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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 17, 2017

Ricky Skaggs playing at Sondheim center Saturday

Dec 05, 2017

Country and bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs brings his mandolin, stories and Kentucky Thunder band to the FAIRfest at the Sondheim Series at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Born in 1954 in Cordell, Kentucky, Skaggs showed signs of future stardom at an early age, playing mandolin on stage with bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe at the age of 6 and appearing on TV with Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs at 7. He emerged as a professional bluegrass musician in 1971, when he and his friend Keith Whitley were invited to join the legendary Ralph Stanley’s band, the Clinch Mountain Boys.

Skaggs then went on to record and perform with progressive bluegrass acts like the Country Gentlemen and J.D. Crowe & the New South, who hit the Sondheim stage in 2012, and whose self-titled 1975 debut album was instantly recognized as a landmark bluegrass achievement. Skaggs then led Boone Creek, which also featured Dobro ace and fellow New South alumnus Jerry Douglas.

But Skaggs turned to the more mainstream country music genre in the late 1970s when he joined Emmylou Harris’s Hot Band. He became a recording artist in his own right in 1981 when his debut album “Waitin’ for the Sun to Shine” topped the country charts and yielded a pair of No. 1 hits. Additionally, he garnered eight Country Music Association Awards, including the Entertainer of the Year trophy in 1985.

Skaggs fit right in with young “new-traditionalist” 1980s artists like Randy Travis, and helped rejuvenate the country music genre after the worn-out “Urban Cowboy” period. But Skaggs put his own stamp on the country format by infusing his bluegrass and traditional country music roots into the contemporary Nashville sound.

Skaggs’ 1997 album “Bluegrass Rules!” marked a return to bluegrass, which he’s solidified ever since with a series of Grammy Award-winning albums recorded with his bluegrass band Kentucky Thunder, eight-time winners of the International Bluegrass Music Association Instrumental Group of the Year.

Opening for Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder is 2016 Bluegrass Association of Iowa Band of the Year Lori King and Junction 63. Formed in 2014, this Iowa bluegrass band performs mostly traditional bluegrass and gospel with contemporary style tunes mixed in.

Tickets are $40 for Zone 1, $35 for Zone 2, $25 for Zone 3, $20 for Zone 4 and $10 for youth and students.

For information, contact the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center ticket office at 472-2787 or visit www.FairfieldACC.com.

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