All posts tagged: Ricky Skaggs

More strings make beautiful music

Several weeks ago the Spring 2010 issue of The Fretboard Journal showed up in my mailbox.  I was traveling a great deal at the time, so I popped in it my briefcase and caught up on all the news from the world of beautiful instruments in airplanes and hotel rooms. Ricky Skaggs, the young acoustic band Bearfoot (which I caught at last year’s Merlefest), and Bedford County, Virginia luthier James Jones are all featured in this issue.  But my eye was immediately taken to an article on harp guitars. I had never seen a harp guitar until I attended the Shenandoah Valley’s Oak Grove Music Festival one year and Stephen Bennett pulled out the strangest instrument imaginable.  But then he began playing the most beautiful music, and I was transfixed.  I’ve since met Stephen through my friends the Pearsons and Harringtons, and I’m always amazed at how someone can play such lovely music on such an awkward looking guitar. Stephen Bennett and Gregg Miner (whose guitar photo from harpguitars.net leads off this post) are featured …

Bush and Skaggs: Coming home, coming full circle

Two recent releases by Sam Bush and Ricky Skaggs — two superstars of Americana, roots, and bluegrass music — show both artists coming home in ways that bring them full circle with their own artistic travels. Bush’s Circles Around Me is a return to the bluegrass and early progressive newgrass of his youth in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  The album opens with the title track, a tune that celebrates “being thankful that you’re here” according to Bush.  His terrific road band — Byron House on bass, Chris Brown on drums, the amazing Scott Vestal on banjo and Stephen Mougin on guitar — plays on the majority of the 14 tracks, stretching out their musical chops on tunes such as the instrumental Blue Mountain and the old New Grass Revival song Souvenir Bottles. This latter tune, along with Whisper My Name written by original NGR bassist Ebo Walker and featured on their very first album, brings Bush back to the band where he made his name and helped shape a whole new genre of music — Newgrass. …

Watching the Grammy’s

Andrew and I have been watching the Grammy Awards show together…a little father/son bonding.  He’s helping me understand the genius of Radiohead and I’m helping him understand why Paul McCartney was such a seminal bassist in pop/rock music.  Seems like a fair trade to me. Of course, the categories I care about never get face time in prime time.  Wouldn’t you have loved to see Dr. John sing from his Grammy award winning City That Care Forgot album?  I know that they had to bring out Lil Wayne for the masses as part of their New Orleans tribute, and it was good to see Allen Toussaint, so I’ll take what I can.  Thank God some people still care about New Orleans.  In the Bluegrass category, Ricky Skaggs won for the terrific Honoring the Fathers of Bluegrass, while banjo player Bela Fleck won best pop instrumental album.  (Isn’t this the category that would have included Walk Don’t Run and other pop instrumental classics?  That’ll teach all those folks who make banjo jokes!) In the folk category, …

Interviews with Dobro Master Jerry Douglas

My father sent along the news that WPLN public radio in Nashville featured an interview on August 18th with Dobro master Jerry Douglas that some readers will find interesting.  The interview and an on-line web extra are available at WPLN’s web site.   Many of you will recognize Douglas’ name from his work with Alison Kraus + Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas, but those of us who’ve been listening to bluegrass and new acoustic music since the 1970s know that he’s played with just about everyone – from the Country Gentlemen (his first professional gig as a teenager), to J.D. Crowe and the New South (with bandmates Tony Rice and Ricky Skaggs), to Boone Creek, to Nashville session man extraordinaire from the 1980s on.  At least one regular reader of More to Come thinks Jerry Douglas is God.  If you want to see him live, go to YouTube to see this great set from Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Festival featuring Vince Gill and Jerry Douglas. This posting reminds me that I haven’t made my quarterly update on …