“It was a great time,” Skaggs said of that period. “It really was.”
Skaggs’ 50-plus years in music have included an acclaimed solo career and several notable collaborations. One of those partnerships yielded the live album “Cluck Ol’ Hen,” featuring Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby, that was released in August.
Skaggs said he and Hornsby first released a studio album in 2007. The two started touring, and they and the other musicians involved started to gel, getting to know one another.
“That’s so important about making music, is really knowing someone’s heart and knowing their abilities,” Skaggs said. “You get comfortable being around somebody as a player and as a person.”
Live recordings were made for posterity while the group was touring. When the tour was over, Hornsby started listening to them. He called Skaggs to inform him there was a treasure trove of great takes, and sent him a CD.
“Gosh, boy, he was right,” Skaggs said. Via “Cluck Ol’ Hen,” that treasure is being shared.
Skaggs delights in collaborating, and his cohorts can be far-flung from the bluegrass or country realms. He talked about plans to work with Barry Gibb, Peter Frampton and Brendan Benson.
“It keeps things exciting,” Skaggs said of working with others. He also views the music he’s been playing nearly a lifetime as vital.
“I think people look at bluegrass and think that it’s just one way, and it’s just real ancient,” Skaggs said. “And there are certainly elements of old in it. But bluegrass is new every day. It’s fresh. It’s new, it’s your perspective, it’s your attitude. It’s your heart. It’s your intention.
“I think some people in bluegrass, especially some of the old gatekeepers, I think they may have walked around with their hands pointed up, like ‘No. Don’t come in. Halt,’” Skaggs said. “...I’ve been one that walks around with my hands out, like ‘Hey, you want to play this music? Come on in. It’s fun.”
If you want to go
“Ricky Skaggs Family Christmas” performances are set for 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday at the Blue Gate Theater along Van Buren Street (Ind. 5) in Shipshewana. For ticket and other information, call 260-768-4725 or 888-448-4725 or visit the website riegsecker.com/shipshewana/bluegatetheater.