Ricky Skaggs Invigorated By Young Players’ Excitement About Music
Ever since Ricky Skaggs started touring with just one bus instead of two, the country and bluegrass icon says he's had to impose a curfew on the young players who travel with him -- but not because they want to stay up late partying.
"They stay up and wanna play all night long," Skaggs shared backstage at the 2018 CMA Awards. "You've got these kids still in their 20s, and they're full of it; they just wanna play and play and play.
"I mean, I'll go out and sign autographs for a couple of hours, or something like that, and I come back and they're in the dressing room still playing," he adds. "It's like they never wanna stop. And that's why they're so good."
Skaggs goes on to explain that he's inspired by the prowess of young musicians, especially those in the bluegrass format. "I'm seeing such quality players, like Carson Peters. I think he's 14, maybe, or 15?" Skaggs shares. "And I met him when he was eight, and I thought he was pretty good then -- good enough to have him on the Grand Ole Opry as a guest, and, of course, he just keeps getting better and better.
"And Sierra Hull," Skaggs adds, "I've known her since she was a little kid."
Skaggs' band's longstanding emphasis on musicianship has always helped him stand out, he says, due in large part to the technical proficiency of its young bluegrass players. "That's really where I'm seeing the quality of musicianship, because in country music, you don't emphasize so much on players themselves," Skaggs says.
"I think that was one of the things that caused the music I did to really stand out," he confesses, "because my band, many of them came from a bluegrass background."