Country Hits Bluegrass Style from Ricky Skaggs

It’s back to the future for Ricky Skaggs. His next release on Skaggs Family Records finds him reprising his many country hits from the 1980s done up bluegrass style with his talented road band, Kentucky Thunder.

In fact, that’s the name of the new album: Country Hits Bluegrass Style. All 14 tracks were radio hits for Skaggs, with 10 of them hitting #1. How many bluegrass artists can make that claim?

Younger fans may not appreciate what an impact Ricky had on country music when his first major label record, Waiting For The Sun To Shine, hit 20 30 (oops!) years ago. He was in the vanguard of the young artist movement returning country music to its traditional roots, and he saw 2 singles from the album, I Don’t Care and Crying My Heart Out Over You, hit the top of the charts.

Both of those are recut for this new project, as are his next pair of #1s, Heartbroke and I Wouldn’t Change You If I Could, from his Highways and Heartaches album in 1982.

For many bluegrass fans, Skaggs will always be beloved for taking Bill Monroe’s masterpiece, Uncle Pen, to number one and for featuring Monroe in the video for Country Boy in 1985, also a chart topper for Ricky.

These, and all the others, are recorded in a mostly acoustic setting, with percussion on some tracks and pedal steel on a couple. Skaggs shows that he is still in fine voice, and further demonstrates why he will be remembered as one of both bluegrass and country music’s finest singers.

Country Hits Bluegrass Style will provide bluegrass fans with an opportunity to appreciate these fine songs, many of which came from the bluegrass world originally, in a setting more to their liking. One hopes that it will also draw fans of the skinny, poofy-haired Skaggs from the ’80s closer into the bluegrass fold.

The record is set for a July 18 release. Pre-orders and audio samples are available now on the Skaggs Family web site.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.

  • dsmalls

    …are these the same recordings that came out a while back as a Cracker Barrel exclusive CD?

  • Jon Weisberger

    Basically yes, but three of the Cracker Barrel cuts have been replaced with new ones.

    BTW, depressing as it is for those of us who are “of a certain age,” it’s been 30 years, not 20, since _Waiting For The Sun To Shine_ came out!

  • dsmalls

    Cool…yeah, his run of country hits were a really brilliant roots/modern hybrid. I don’t think they’ve gotten their fair share of acclaim considering how smart and innovative (yet pop-savvy) they were…