Don’t Care.”
Waitin’ for the Sun to Shine earned Skaggs two 1982 Country Music Association awards—the Horizon Award and Male Vocalist of the Year. He became a member of the Grand Ole Opry that very same year. His follow-up album, Highways & Heartaches, served up three more #1 singles—“Heartbroke,” “I Wouldn’t Change You if I Could” and “Highway 40 Blues.”
The following album, Don’t Cheat in Our Hometown, scored Skaggs three more chart-toppers: the title track, “Honey (Open That Door)” and Bill Monroe’s “Uncle Pen.” Country Boy, released in 1984, was Skaggs’ fourth consecutive gold album and featured the #1 title track. In 1985, he won CMA Entertainer of the Year and a Grammy for Best Country Instrumental, for “Wheel Hoss”—off of the rustic Boy album. Skaggs rounded out the 1980s with six more Top Ten hits.
The 1990s marked Skaggs’ return to his bluegrass roots. In 1997, he formed his own label, Skaggs Family Records. Along with his own award-winning releases, his label has put out recordings by other acts including Blue Highway, Cherryholmes, the Del McCoury Band and The Whites. Under his label imprint, Skaggs has consistently released Grammy-nominated bluegrass albums, beginning with the Grammy-winning Bluegrass Rules!, which also earned the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Album of the Year honors. The album helped Skaggs and his band, Kentucky Thunder, win IBMA’s 1998 Instrumental Group of the Year award—a feat that will be repeated seven more times.
Skaggs has remained crucial figure at the 21st century music scene; he toured with the Dixie Chicks in 2000 and took part in two PBS specials in 2002 and 2003. He continues to release critically acclaimed bluegrass and gospel albums, including Grammy-winning albums Honoring The Fathers Of Bluegrass Tribute to 1946 and 1947 (2008) and Salt of the Earth (2007). He has released greater than 30 albums and won 14 Grammys, 11 IBMA awards, eight CMA awards and nine Academy of Country Music awards.
On August 20, Skaggs and Hornsby released Cluck Ol’ Hen, which debuted on the top of Billboard’s Bluegrass Album chart. The 2 previously released a duet album in 2007. Also in August 2013, Skaggs released his autobiography, Kentucky Traveler: My Life in Music.
Ticket prices for these shows range from $35-$55 per show (plus ticketing fee). Tickets will go on sale to most people at noon on Friday, October 18, and will be purchased at countrymusichalloffame.org. Ticket sales, limited to four tickets per transaction, can be found on a primary come, first served basis and are non-refundable. Will call tickets could be available day-of-show on the museum’s ticketing office in its new Fifth Avenue lobby.
Museum members are eligible for a ten% discount and a pre-sale beginning at noon on October 15, for Honor Society members, and noon on October 16, for other museum members, through October 17, by visiting countrymusichalloffame.org. (A one-year museum membership begins at $40.)
Parking information is obtainable at parkitdowntown.com. Cash-only concessions could be available before the show and through intermission.
More details about the rustic Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is out there at www.countrymusichalloffame.org or by calling (615) 416-2001.]]>
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