Ricky Skaggs is among the fondly remembered country and bluegrass artists who made history with his musical flair and uninhibited passion to perform. Having lived a fruitful and eventful life that evolved around what he loved to do most, it is no longer a surprise if people would assume that the timeless artist was blessed and contented with how things turned out for him.
In fact, aside from his collaborations with fellow artists like Vince Gill, Ralph Stanley, and Bill Monroe to name a few, Skaggs was also honored to have a memoir written about him with the help of Eddie Dean. Titled, Kentucky Traveler: My Life in Music, Ricky Skaggs divulges his journey in the industry of music with no-holds-barred. The memoir features the Ten Commandments of Bluegrass as well, and this has been based on the Essential Guide to Bedrock Country Songs by Ricky’s mentor, Bill Monroe.
During an interview with Henry Carrigan, Skaggs describes the details on why he decided to write the memoir.
About 10 years ago, he had already been approached by a publisher, and the idea of writing his autobiography was pitched to him. But at that time, Skaggs’ schedule was slumped with so many performances and so he had to turn the offer down. Three years later, it was Harper Collins who pitched the offer to Skaggs, and finally, he thought and felt that that was the right timing to write the memoir.
Skaggs also shares how his autobiography pays homage to his parents. He talked about their best qualities and how it helped shape him into the person he is right now. His dad was easy-going, reserved and was always ready to lend a helping hand while his mom was happy, giving, and kept their house full of life. She was also a great singer, as Ricky would fondly recall.
As for the writing aspect of the memoir, Ricky Skaggs did not really stick to a specific schedule while he completed the book piece by piece. He tried his best to express and impart his life story in a way that would translate meaningfully to his readers, and so he hopes that the audience will learn how God was a huge driving force behind his success. “You know”, he begins as the interview nears its end, “it wasn’t my dad who arranged for me to get up on that stage with Mr. Monroe or the people who were screaming for him to let little Ricky Skaggs play that night. God had His hand in that. I hope people can see that I’m a follower of Christ. It’s hard work, and I haven’t always lived up to it, but I’ve tried very hard to trust in the Lord all these years, through the ups and downs.
Kentucky Traveler: My Life in Music Memoir shows that from the very first moment Skaggs picked up and learned how to play the mandolin to the time he began establishing his career by performing alongside country and bluegrass legends from the past and the present, he has truly embodied what it means to be “a bridge to the past and the future both.”