What if Ricky Skaggs was your uncle?

Josh and Ricky Skaggs

When I was having a bite backstage at the Opry recently, I struck up a conversation with a guy about Allison Krauss and how shy she is over a piece of mandolin cake. I asked him who he came to see and he said that his uncle Ricky had invited him.

Uncle Ricky Skaggs, that is.

So, because Josh Skaggs is such a nice guy, he was willing to answer a few questions about his uncle for my blog.

What's your Uncle Ricky like at family reunions?

We haven't really had a reunion since my grandparents have passed on, but I always remember him and Aunt Sharon being so relieved they were home, off the road, and able to relax. They wanted to make sure they got to see everyone, or as many as they could. They are busy, but when they're off and home.....they're home. He doesn't ever much wanna talk about music, just about what's going on back home and how everyone is.

How did your Uncle Ricky get started? Does music run in the family?

My papaw Hobert, Ricky's dad, was a great rhythm guitarist. Uncle Rick said he could have went on the road with someone if he had wanted to, but he was more of a stay at home family man. My Papaw's brother Okel (Ricky's uncle) was a great tenor singer. He was killed in WW2.

Papaw really pushed Uncle Rick musically, making him practice many hours every day. He was the one that really saw something special in Uncle Rick. They started singing in church together as a family. He bought Uncle Rick a mandolin when he was 5. He moved the family to Tennessee and got him an audition for the Opry and the Flatt & Scruggs TV show when he was only 7. He learned to sing from my Mamaw Dorothy. She would sing tenor to Papaw and Ricky caught on and started singing her part.

My dad and me play a few instruments and sing in church. Two of Ricky's kids Molly and Luke are great musicians and singers in their own right. They are very talented and perform praise and worship music. But that is the extent of "other" Skaggs musicians in the family.

What's your favorite memory of Uncle Ricky?

Ah, many memories. I remember us going to see him do a show in Charleston, West Virginia. It was my 10th birthday and he gave me $50 after the show. That was the most money I'd ever had until then. Lots of laughs- that's something that sticks out. And us all gathering at Pap and Mam’s for the holidays. Those were the best times ever. Getting to see everyone and visit. We have so much love in our family. And I always loved getting to ride on his tour bus when I was little. We also went on a few fishing trips when I was younger I'll never forget.

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