News Column

Ricky Skaggs Performs Friday

June 20, 2013

YellowBrix

June 20--SAXAPAHAW -- Growing up, Ricky Skaggs didn't have the "distractions" kids have today.

Electronic devices, video games and even TV (with the exception of the three channels the family could pick up) were unheard of back then.

Instead, Skaggs and his three siblings were surrounded by music. His mother, a homemaker, would sing a lot and he would often join in, from another part of the house, on harmony.

"My dad was a welder and used to travel a lot for work. He was on a job in Ohio and brought me a mandolin when I was 5 years old and stuck it in my bed, while I was asleep," Skaggs said in phone interview on Tuesday afternoon from his home in Nashville, Tenn. "He taught me three chords -- G, C and D -- and that was it."

Skaggs' father and uncle loved listening to the "brother" bluegrass groups back then; they also performed together.

"My uncle played mandolin and sang tenor. My uncle was killed in World War II in Guam on the first day of battle," he said. "My dad had hoped that someday he would have a son who would like to play mandolin, like his brother did."

Skaggs went on to play on stage with bluegrass legend Bill Monroe at age 5 and appeared with Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs on TV at age 7.

And when he wasn't performing music, well, "I enjoyed other things like fishing and hunting. We made our own entertainment back then. When it came to TV, well, we had the three channels but only one had a picture; the other two had snow," he said with a laugh. "We found things to keep our minds occupied and music was definitely one of them."

Skaggs, 58, and his wife Sharon White of the bluegrass group The Whites, have four grown children and much like his own upbringing, music has always been a part of their lives, too.

"All of them love music," but Skaggs said that he and Sharon "never pushed them to pursue music. We want them to have their own path. We want them to have their own voice, their own mind. Every snowflake is different and so is every child; God likes individuality and for everyone to have their own voice."

Two of their children call North Carolina home. Their son, Luke, is part of a Christian group called Songs Of Water, based in Greensboro, and their youngest daughter works for A Place for the Heart, a ministry for troubled kids, in Sofia.

Skaggs, a 14-time Grammy Award winner, has performed in Alamance County at the Bass Mountain Music Festival, now Lil John's Mountain Music Festival, in the past and will return to the area Friday when he and his band, Kentucky Thunder, perform at the Haw River Ballroom, 1711 Saxapahaw-Bethlehem Church Road, Saxapahaw, for the first time. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show is at 8 p.m.

Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder also will perform at the Don Gibson Theatre in Shelby on Saturday. For more details on Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, visit www.rickyskaggs.com.

Tickets to Friday's show at the Haw River Ballroom are $25 to $27 and can be purchased at www.ticketfly.com. For more details, visit www.hawriverballroom.com or call (336) 525-2314.

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(c)2013 Times-News (Burlington, N.C.)

Visit Times-News (Burlington, N.C.) at www.thetimesnews.com

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