Ricky Skaggs has been in the business for a long time, releasing his first album in 1975. He recently celebrated both his 57th birthday and is still going strong in his career. As the years have passed, Ricky has only grown to feel stronger about his music.
“Really, I’m more passionate now about music at 57 than I was at 27,” he told the Sun Journal. “When I was 27, I was chasing a career. My career was chasing me. It was hard. I had little ones. It was so hard trying to play the bars and the clubs and all the shows you have to play. Dealing with the record labels and companies. Having all these hoops you have to jump through. I love being a sort of a papa now in the business. I’m at an age now that I’m still respected by the old guys. The young kids look up to me now like I used to look up to Mr. (Bill) Monroe. I think they can see it’s the real me — that I’m not just some phony. I’ve certainly gotta make a living, but it’s fun now. And I’m healthy.”
Ricky is known as one of the bluegrass greats. While bluegrass is stereotyped as a rural, mountain, small-town kind of music, Ricky has found bluegrass fans and players all over the world. Instrumental music, in particular, makes it easy to relate to those from far away places.
“We’ve gone all over the world — Thaliand, Burma, Pakistan, Sri Lanka — and every place I’ve ever been, there’s someone who knows bluegrass, who plays it,” Ricky told the paper. “It’s really world music. It’s just great music. It touches the heart and soul of people. Especially when we do the instrumental stuff – you don’t have to have a language. Language kind of trips you up, but not music. I think it’s pretty cool that these young kids are playing a different kind of bluegrass. People care about it, care about the roots. I love how they appreciate the music.”
Ricky’s latest album, Country Hits Bluegrass Style, was released last month.