Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Entertainment

December 5, 2013

A LIFETIME OF MUSIC

Ricky Skaggs to perform at Blue Gate Theater Saturday.

SHIPSHEWANA

He’s a multiple Grammy award winner, a bluegrass virtuoso and has been a Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year. Now he can add “author” to his resume.

Ricky Skaggs, who’s set to perform in Shipshewana this weekend, released his autobiography “Kentucky Traveler” in August.

“It was something I never thought I’d do,” Skaggs said of writing a book. “When I was a kid, me and books never got along very well. But now I have one in my name.

“It needed to be done,” he said of writing “Traveler.” “I feel like there was a lot I had to say.”

In “Kentucky Traveler,” Skaggs tells of the historic musical groups he’s been involved with, as well as his own roots and the music he listened to growing up.

“It’s about family, faith, friends and frets, I guess, if you want to put it that way,” Skaggs said of his book.

Family is key in Skaggs’ musical history. His father, Hobart, gave him his first mandolin when the younger Skaggs was just 5 years old. Skaggs soon proved to be adept at the instrument.

At age 6, he performed onstage with bluegrass icon Bill Monroe. By age 7, Skaggs had performed his debut at the Grand Old Opry and played with Flatt & Scruggs.

The “Kentucky Traveler” has been on the musical road ever since. The journey involved joining Ralph Stanley’s band in the early 1970s. Along for the ride was Skaggs’ friend, the late Keith Whitley. Skaggs recalled that Stanley had a job waiting for the two young musicians when they graduated high school.

“(Stanley) always stressed that he wanted us to finish school,” Skaggs said in a recent phone interview with The Goshen News. “He didn’t want us quitting and being delinquents following him around the country.

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