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Ricky Skaggs Says Duets Project Was a Long Time Coming

Ricky Skaggs Sharon White
Frederick Breedon, Getty Images for ACM

Ricky Skaggs has a new project in the works. The Kentucky native, whose latest album, a live project with Bruce Hornsby titled ‘Cluck ‘Ol Hen,’ soared to the top of the charts earlier this month, is already working on another collaborative project, this time much closer to home.

“My wife, Sharon, and I have just started a new project together, a duet project, after all these years,” he tells The Boot. “We have five songs recorded so far. Our plans are to finish it in 2014 and put it out. It is so wonderful. It’s so great.”

Skaggs says the project has been on their minds for nearly three decades, but they never found the time to work on it, until now. “We’ve been married 32 years, and she and I in 1987, had CMA Duo of the Year, with ‘Love Can’t Ever Get Better Than This,’” he explains.

“We wanted so much to do a CD to follow up with that, but she was on Warner/Curb and I was on CBS, and they were arch rivals with each other, and so that just never happened. And so I think there was a lot of pain through all of that, with both of us. We were both disappointed.”

The singer-songwriter admits he is happiest when he gets to work with other musicians. “She’s singing so great, and so we’re really, really looking forward to getting that done,” he adds. “So that’s a project I’m really looking forward to getting back into the studio, because she’s producing as much as I am. It’s her ideas as much as mine. That’s what I love about getting to work with her, or work with Bruce, it’s sharing ideas together, so all the pressure’s not on me.”

Skaggs, who is nominated for his 12th IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) Award, this time for Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year, also added “author” to his list of accomplishments recently, when he released ‘Kentucky Traveler.’ But chances are, it will be a while before Skaggs pens any sequel.

“That was like a two-year pregnancy,” he jokes. “I gave birth to that finally. It’s out and doing very well. That was an achievement, because I never thought I would ever do a book. Me and books didn’t get along when I was a kid in school. I was not a real fan of books. But I was so enthralled with music all my life, and I’ve had so many great opportunities to play with so many people, and of course that’s what’s in the book. It talks about all the people that I’ve got the chance to work with over the years.”

Skaggs and Hornsby are touring this fall in support of their live album. See all of their upcoming concerts here.

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