Ricky Skaggs - Country Hits Bluegrass Style
By: Matt Bjorke
Along with buddy Keith Whitley, Ricky Skaggs literally grew up in the Bluegrass music world before transitioning to mainstream country as one of the genre’s neotraditionalist boom after the short Urban Cowboy era. Ricky never really abandoned Bluegrass and in fact a few of these songs on his latest album Country Hits Bluegrass Style, like “Uncle Penn,” “I Wouldn’t Change You If I Could,” and “Don’t Get Above Your Raising” were originally bluegrass songs. So it is interesting to hear Ricky re-make these songs again for his new album, which came about because of fans yearning to hear Ricky’s classic hits so rather than just tour with both a country and bluegrass band, Ricky is touring with a hybrid band behind this new album.
It’s a great marrying of his two careers, as 1980’s Grand Ole Opry country star and, for the last decade or so, as one of the fathers of Modern Bluegrass. Country Hits Bluegrass Style features classics like “Honey (Open That Door),” “Heartbroke,” and “Cryin’ My Heart Over You” amongst the previously mentioned tunes and it’s hard not to like the music presented here. It’s traditional country music with bluegrass feel in places. Throughout the record Ricky Skaggs sounds as good as he did on his past albums and his band is as tight as any bluegrass or country or rock band can be with fantastic harmonies and musicianship.
Country Hits Bluegrass Style may not sell millions of records but it’s as strong a country or bluegrass recording as you’re likely to hear released in this or any other year. Highly recommended.