Sunday, October 24, 2004
Skaggs skirts line of old and new with 'Brand New Strings'
No one could rightly claim Ricky Skaggs missed his calling. He's a master picker who's had success in both bluegrass and country music.
But spend an hour with him and it's apparent he has the heart of a teacher. He's passionate about music, all kinds of music, and once he gets on a roll, well, let's just say it's best to find a comfortable chair.
At 50, Skaggs has become a statesman for bluegrass. He and his band Kentucky Thunder frequently records old standards _ partly, he says, out of an obligation to educate listeners to the roots of the music.
He recently spoke with the AP about his new album, the state of bluegrass and his political involvement.
AP: 'Brand New Strings' is a change for you in that it's mostly new songs rather than your interpretation of older material. Why the switch?
Skaggs: With this album I really wanted to try to find songs that could become bluegrass classics in the next 10 or 15, 20 years, songs that could be the next 'Uncle Pen' or 'Rollin' In My Sweet Baby's Arms.'
AP: Do you think bluegrass and acoustic music is getting the respect it deserves, with your success and Alison Krauss' and things like the "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?" soundtrack?
Skaggs: I still think Music Row doesn't really tip its hat to this music. A label executive was overheard on an airplane coming back from the Grammys when 'O Brother' won all that stuff and he said, 'We can't let this happen again.' Music Row, as far as the business of the record companies, I don't think they're really trying to jump on it and promote it.
AP: What are you seeing on a personal level?
Skaggs: We're seeing, I think, a resurgence in the music. There's a real cross-pollination of people who will go see the Dixie Chicks, then come see us. Go see Tim McGraw, then come see us. Go see Ralph Stanley, then come see us. We've got a real diverse audience out there. The Mercedes, Jaguar and BMW crowd is coming out to our shows as well as the pickup-truck crowd.
Read the article
WKYT / WYMT