Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder
The Bluegrass/Country/Gospel icon with his multi-award-winning band.
Ricky Skaggs’ career is easily among the most significant in recent Country music history. Over the course of his 50-year career, he has won fifteen Grammy Awards, eight CMA Awards, nine ACM Awards, thirteen IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) Awards, nine ICM Awards, two Dove Awards, three honorary Doctorate degrees and countless other awards.
He counts the current configuration of Kentucky Thunder among the best group of musicians he has ever worked with. The band is an eight-time winner of the IBMA Instrumental Group of the Year.
"This group of guys meets my approval every night," Ricky says. "Each and every one of the pickers in Kentucky Thunder totally amazes me in every show...and that, to me, outweighs any award we could ever win."
Born in 1954 in Cordell, Kentucky, Skaggs showed signs of stardom at an early age. At six years old, he played mandolin on stage with Bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe. When he was only seven, he appeared on TV with Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs.
He emerged as a professional Bluegrass musician in 1971, when he and his friend Keith Whitley joined the legendary Ralph Stanley’s backing band, the Clinch Mountain Boys. Then Skaggs went on to record and perform with various progressive Bluegrass acts including Emmylou Harris’s Hot Band.
He became a recording artist in his own right in 1981 when his Epic label debut album “Waitin’ for the Sun to Shine” topped the Country charts and yielded a pair of #1 hits. Overall, his releases through Epic Records resulted in twelve #1 hits. During that period, he won eight CMA awards -- including the coveted Entertainer of the Year Trophy in 1985.
In 1982, Ricky was made the youngest member of the Grand Ole Opry at the time. But he put his own stamp on the Country format by infusing his Bluegrass and traditional Country roots into the contemporary Nashville sound.
Skaggs’ 1997 album “Bluegrass Rules!” released on his newly-formed Skaggs Family Records label, marked a triumphant return to Bluegrass—which he’s solidified ever since with a series of Grammy award winning albums, recorded with his amazing bluegrass band, Kentucky Thunder.
In 2013, he released his first-ever autobiography, "Kentucky Traveler: My Life In Music." The book details the life and times of Skaggs and provides a descriptive history of Country and Bluegrass music, as told by the master himself.
During the past decade, Skaggs has been honored with inductions into the Gospel Music Association’s Gospel Music Hall of Fame and the Musicians Hall of Fame. In 2018, he was inducted into the National Fiddler Hall of Fame, the IBMA Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and country music’s greatest honor, the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Most recently, he was awarded the prestigious National Medal of Arts in 2020, the highest honor given to artists and arts patrons by the United States government.
Skaggs released twelve consecutive Grammy-nominated albums, all from his own Skaggs Family Records label. He also released twelve #1 singles on the Billboard Country charts and twelve Top 20 Country albums.
Nowadays, Skaggs has added Country tour dates as he plugs-in and plays full shows of his chart-topping hits. He has often said that he is “just trying to make a living” playing the music he loves. But it’s clear that his lively, distinctively American of music has won the ears and hearts of audiences across the country and around the world.
Date & Time
Sat, May 4, 2024 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM