Watch Ricky Skaggs Play Bill Monroe’s Mandolin at His Country Music Hall of Fame Induction
On Sunday night (Oct. 21), Ricky Skaggs joined the Country Music Hall of Fame, as part of the organization's Class of 2018. His musical mentor, the "Father of Bluegrass," Bill Monroe, died more than two decades ago, but he was certainly there in spirit, thanks to the inclusion of one very special instrument in the ceremony.
After Skaggs' formal induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Hall of Fame's CEO, Kyle Young, asked Skaggs to remove his newly received medallion so that it didn't scratch the instrument he was about to play. Out came one of the museum's curators, wearing white gloves and holding Monroe's original mandolin -- an instrument made by Lloyd Loar in the early 1920.
"Its body is scratched and scarred; its soul is boundless ...," Young told the audience. "It rests behind glass in this museum so that millions of people may learn about it, and learn about Bill Monroe, the man who made it famous. But Mr. Monroe would want to hear it ring out tonight, as his musical son receives country music's highest honor."
"Hi, old man," Skaggs said, gently holding up the instrument. "You look great. Let's play one. Yes, you know it. You've played it many time with Mr. Monroe."
Skaggs then went on to lead the Medallion Ceremony's all-star band and the crowd in a traditional performance of "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," including a double mandolin solo and vocal accompaniment from Garth Brooks, who inducted Skaggs into the Hall of Fame. As the song neared its end, Skaggs spoke further to the instrument: "Let's do one more before you have to go back in that window," he said, to laughs from the audience. "I'm so sorry; I know it's lonely in there. No, I'm not gonna drop you."
Dierks Bentley and Chris Stapleton also helped honor Skaggs during the 2018 Country Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Skaggs' fellow inductees were Johnny Gimble and Dottie West, both of whom were being inducted posthumously.
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