All Feature Articles

Ricky Skaggs: Bluegrass & More at the Ryman

by Rich and Laura Lynch

For years the Ryman Auditorium has honored the fact that it is regarded as the birthplace of bluegrass music by hosting their popular Bluegrass Nights Summer Series sponsored by Springer Mountain Farms. The pickin' party started on June 21st and joyfully concluded on July 26, 2018 with the renowned Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder.


Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder get rolling at the Ryman.

This annual event is a nod to the Ryman's past. Back in 1945 during a Grand Ole Opry show a young banjo player named Earl Scruggs joined Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys on the Ryman stage for the first time. Scruggs added his revolutionary three-finger picking style to Monroe's signature close harmonies, quick tempo, and "high lonesome sound." It was a new and nuanced form of country music that energized listeners and left them wanting more of what would became known as "bluegrass music."

Ricky Skaggs is a direct link to that important part of music history. As the story goes, when the esteemed Bill Monroe came to Martha, Kentucky for a concert, the crowd wouldn't let up until "Little Ricky Skaggs" got up to play. The Father of Bluegrass called six-year-old Skaggs up and placed his own mandolin around his neck, adjusting the strap to fit his small frame. No one could have anticipated what a significant moment that would be in the life of the young prodigy. Within a year, Skaggs would perform with Flatt & Scruggs on their successful syndicated television show, for which he earned his first paycheck. Ricky's course had been set. Decades later Skaggs is an awarding winning artist who will be adding a few more to the list this year.


For Ricky Skaggs 2018 might be his biggest year yet.

It was announced at the Ryman that in 2018, Mr. Skaggs will be inducted into the Bluegrass and Country Music Hall of Fames. We were reminded that Ricky has helped maintain the traditions of both genres "he breathers it ... he preaches it" declared the MC before the man himself walked out on stage to a warm welcome. After the show Skaggs was available to say hi and sign his books etc.

"Glad you are here," greeted Ricky as he and Kentucky Thunder kicked things off with a fast and fluid "How Mountain Girls Love" (The Stanley Brothers) with the Thunder shining on their solos as is the custom in mountain music. Between tunes Skaggs would chat often mentioning Bill Monroe whose songs such as "Bluegrass Breakdown" were covered as part of the group's expansive set-list. After a particularly animated run Skaggs joked that bluegrass should be an Olympic sport as it takes a lot of energy to present the more peppy pieces. For much of the night, Skaggs strummed a mandolin but he also played an acoustic and even a bright red electric guitar made an appearance.

The show also had its serious moments that included the moving "I Heard My Mother Call My Name In Prayer" in tribute to the woman who taught Ricky the love of Jesus. He also thanked his father who gave him the gift of music. After a short intermission Kentucky Thunder were joined by a few more musicians as Skaggs presented a set of country favorites. Fans did not seem to mind the departure as they were treated to "Crying My Heart Out Over You, "I'm Tired" along with other hits from Ricky's country periods.


Another season of the Bluegrass Nights Summer Series is successfully in the books.

Thursday was a night of tributes and the next person to be recognized was Buck White. A number of mandolin players joined Ricky to honor the man who had influenced them. This part of the concert featured "Down Home Waltz", "Old Man Baker" and more. Other high points of the career spanning concert showcased the compelling "Can't Shake Jesus" followed by the barn storming "Old Barnes" flowing into "Black-Eyed Susie". For the encore, Ricky was joined by his wife and sister. He asked the crowd to stand so we could be the chorus for the gospel medley of "Nothin But The Blood", "On Christ The Solid Rock" and "Blessed Assurance." The acoustics of the Ryman were ideal for these vocal numbers. Kentucky Thunder "ripped it up" on the bluegrass classic and closer "Rawhide" with accompaniment from guest Buddy Green to end the night and series on a joyous note.

The Ryman Auditorium aka the Birthplace of Bluegrass is considered one of the best sounding rooms in the States. The hall continues to pay tribute to its past but it is very much in present with the following upcoming events - Dave Barnes, Alejandro Escovedo, Gordon Lightfoot and Joe Bonamassa.


There's chicken and pickin' on the plaza before the show.

Related Links: For more information on RICKY SKAGGS and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -- Ricky Skaggs | Ryman Auditorium


.





The Kats Assume Leadership Role in New Arena Football League in Nashville



Tracing the Roots of Country Rock at the CMHOF in Nashville



Amos Lee Plays the First of Three at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville



Sumner Humane Society Preps a Half Century Celebration in Hendersonville



Alejandro Escovedo Resonates in Return to Music City



Herrick and MCAR - Talented Musicians Backing a Worthy Cause in Nashville



Eric Church Preaches to the Choir at Chief's on Broadway in Nashville



Nashville Kats Make a Ferocious Return to Music City in AFL Relaunch at Municipal Auditorium



Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Celebrates 65th Anniversary Season at the TPAC in Nashville



Illustrator and Muralist Alexandria Hall Is Doing Big Things in East Nashville and Beyond



Music City Open Gets Bigger and Better at Mill Ridge Park in Antioch



Cats & Coffee Equals a Win-Win at The Catfeine Cat Cafe in Murfreesboro



Crowder Draws a Huge Crowd at Spring Festival in Murfreesboro



Musician ISMAY Travels Long and Far to Find Herself in Finding Lucinda



Carter Vintage Guitars Opens Their New Home Fit For a King in Nashville



The Catio Opens Its Purrfect New Home in Nashville



Rebel Rounds at Bassline Brewing Company Hosts a Hot Industry Mixer in Music City



Carter Vintage Guitars Makes a Big Move in Nashville



Roy's Meat Service - It's All About BBQ and Community in East Nashville



Taj Mahal Remains a Blues Wonder of the World at Grimey's in Nashville



© 2024 MusicCityNashville.net
All Rights Reserved