WAMU 88.5 : The Diane Rehm Show

Ricky Skaggs: "Kentucky Traveler: My Life in Music"

Unlike other boys growing up in the hills of eastern Kentucky, Ricky Skaggs learned to play the mandolin when he was 5 years old. Taught by his father, Skaggs was considered a prodigy and invited to play on a television show when he was just 7 years old. By age 15, he became a professional bluegrass musician and toured the nation. Music industry executives urged him to play more country music and he did, eventually receiving 14 Grammy awards for his recordings. Diane talks with Skaggs about playing bluegrass and country music for 50 years.

Watch A Clip

Ricky Skaggs reflects on what it was like to record a duet with Ray Charles. The track was called "Friendship." "What a hard producer, but he squeezed all the juice out of my Adam's apple," Skaggs said about Charles.

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Watch A Performance

Considered a child prodigy, 7-year-old Ricky Skaggs played several songs on TV's Martha White Show in 1961.

Read An Excerpt

Excerpted from "Kentucky Traveler: My Life in Music" by Ricky Skaggs. Copyright © 2013 Ricky Skaggs. Reprinted with permission of It Books. All rights reserved.


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