End of an era – Jim Mills leaving Ricky Skaggs

After 14 years holding down the banjo spot with Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, Jim Mills is leaving the band after this week.

Jim has been with Skaggs almost since the very beginning of Ricky’s full-time return to bluegrass music. He has branded the sound of Kentucky Thunder with his distinctive, driving banjo style which draws heavily from the work Earl Scruggs, with whom he has been quite favorably compared. He appeared on 1o albums with Ricky Skaggs, which have earned him 6 Grammy awards.

Before joining up with Skaggs, Jim had performed for 5 years with Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, where he appeared on 8 of Doyle’s recordings. He was also featured as banjo player on two of Dolly Parton’s recordings, The Grass Is Blue and Little Sparrow.

The voting members of the IBMA have selected him as their Banjo Player of the Year six times, and Huber Banjos has created a signature model banjo that bears his name. Mills has three very popular solo projects on Sugar Hill (Bound To Ride, My Dixie Home and Hide Head Blues) and has recently published a book, Gibson Mastertone – Flathead 5-String Banjos of the 1930’s and 1940’s, that demonstrates his secondary area of expertise – vintage Gibson banjos from the prewar era.

Jim tells us that he has enjoyed his time with Skaggs, but feels that it is time for a new chapter in his career to unfold.

“I can never thank Ricky enough for allowing me the opportunity to play some of the best Bluegrass Music all over the world for the past 14 years.

I’ve just come to the decision that it is time for me to ‘move on,’ and I’m looking very forward to whatever opportunities may present themselves in the future. Of course I’ll be focusing more on my banjo business, Jim Mills Banjo Inc., and will be open to any other great picking opportunities that may happen.

I’m looking forward to being able to totally control my schedule on my terms from now on.”

Jim Mills Banjo Inc. is engaged in the buying and selling of prewar banjos and memorabilia. You can reach Jim by phone at 919-608-0355, or by email at jimmillsbanjo@msn.com.

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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.