Fourteen-time Grammy Award-winner Ricky Skaggs and his band, Kentucky Thunder, will perform on the main stage of the Lied Center for Performing Arts at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17.
Skaggs’ career is easily among the most significant in recent country music history. Acclaimed guitarist Chet Atkins once credited Skaggs with “single-handedly saving country music.” His life’s path has taken him to various musical genres, from where it all began in bluegrass, to striking out on new musical journeys, while still leaving his musical roots intact.
Tickets to Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder’s performance are available at http://www.liedcenter.org, at the Lied Center Box Office, 301 N. 12th St., or by phone at 402-472-4747. Prices start at $28.
“The Lied Center has been fortunate to host some of the biggest names in bluegrass music over its 25-year history, Ricky certainly qualifies as an artist of this caliber,” said Bill Stephan, executive director of the Lied Center. “His influence goes far beyond bluegrass music. Ricky’s talent is truly virtuosic and transcends into many musical genres.”
Born July 18, 1954, in Cordell, Ky., Skaggs showed signs of future stardom at an early age, playing mandolin on stage with bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe at 5 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 went on to record and perform with progressive bluegrass acts like the Country Gentlemen and J.D. Crowe and the New South, whose self-titled 1975 Rounder Records debut album was instantly recognized as a landmark bluegrass achievement. He then led Boone Creek, which also featured Dobro Ace and fellow New South alumnus Jerry Douglas.
Skaggs turned to the more mainstream country music genre in the late ’70s when he joined 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 No. 1 hits. Overall, his stay at Epic Records would result in a total of 12 No. 1 hits. Additionally, he garnered eight Country Music Association Awards – including the coveted Entertainer of the Year trophy in 1985.
Skaggs’ 1997 album, “Bluegrass Rules!,” released on his newly formed Skaggs Family Records label, marked a triumphant return to bluegrass — which he has solidified ever since with a series of Grammy-winning albums, recorded with Kentucky Thunder (eight-time winners of the IBMA Instrumental Group of the Year).