Kentucky Traveler

Kentucky Traveler : My Life in Music

3.9 (105 ratings by Goodreads)
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Unlike other small town farm boys in Cordell, Kentucky, Ricky Skaggs learned to play the mandolin at five years old. By age six, the unexpected musical prodigy found himself playing on stage with Bill Monroe, the father of bluegrass music. With Monroe as a mentor, Skaggs became a professional musician at age fifteen, joining the Clinch Mountain Boys band, and by twenty-one he was already considered a recognized master of one of America's most demanding art forms. Yet, following the advice of music industry executives, Skaggs moved away from his bluegrass roots into the world of mainstream country music - and in doing so became a country legend and a household name. After years on the road, several hit albums, and an incredibly successful turn in country music, Skaggs felt something was missing. Returning to the music of his childhood, bluegrass, Skaggs started his own label, Skaggs Family Records, and has since produced eight consecutive Grammy-nominated classics. Today, with a total of fourteen Grammy Awards to his credit, Skaggs has become bluegrass music's official ambassador. 2011 marks Ricky Skaggs' 40th year as a professional musician.
In his widely anticipated memoir, Skaggs opens up to tell the story of a life come full circle - from his first memories of music in Kentucky, through his meteoric rise in the mainstream music industry, to his ultimate return back to the bluegrass music that he knew best. Skaggs tells the intimate stories of his successful career, profiles his musical heroes and influences (from Bill Monroe to Ray Charles, Billy Graham, and Roscoe Holcomb, all illustrated with Ricky's own personal photos), and paints a unique insider look at the evolution of bluegrass. Alongside his deeply personal revelations, Skaggs offers inspirational sections like: The Ten Commandments of Bluegrass: The great principles of the bluegrass tradition, as handed down by Ricky's mentor Bill Monroe; The Essential Guide to Bedrock Country Songs: a lovingly compiled walk through the songs that have moved Skaggs most; and Songs the Lord Taught Us: A primer on Skaggs' essential gospel songs. Full of heartfelt honesty and humor, Ricky Skaggs' powerful memoir will speak to bluegrass and country music lovers and will delight his growing legions of fans.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 154 x 232 x 34mm | 459.99g
  • HarperCollins Publishers Inc
  • It Books
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 16 Page Black and White Photo Insert
  • 0061917338
  • 9780061917332
  • 1,136,725

Review quote

"[Skaggs'] career has been a matter of following a God-given calling...He tells the stories of the first half of his life and of the rest, too, with natural enthusiasm, innate good nature, and an unflagging, positive Christian spirit." -- Booklist (starred review)
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Back cover copy

An honest, deeply American story of the power of faith, family, and music from one of America's most beloved bluegrass and country artists.

Unlike other farm boys growing up in the small town of Cordell, Kentucky, Ricky Skaggs learned to play the mandolin at five years old. Sure, plenty of other mountain boys plucked guitars or fiddles, or learned the old songs their grandparents taught them. But few tried and fewer still mastered the mandolin. By the time he was six years old, Ricky Skaggs's talent was clear enough that his daddy knew he had to get that boy onstage. When bluegrass master and mandolin virtuoso Bill Monroe rolled into a nearby small town, Ricky was there. As the crowd cheered, "Let little Ricky sing one!" so began a storied life in music.

With Bill Monroe as a mentor and with a family who supported him at every turn, Ricky joined the Clinch Mountain Boys band and became a professional musician at age fifteen. By twenty-one he was already considered a star in the bluegrass world. Yet, following the advice of music industry executives, Skaggs moved away from his roots into the world of mainstream country music--and in doing so, became a country legend and a household name.

Despite the hit singles, gold records, and successful tours, Ricky knew there was more to his mission. With a failed marriage and a sometimes strained relationship with his children, Ricky had to make a choice. He would follow God's plan, and rededicate his life to Christ, to his family, and to the music that made him. He would carry the torch lit by his musical heroes Ralph Stanley, Earl Scruggs, and Bill Monroe and, most important, live the life and play the music that would make his mom and dad proud. Telling the intimate stories of a successful career built on passion, drive, and faith, sharing tales of his influences, and fondly recalling the instruments that have shaped his sound over the years and the friendships that have shaped his life, Skaggs paints a unique insider look at the evolution of bluegrass.
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About Ricky Skaggs

Ricky Skaggs is one of the most prominent singers and musicians in the history of bluegrass and country music. He is a perennial Grammy Award-winner and continues to make records and tour with his band, Kentucky Thunder. Eddie Dean is a veteran music journalist whose previous books include Man of Constant Sorrow: My Life and Times, cowritten with Dr. Ralph Stanley.
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Rating details

105 ratings
3.9 out of 5 stars
5 29% (30)
4 41% (43)
3 25% (26)
2 4% (4)
1 2% (2)
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