Last Thursday, July 18, Christian country and bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs celebrated his 65th birthday, marking 60 years since he struck his first chords on the mandolin. At a concert stop in Stephenville, Texas, Skaggs' good friend and Texstar Ford Summer Concert Series sponsorDoug Montgomery made sure to host the celebration appropriately by surprising him with a guitar-shaped birthday cake.
Over the course of his six decade career, Skaggs has racked up 12 #1 hit songs, 15 GRAMMY® Awards, 13 IBMA Awards, nine ACM Awards, eight CMA Awards, two Dove Awards, and throngs of additional honors including inductions last year into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the IBMA Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and the National Fiddler Hall of Fame.
On 60 years in music, Skaggs reflects:
"Wow, it's hard to believe that 60 years ago my dad put a little mandolin in my bed early one morning after driving all night to get home from a job he was working up in Ohio. Home was where his heart was, the mountains of eastern Kentucky, the love he had for my beautiful mom, our family and his love for playing music. He instilled that same love for family into my heart as well. I've traveled so much in the last 60 years, played lots of places around the world, seen things I never dreamed of, things that I'd only seen in world history books at school. I got to play with so many of my heroes and those that had influenced me as a young boy. But with all of that behind me, I can say nothing, and I mean nothing, means more to me than family. My faith in Jesus Christ, and the love of my family have been the foundation stones I've built my career upon. I wouldn't record a song that I'd be ashamed to sing in front of my mother. Sixty years sounds like a long time, but it's gone by so fast I can hardly believe it. I'm so thankful that I've had good people to work with all along the way. I'm also very thankful to all the fans who bought tickets to come out and see our shows and all the music that you've bought over the years. It's much appreciated. There's more music to come, more towns to play. God bless all of you."
Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder continue to blaze the tour trail, performing nearly 100 live concerts each year. On Thursday, August 1, he'll perform live at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium as part of the Bluegrass Nightsat the Ryman concert series. A limited number of tickets remain available for purchase at Ryman.com.