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Ricky Skaggs' 'Rockabilly'

By Scott Ross
The 700 Club

CBN.comIn 1985, Scott Ross sat down with country star Ricky Skaggs on his life since winning Entertainer of the Year.

SCOTT: Ricky, that moment at the music awards when you received that award, it really affected you, didn’t it? What was going on?

RICKY: My heart just wanted to burst. I was so grateful and so thankful. My wife nearly had a heart attack I think. She had kept telling me for the last couple weeks before the award show, ‘You are going to win. This is your year.’ I told her that day, ‘Sharon, you gotta promise me that when we are here tonight and they don’t call my name for entertainer of the year, you are not going to be disappointed.’ She said, ‘I’m not going to be disappointed because you are going to win.’ Nothing would disillusion her. So after the show she went up to me and said, ‘When are you going to start listening to me?’

SCOTT: I’m convinced that some wives know things before the Lord does... Ricky, a couple of years ago you said you weren’t ready for that kind of award. What’s made you ready now?

RICKY: Well, the Lord really strengthened me in the last few years. I feel like I got a lot closer to him. My prayer life is a lot better than it was. My witness I feel is a lot better than it was. The whole insight of what the Lord wants me to do in this life is much more revealed to me now. And I can’t really say what one particular thing strengthened me other than just being more in His will and more willing to do what He wants. And not fight against Him. He’s always going to win. He’s the best jogger, best runner. You think you are going to tire Him down, but you can’t.

SCOTT: You find out He’s the best wrestler, like Jacob did.

RICKY: No kidding. That’s right. That’s it.

SCOTT: So you feel there wasn’t any one thing that turned that. But do you feel like…

RICKY: Well, there wasn’t any one thing. There was a chain of things that got me on the right road. I was raised a Baptist. My mom and dad are Free Will Baptists in eastern Kentucky. I grew up in real fire and brimstone, hell and damnation, wrath of God. You know it scared me to death, and I never knew for years that God loved me. I thought that He only loved Christians. I went to the altar when I was a little kid. Just cried my heart out. I asked the Lord to save me, and I kept waiting for this big thing to happen. It never happened, and it kind of scared me. I didn’t realize I was the one who had to make the change. ‘Cause God didn’t need to change. And so there for years I just kind of floated around somewhere in space and not really knowing where I was at. Feeling like if I died I would be lost. And I went through a divorce. Went through a lot of pushing, shoving, strife, struggle on the road. Trying to reach the goals that I had set out to do. And trying to reach them without God was impossible. I got double pneumonia from being out on the road and working, pushing myself. And some friends from this little church that I belong to now Holiday Heights Baptist Church in Hendersonville came by to pray with me. I just rededicated my life there.

SCOTT: Did you ever have to give him your music?

RICKY: Well, I was afraid of that. My mother always wanted me to be a preacher. And always wanted me to not ever play clubs, not ever play bars and just play in church. And I said, ‘Mother, you know, why should I play in church? That’s playing to saved people. I can take my music and go out to a club, out to a concert or wherever I want to go. And God’s with me. He’s working through me with the songs I sing.’

SCOTT: Do people respond to that?

RICKY: Yeah, I have a lot of people that aren’t Christians who will come up and say, 'You have really touched me.'

SCOTT: ‘Waiting for the Son to Shine.’ That song has a particular meaning, doesn’t it?

RICKY: ‘Waiting for the Son to Shine’ was about being under a dark cloud in your life, waiting for the sun to take this cloud away and shine. In my life, I was waiting for the s-o-n to shine. You can live without sunlight but you can’t live without that sonlight.

SCOTT: Your music, Ricky. I read things about it. I listen. People are always trying to box you in. How would you describe what you do?

RICKY: I don’t know. I tell some people it’s bluegrass in overdrive. I try to play the whole spectrum of country music. We do everything from gospel to western swing to bluegrass to two step, the old dance style country music, the shuffle, country music to rockabilly. And we do a song called ‘Walking in Jerusalem.’ It’s an old bluegrass tune that Bill Monroe learned from way back in the mountains, back in Kentucky years ago. It’s a spiritual. And he took and put a bluegrass touch to it. And we did a rockabilly arrangement on it and I’ll tell you, it really moves.

SCOTT: How are you maintaining a married life?

RICKY: Well, we have been blessed with two wonderful people that keep Molly for us while we are on the road. So she has a stable life. She doesn’t get to see her Mommy and Daddy all the time. But when Mommy and Daddy are home we do spend time with her and do special things with her. It really is hard but you know there’s a real dedication and real love between Sharon and I.

SCOTT: A lot of people [reading this] pray. And if there’s a prayer that they might pray for you, what would it be?

RICKY: Well, that I always be willing to let the Lord work in me. And that I can always accept all these blessings that God has given me. It’s hard for an old humble country boy from Kentucky that never had nothing. It’s hard sometimes for me to look the fans in the eye and just accept all these praises that they give me. They think one thing, and I know inside who Ricky Skaggs is. He is just enough Christian to get by. I don’t set spiritual long-term goals. I take it one day at a time. And say, Lord, ‘What are we doing to do today? What can I do for you today?’ And if they could pray that way, then I won’t have a whole lot of problems I don’t think.

Scott Ross welcomes your feedback.

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