Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder
It will be a toe-tapping good time when 15-time Grammy Award winner Ricky Skaggs and his band, Kentucky Thunder, returns. Skaggs, whose music spans the country music spectrum from bluegrass to gospel to mainstream, is a multi-talented musician who plays the mandolin, fiddle, mandocaster and banjo. For his Lyric show, he and the band will perform songs from his long and illustrious career, including “Sis Draper,” “Return to Sender” and “Road to Spencer.”
Skaggs was born in Kentucky and began playing the mandolin when he was 6. When bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe came to Martha, Kentucky to perform, the audience wouldn’t let him leave until “Little Ricky” Skaggs, 6, came on stage with his mandolin. A year later, he appeared on television with Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. He was still a teen when he began his professional bluegrass career, joining Ralph Stanley’s band, the Clinch Mountain Boys. Skaggs never looked back.
Not content with the status quo, the musician pushed the limits of the bluegrass genre with progressive bands such as Country Gentlemen and J.D. Crowe and the New South. By the late 1970s, he had turned his focus to mainstream country music and joined Emmylou Harris’ Hot Band. In 1981, he released his debut album, Waitin’ for the Sun to Shine, which topped the country charts with two Number One hits. In 1997, he returned to his bluegrass roots with Bluegrass Rules! A series of Grammy-Award-winning albums with his band, Kentucky Thunder, followed.
In addition to his 15 Grammy Awards, Skaggs has won eight Country Music Association Awards, including the prestigious Entertainer of the Year Award in 1985. For the last two decades, he has continued to make his mark in the world of country music, releasing the popular album Mosaic with the Grammy-winning songwriter and producer Gordon Kennedy. The song “Return to Sender,” from that album, was nominated for two Grammys in the gospel genre. In 2010, Skaggs was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and received the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award from the Academy of Country Music.
Kentucky Thunder, eight-time winners of the IBMA’s Instrumental Group of the Year, features Paul Brewster on tenor vocals and rhythm guitar, Scott Mulvahill on bass and bass vocals, Russ Carson on banjo, Jake Workman on lead guitar, Mike Barnett on fiddle and Dennis Parker on baritone vocal and guitar.
Ricky Skaggs has spent “a life full of music.”