Growing up in the 80s, country music was quite different than it is today. I remember sitting up in my room listening to the countdown and finding out where all my favorite songs were on the chart. Back then, I had a typewriter (anyone remember those?) and would type the entire countdown and keep them in a drawer. 4 hours every Saturday morning my parents knew exactly where I was: dancing around my bedroom with my hairbrush in my hand singing at the top of my lungs. Good thing our house was well insulated.

Ricky Skaggs was very influential to me.

I first heard him back in 1982 when my sisters let me touch their stereo. 'Heartbroke' came on and I remember listening to the fiddle and the picking and steel guitar. I was a fan of all music but THIS was exactly what I wanted to listen to for the rest of my life.

Ricky plays mandolin, which his father gave him at the age of 5, fiddle, guitar and banjo. Early in his career he was in a band with the late Keith Whitley. He married Sharon White of The Whites in 1982 and has kept music in the family. They have 2 kids and church is very important to them.

He has won 14 Grammy Awards, most recently in 2009 with his group Kentucky Thunder for Honoring The Fathers Of Bluegrass 1946 & 47. He and his band released Music to My Ears in September to great reviews.

Ricky and Kentucky Thunder still tour. Just checking his website shows that he will busy this coming year as well. So 'Thanks Again', Ricky for making this girl want to make music. My eyes still well up when I hear that song...

Here is one of my favorite videos. I sat in front of the television in my living room staring at the screen at the wonder of how fast his hands could pick a guitar. Yeah, Brad Paisley and Keith Urban are darn good...but Ricky was the first guitarist that stupified me. This is Country Boy...and I hope you enjoy it as much as I still do!