“You can play anywhere, anywhere in the world. But playing the Ryman is special, it is so special.” Is how Ricky Skaggs with Kentucky Thunder greeted the sold out crowd in July in Nashville. There aren’t many things we don’t know about Mr. Skaggs. He’s a CMA Entertainer of the Year winner, amazing instrumentalist, King of Bluegrass and full time comedian. His shows are amazing works of banjo, bass and mandolin acrobatics, stories of the road and the skank that can get on the banjo or fiddle after a member of the Kentucky Thunder just tears the hide off the song.
Skaggs’ storytelling might also be the thing of legend. Quoting his father “son it’s not out of tune, it just sounds like more people are playing.” Set the mood. Soaring versions of “Toy Heart,” brought the crowd to their feet, with such interplay and the on the fly vocal audibles, you knew this show was going to be special.
“Traveling Down the Lonesome Road,” showcased each member of Kentucky Thunder and Skaggs’ vocal chops. Such an aural performance that one would think couldn’t be topped. Well wrong. Bassist Scott Mulvahill, utterly tore apart, put back together and then tore apart Jimmy Martin’s “20/20 Vision (And I’m Walking Around Blind).” Mulvahill's version was equal parts Mingus and Stanley Clarke. Vocals were searing and his bass playing, well that was, from another galaxy. Without a doubt the performance of the night. The second set brought out Ricky’s wife, Sharon White, their version of “I’m In Love With Love,” was so heartfelt and honest, such a real moment. 10yr old, virtuoso, Carson Peters brought the house down, twice with versions of, “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” and “Orange Blossom Special.” The latter bringing some serious interplay with the rest of the band and even tossing in Deep Purple’s “Smoke On The Water,” really was a nice touch.
Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder proved time and time again that July evening in Nashville that they are otherworldly and worthy of the term Legend.