Bluegrass and country music make up the forecast for Sunday night when Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder will rain upon the Calvin Gilmore Theater stage.
Ready to play at 6 p.m. at the home of “The Carolina Opry,” 8901 N. Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, Skaggs called earlier this month, still humbled and honored by two special events on his calendar for October in Nashville,. Tenn.
Celebrating more than five decades of performance, Skaggs gains induction Oct. 26 with a group including Garth Brooks and former Eagles lead guitarist Don Felder at the Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum (615-244-3263 or musicianshalloffame.com) , and will receive a Founders Award Oct. 31 at the 54th annual ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) Country Music Awards.
He said news of the ASCAP award was expressed in January during a night at the Grand Ole Opry, where he has been a member since 1982, during a proclamation read aloud, “and I could hardly believe it.” The start of summer brought word of the hall of fame, a place he visited briefly, but looks forward to returning.
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“I took kind of a 20-cent tour,” he said, “but I got $20 worth. Just to see all the musicians and all the people recognized there, it’s quite an honor.”
The author of “Kentucky Traveler: My Life in Music,” published in 2013 by It Books, Skaggs also praised the road that Ralph Stanley helped pave for mountain music from the late 1940s, starting with the Stanley Brothers and the Clinch Mountain Boys.
Since Stanley’s passing in June at age 89, Skaggs said that in concert, he and colleagues have played various songs for which “Dr. Ralph” and brother Carter Stanley were known, among “the great music they left.”
Skaggs said he visited Ralph Stanley at home in Virginia about a month beforehand in May, during the pioneer’s 46th annual Hills of Home Memorial Weekend Bluegrass Festival, and before hospice had been called in. Having lost 75 pounds and wearing spectacles, Skaggs said at first, Stanley didn’t recognize him, but after taking the glasses off, elation resulted with the greeting, “There you are, Ricky.”
Having those couple of hours, “we got to spend some good time together,” Skaggs said, so grateful.
Later fielding an Associated Press call for remembrances, Skaggs recounted his quotes about “the king of the high lonesome music, the humble king.”
“He was a carrier of ancient sounds,” Skaggs said, also revering the legacies of other bluegrass trailblazers such as Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, “and I’m all about that. ... I’m 62 now, and there are a real need and a mission to bring this old music out to where the masses can hear and see it, because it’s such life-giving music, ... where my heart is.”
Besides singing and playing mandolin with Kentucky Thunder, Skaggs said they all also have enjoyed sharing the stage with Bruce Hornsby, most recently in June at his Funhouse Fest in Colonial Williamsburg, Va., and with plans for 10-12 dates next year. Another Kentucky Thunder live CD might be coming, to showcase more talents by this “bunch of young guys ... all great musicians, and maybe with some numbers never recorded by the band.
Skaggs and his wife, Sharon White, celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary this past summer with a visit to Ireland, highlighted by an arts festival in Kilkenny, where they also were invited to perform with some native friends, including “a great Irish fiddler.” This excursion brought “a lot more than music,” though, he said of the array of styles, along with “poetry, arts and crafts, and everything Ireland.”
At his wife’s urging, town exploration led them to a poetry reading event, at which they were each granted a turn, Skaggs said, with a “who’s who” list of orators, including Paul Muldoon. Without a favorite poem coming to mind, White welcomed the encouragement to read from a song, Skaggs said, and she chose “When I’m Good and Gone,” from the pair’s “Heart Like Ours” CD released in 2014, and explained those words she valued.
“When she started reading,” Skaggs said, “it got densely quiet in the room, because I think it was so different from poems everyone else was used to hearing. .. Everything worked, and it rhymed. It was just a story, instead of a poem”:
“ ... I hope my babies will make good neighbors. The kind you can count on when you’re down. And I hope they teach their sons and daughters. The things I taught ’em when I’m not around. ...”
Contact STEVE PALISIN at 843-444-1764.
If you go
WHEN: 6 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Calvin Gilmore Theater, 8901 N. Kings Highway (U.S. 17 Business), at the junction of U.S. 17, on northern tip of Myrtle Beach
HOW MUCH: Starting at $35
OTHER GUEST CONCERTS: Both at 6 p.m. on Sundays: the Five Irish Tenors on Jan. 22, and Garrison Keillor, Feb. 19.
HOUSE SHOWS: With this schedule through Oct. 26, and prices plus tax –
▪ “The Carolina Opry,” in 31st year, 7 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and Oct. 23; and “Time Warp,” 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays – each $34.95, $45.95 or $49.95 ages 17 and older, $17 or $25 ages 3-16; and $23 for students with ID; and general admission for $27.90, $10.70 and $14.50 respectively.
▪ “Thunder and Light” with All That! – 4 p.m. Thursdays through Oct. 6, for $25.99 general admission advance online or $34.95 reserved for ages 17 and older, and $16.75 or $20.42 respectively for ages 3-16.
▪ “Light” laser show extravaganza, daily – check for times – general $15 ages 17 and older, $12 ages 3-16 and students.
ALSO: Local residents’ deal available through Oct. 9, for performances through Oct. 26 for “The Carolina Opry,” “Time Warp” and “Thunder and Light,” each for $19.95 plus tax for regular seating, with ID, from any of 12 proximate counties, including Horry, Georgetown and Brunswick. Limit of six tickets per local customer.
INFORMATION: 843-913-4000, 800-843-6779 or www.thecarolinaopry.com.