Country music legend Ricky Skaggs coming to Penn’s Peak
Country music star Ricky Skaggs is returning to Penn’s Peak on Jan. 9. ERICK ANDERSON/CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Fifteen-time Grammy Award-winner Ricky Skaggs, 65, will be returning to Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe on Jan. 9.
A symbol of both traditional and modern country music, Skaggs, whose career has never slowed down, has also been credited with “single-handedly saving country music” by legendary guitarist Chet Atkins.
After recently being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2018 and working on some new material, Skaggs is ready to perform the night away for fans both old and new.
Having recently played a lot of Christmas-themed music for the holiday season, Skaggs said he will probably not play much of that as he knows people are settling down with the season’s melodies. However, he does plan to play some older hits that are near and dear to loyal fans as well as some new tunes.
“We’ll be doing some country hits that I’ve had over the years. … Obviously, a lot of bluegrass stuff,” Skaggs said. “Hopefully, we’ll do some new things that we’ve been working on that we didn’t get to play at Penn’s Peak the last time we were there.”
Early music career
Skaggs was born in Cordell, Kentucky, and began developing his passion for music and performing professionally at a very young age.
After being heard harmonizing with his mother throughout the house as a child, he received his first mandolin at age 5 from his father.
Shortly after this, Skaggs accomplished amazing feats for anyone, let alone a child, by playing mandolin on stage with bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe at age 6 and appearing on TV with Lester Flatt and Early Scruggs at age 7.
It was not until 1971 that he was established as a professional musician in the bluegrass community when he was asked to join the legendary Ralph Stanley’s band the Clinch Mountain Boys. He later explored more mainstream country music toward the end of the 1970s when he joined Emmylou Harris’s Hot Band.
He released his debut album “Waitin’ for the Sun to Shine” in 1981, which topped the country charts for most of the 1980s and garnered 12 #1 hits. Skaggs also launched his own record label, Skaggs Family Records, in 1997.
He is not only highly decorated for his Country Music Hall of Fame induction or his multiple Grammys, but he also became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1982 and was the youngest member to ever be inducted at the time. He has also received several other honors, inductions and awards, including some from the Country Music Association.
Skaggs credits his late parents for providing him the environment, love and support needed to become the entertainer he is.
“There’s things that have happened to me just personally and professionally — awards, hall of fame inductions, those kinds of things — (that) I wish they could’ve been on this side to experience but I know. … That my mom and dad know what’s going on and what’s happened here and they are proud and thankful and cheering from heaven,” Skaggs said. “I’m so thankful to have the upbringing that I had, a Christian mom and dad that always loved each other — it’s a wonderful thing and I’m grateful being born into a family like that.”
He also credits his mother for making him both proud and humble. His parents always encouraged him to perform for audiences but his mother specifically always reminded him that although he was just as good as anyone else, he was not better than anyone else.
The highly decorated musician also thanks his Christian faith for his gifts and wishes to honor his beliefs with said talents.
“I’ve been more intentional about sharing my faith. I’ve got the spirit of God living in me through Christ and I know if I took my last breath here, my next breath is going to be in heaven,” Skaggs said. “I’m grateful for (the awards and fame) but the greatest reward that any of us will ever have is when we see Jesus face to face.”
Due to the importance he places on sharing his faith, many of his songs reflect on this mission.
“We sing songs that put a mirror up to (people’s) faces and inspect their hearts and that’s what the Bible does, when I read the Bible it’s like looking in the mirror.”
Although concertgoers can rely on him to be the same beloved entertainer that fans have adored for nearly 60 years, he does not plan on slowing down now as made evident by his recent decorations and new music set to be performed. Skaggs’ talent shows no bounds and is set to be displayed at this invigorating show.
“I’ve got an incredible young band that I’m playing to in Jim Thorpe and we’re really excited about getting to come back (to this) great venue (which is) so beautiful … it sounds great in the room (and) there’s not a bad seat in the house,” Skaggs said. “It’ll be a really good show.”
Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show begins at 7:30 p.m.
Regular reserved seating and premium reserved seating tickets are available on pennspeak.com.