Ricky Skaggs Sees His Reflection in ‘Mosaic’
Ricky Skaggs has recorded more than 30 albums, blurring the lines between country, bluegrass and gospel music. He's charted more than two dozen singles, won CMA awards and Grammys, and collaborated with other accomplished musicians, including Bruce Hornsby and Mark O'Connor. But the 56-year-old insists he isn't finished yet. His new album, 'Mosaic,' delves into a more contemporary sound -- a far cry from the acoustic sound for which he's known worldwide.
"I think it was Gordon Kennedy's [Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt] demos that he sent me. I heard these songs, but I heard beyond the songs and beyond the lyrics," Ricky explains to The 9513 of his inspiration for the new CD. "I heard a sound in the music; I heard marketplace music, you know, a street sound ... I didn't hear it as a church record; I didn't hear it as a gospel record. I know it's a Christian record as far as its lyrical content, but the songs are so well-crafted and so well-written that they don't hold you over hell with a rotten stick, but they do bring a sort of mirror imaging -- you know, of looking at yourself in the mirror."
'Mosaic' boasts not only the talents of Ricky and members of his family, it also features legendary rocker Peter Frampton and a living legend in gospel music. "We had George Beverly Shea, who was 101 years old at the time," Ricky recalls. "He'll be 102 in January. He's still singing, and we drove over to North Carolina and did a field recording with him at his house. My daughter [Molly] showed up, and what a beautiful voice she has! She did so great."
Ricky released another CD, 'Solo (Songs My Dad Loved)' less than a year before 'Mosaic,' which featured the gifted singer-songwriter-instrumentalist on every single part on the album. The project, along with 'Mosaic' are both nominated for Grammys this year. "This may be the first time that I've had two albums in the Grammys -- I think it probably is. Maybe not; there may have been something else I was involved in."
"It's a really good record," Ricky says of 'Solo.' "I'd love to see it win for my dad. He passed away in 1996 and I really miss him a lot. He was such a great man and played a very vital role in my musical journey. He got me started on the right foot and really worked with me and spent time with me. He was just a great dad, a great example."
Ricky plans to hit the road in 2011 for his Treasure Chest tour, combining his love of country and bluegrass music, plus the new sound from 'Mosaic' in a career-spanning show. " I think fans will really love the fact that I'm taking a full country band out on the road to do '(Honey) Open That Door,' 'You've Got a Lover' ... 'Uncle Pen,' 'Highway 40 Blues,' and things like that. We'd be able to do those with the country sound and then do the 'blazing bluegrass' that we've been known for since '97, and then do those new songs from 'Mosaic'. I think it's going to be a great show, a great tour, and people are getting really excited about it, so we're excited about it."