Sometimes in life, things come full circle. That's the story of Ricky Skaggs. By age 21, he was already considered a "recognized master" of one of America's most demanding art forms, but his career took him in other directions, catapulting him to popularity and success in the mainstream of country music. Now the road has brought him back to where it all began - bluegrass music.
2008 marks Ricky's 37th year as a professional musician, and this twelve-time Grammy Award winner continues to do his part to lead the recent roots revival in music. Known affectionately today as bluegrass music's official ambassador, Ricky has brought the genre to greater levels of popularity in the past few years than the father of bluegrass music, the legendary Bill Monroe, could ever have imagined. With eight consecutive Grammy-nominated classics behind him, all from his own Skaggs Family Records label (Bluegrass Rules! in 1998, Ancient Tones in 1999, both Soldier of the Cross and Big Mon: The Songs of Bill Monroe in 2000, History of the Future in 2001, Live at the Charleston Music Hall in 2003, Brand New Strings in 2005, and Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder Instrumentals in 2007), bluegrass music is undoubtedly in good hands, with the masterful Skaggs at the helm.
Beyond his award-winning recordings, Ricky continues to lead the charge in bringing renewed vitality to country music's most down-to-earth art form. From a string of high-profile tour dates with the Dixie Chicks in 2000, to his position as host of the unprecedented "All*Star Bluegrass Celebration" which aired nationwide on PBS in 2002, to his participation in the wildly successful 41-city 'Down from the Mountain' tour - Ricky has become one of bluegrass' most talented and dynamic performers.
His next recorded project, released in September of 2007 on Skaggs Family Records, was a literal family affair. After years of blending their voices from the living room to the stage, Ricky Skaggs and The Whites have teamed up for their first collaborative gospel album entitled Salt of the Earth. Ricky, wife Sharon, sister-in-law Cheryl, and father-in-law Buck each share lead vocals on the album with Skaggs' award winning band Kentucky Thunder laying the foundation for their tight family harmony. Traditional hymns, a few familiar tunes, and brand new treasures flow throughout the album providing an intimate look into the heart of one of music's most beloved families. Salt of the Earth also earned Ricky his 13th career Grammy Award for Best Southern, Country, or Bluegrass Gospel Album in February 2008.
Ricky Skaggs has often said that he is "just trying to make a living" playing the music he loves. But it's clear that his passion for bluegrass puts him in the position to bring this lively, distinctively American form of music out of isolation and into the ears and hearts of audiences across the country and around the world. Blessed with a close-knit family, and abundance of talent, a lifetime of musical experience and a crack band behind him, Ricky Skaggs is well on the way to showing the world that "country rocks, but bluegrass rules!"