Ricky Skaggs, legend of country, gospel, bluegrass, to perform in Springfield

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

You couldn’t call it a homecoming in the traditional sense, but Ricky Skaggs should feel right at home during his upcoming concert in Springfield.

The musician, singer and songwriter, who has had major success in several music genres, including country, bluegrass and gospel, has a special connection to the Champion City: his parents began their early married life together here. They moved from Kentucky as his dad found work on a local farm in the late 1940s and where his oldest sister was born.

Although they eventually moved back to Kentucky where he was born, Skaggs has memories of visiting family just up the highway in London, Ohio, where they’d hunt pheasants.

“I’m excited to be coming to Springfield. My mom and dad had fond memories of it and stayed in touch with people there, they called it one of the best places to call home,” he said.

Skaggs and his band Kentucky Thunder will perform music from all the genres they’ve excelled in during their concert at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, at the Clark State Performing Arts Center. Tickets are still available.

A whole story could be filled with nothing but the awards, honors and recognitions Skaggs has received – 15 Grammy Awards, Country Music Hall of Fame inductee, Gospel Music Hall of Fame, Musicians Hall of Fame and, in 2021, the National Medal of the Arts among them.

He could easily retire on such accolades, and having a nagging rotator cuff injury could only add to that. Skaggs isn’t ready, playing two shows a day during several dates to show his commitment.

“I’m (of) retirement age, I don’t want to retire. I’m having way too much fulfillment,” he said.

Skaggs credits Kentucky Thunder for helping keep the fire burning. The six-man band has shared in several awards along with Skaggs, featuring three guitars, banjo, fiddle and upright bass.

“I just love showing off this band,” said Skaggs. “These guys are some of the best musicians I know of and everybody solos.”

The show will feature new songs and some that haven’t been done in years. Skaggs likes to put a fresh face on them, several of which will be instrumentals, saying they do probably more instrumentals than many other touring acts are currently doing.

Skaggs will play his trademark mandolin and guitar, although he admits to needing help getting it strapped on by bandmate Dennis Parker due to the rotator cuff issues. He was cared for by a surgeon who works for Nashville’s professional sports teams and grateful for modern physical therapy methods that keep him playing through the pain.

Skaggs is also motivated by his spiritual side, describing himself as an artist who’s a Christian, not a Christian artist, and assured he and the band aren’t coming to preach, but do stories of their lives through their music that can touch others who face their own daily challenges.

“I’m a musician who loves Jesus,” he said. “Life is tough right now. We’re here for much more than just making money but to be a blessing and know what song an audience may need to hear.”


What: Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder

Where: Clark State Performing Arts Center, Kuss Auditorium, 300 South Fountain Ave., Springfield

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11

Admission: $20-50 (convenience and handling charges will also be added)

More info: pac.clarkstate.edu/shows/2022-2023-season/