Bluegrass Icon Ricky Skaggs

Sep 4, 2017

This program originally broadcast on April 5, 2017. 

Country and bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs brings his mandolin and a lifetime of stories.

Mandolin and guitar legend Ricky Skaggs came up early in an old-time musical tradition, went out and made his hits on the country music charts, helped spark the “new traditionalist” movement, then watched as country went more and more to pop. Ricky Skaggs went home, to God and bluegrass, and 14 Grammys. Now he’s touring, watching his nation and his industry. Listening. This hour On Point, Ricky Skaggs is ready to make some music. — Tom Ashbrook


Ricky Skaggs, country, bluegrass, gospel and folk musician and multi-instrumentalist. Fourteen-time Grammy Award-winner. Author of “Kentucky Traveler.” (@RickySkaggs)

From Tom’s Reading List

Rolling Stone: Bluegrass Music’s Civil War: Why New and Heritage Acts Don’t See String to String — “As with any family, there’s often disagreement. Purists decry the use of drums while progressive musicians continue to push the boundaries. ‘There are hardcore people that [think] if you even have a microphone you’re way too far out,’ Del McCoury says with a laugh. ‘I exaggerate, but you have the hardcore folks. They can listen to whatever they want to but you need variety. You need to have that. You’ve got to have young people coming in all the time. That’s what brings young people in, more progressive sound and variety. I just like variety in music. I think it’s a good thing.'”

Religion Dispatches: Country Music Minus the Culture Wars — “In Mosaic, Skaggs hits a vein of Southern religious populist imagery that neither the folkie-left from days of yore nor the jingoistic right of much pop country has ever fully grasped. It was not that early country could never be politicized, or topical; natural disasters, epochal events, and moral admonitions were the stock in trade of country and blues musicians and songwriters alike.”

Gospel Herald: Musician Ricky Skaggs Urges Votes For ‘Pro-Life, Religious Freedom, Donald Trump’ — “Skaggs said he believes God is looking at the church, which he defines as ‘believers,’ to be advocates of unborn children. “We need to vote and have our voices heard. Deciding not to vote, if it’s because you don’t particularly like Mr. Trump or some of the things he has said, is a vote for the other side.”

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