Kentucky Traveler: My Life in Music

Kentucky Traveler: My Life in Music

Ricky Skaggs

Language: English

Pages: 352

ISBN: 0061917338

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In Kentucky Traveler, Ricky Skaggs, the music legend who revived modern bluegrass music, gives a warm, honest, one-of-a-kind memoir of forty years in music—along with the Ten Commandments of Bluegrass, 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 the most throughout his life; Songs the Lord Taught Us, a primer on Skaggs’s most essential gospel songs; and a bevy of personal snapshots of his musical heroes.

For readers of Johnny Cash’s autobiography, lovers of O Brother Where Art Thou, and fans of country music and bluegrass, Kentucky Traveler is a priceless look at America’s most cherished and vibrant musical tradition through the eyes of someone who has lived it.

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of songs than I could with a mandolin or a fiddle or a banjo. A guitar is handy to sing along with, too, and I’d have a lot of singing to do to keep from getting too lonesome. Praising God fights depression and loneliness like nothing else can. When you’re praising Him, you’re not thinking about yourself. I’d sure miss having other instruments along. Especially ol’ Pee Wee. He’s a special mandolin of mine, and I love him so much. He’s more than ninety years old, and he sounds better every day.

heckuva showman, too. He was as much fun to watch as he was to listen to. Even right there in our living room, he’d put on a little show and do wild tricks with his fiddle bow. When he played “Turkey in the Straw,” he’d take the bow and go pop-pop-pop-pop! on Dad’s head, tapping out the beat right along with the tune. He was always on stage, even when I was the only audience he had. I thought he was the coolest thing. One day Dad said, “Santford, did you bring your banjo with you?” He said, “No,

system for their charts. For example, G, C, and D would be written 1, 4, and 5. If you started with 1 being G, you would count up to 4 and have C, and then count one more and have D. It’s just a simple way to know where you are in any key instead of having to read sheet music as they do in LA. What made a good session man back then was to play what was called for and not a note more. You needed to check your ego at the door and look at every job as being part of a team. It’s a little different

know-how, common sense, and faith. Mom knew the Scriptures. The word of God was so important to her, and she used it in prayer. Prayer is such a powerful thing. I saw my folks and other neighbors praying for a man who lived on our creek. He was an alcoholic and he beat his wife and he was just full of meanness. But his friends and neighbors didn’t give up on him. They kept on earnestly and prayed for him. Then one day the man walked down the aisle of our church and gave his heart to Jesus. I

Dad couldn’t keep up, much as I tried to guide him. Seemed like he was bound and determined to get lost. Over at the mansion, everybody was waiting on us. Sharon was busy telling folks we’d be there any minute. I thought she’d be worried sick, but she later told me her heart was as light as a feather that day. We had asked the McLain Family Band to entertain the guests as they arrived. The McLains were a wonderful traditional country group from Kentucky and good friends of ours. They were

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