In Oct. 21 IssueBy Kim GrahamTimes Journal Reporter
Grammy award winning artist Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder delivered homegrown acoustic roots music in their performance at the Russell County High School Auditorium last weekend.
Despite competition from several other local happenings, the concert was well received with over 500 in attendance.
"I was really pleased with attendance," said Susan Melton, director Russell County Schools Auditorium. "There were so many events going on that night. There was a gospel singing in Jamestown, a demolition derby in Russell Springs, and the Foothills Festival in Albany."
Enthusiasts were treated to more than 2 hours of hard driving, Kentucky born and bred Bluegrass music.
"It was a great show," said local Bluegrass music promoter Clarissa "Moochie" Hart. "He did good traditional music and a lot of it. His band is phenomenal!"
During the show, Skaggs showcased several members of Kentucky Thunder and their individual talents.
A lifelong musician, Skaggs professional music career spans nearly 40 years which he credits to God given talent.
"I'm a Christian," said Skaggs. "I feel like I was given a gift to play music and bring joy in the message of Christ to people," said Skaggs.
Although Skaggs says he doesn't offer unsolicited advice, the award winning artist says being yourself is important to standing out in today's crowded music scene.
"I try to get people to really be who they are," Skaggs said. "I try to encourage people to really find what thumbprint God gave them - the uniqueness about them."
"If God cares enough about us to make us all unique then He's given us a unique sound, a unique dream, and a unique voice to speak with and sing with. So find that voice and stay with it."
Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder combine a fusion of vocal harmonies and precision musicianship that keep fans coming back for more of the traditional sound as well as the fusion of old and new.
Those fans were on their feet cheering for more when the band exited the stage.
During an encore, Skaggs debuted "Can't Shake Jesus" displaying his ability to find his own voice and reinvent himself through the new sound in his latest project Mosaic.
"I love fresh new music," said Skaggs. "My new album, Mosaic is so different than anything I've ever done in my whole life and it gets me excited when I hear that music and see people react to it."
Supporters welcomed the song of faith and received it warmly.
Still, most came to hear the music Skaggs is most known for in his career.
"The folks I spoke to at the concert were die hard Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder fans," said Melton. "Many of them said (Bluegrass music) is our culture and you just don't hear much of it anymore."
Skaggs thanked folks who came out for spending their hard earned money in such uncertain economic times and spoke later of the benefits of attending live performance.
"I think being able to see someone in a band perform and play and entertain it's so different from seeing it on TV," Skaggs said. "Acoustic music really has tremendous life to it. You're not tired after you hear it you're kind of pumped."
Bringing the arts to people, particularly the young people of Russell County, is the ultimate goal of the concert and event series at the auditorium.
Melton stresses the objective of the arts program is to bring money back into the local school system to benefit our students.
On December 3rd, Russell County After School Children's Theatre will present A Snow White Christmas with over 100 kids performing.
During the day, Russell County students will perform once for in county schools and once for out of county schools invited to the event.
That evening, they will present the Christmas show to the public during a community performance.
Melton said students' response to audition for parts was so incredible, that they are planning to start their own Children's Theatre.
For additional information about future events, call the Russell County Schools Auditorium at 270-866-6300.