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Unlike other small town farm boys in Cordell, Kentucky, Ricky Skaggs learned to play the mandolin at five years old. By age six, the unexpected musical prodigy found himself playing on stage with Bill Monroe, the father of bluegrass music. With Monroe as a mentor, Skaggs became a professional musician at age fifteen, joining the Clinch Mountain Boys band, and by twenty-one he was already considered a recognized master of one of America's most demanding art forms. Yet, following the advice of music industry executives, Skaggs moved away from his bluegrass roots into the world of mainstream country music - and in doing so became a country legend and a household name. After years on the road, several hit albums, and an incredibly successful turn in country music, Skaggs felt something was missing. Returning to the music of his childhood, bluegrass, Skaggs started his own label, Skaggs Family Records, and has since produced eight consecutive Grammy-minated classics. Today, with a total of fourteen Grammy Awards to his credit, Skaggs has become bluegrass music's official ambassador. 2011 marks Ricky Skaggs' 40th year as a professional musician. In his widely anticipated memoir, Skaggs opens up to tell the story of a life come full circle - from his first memories of music in Kentucky, through his meteoric rise in the mainstream music industry, to his ultimate return back to the bluegrass music that he knew best. Skaggs tells the intimate stories of his successful career, profiles his musical heroes and influences (from Bill Monroe to Ray Charles, Billy Graham, and Roscoe Holcomb, all illustrated with Ricky's own personal photos), and paints a unique insider look at the evolution of bluegrass. Alongside his deeply personal revelations, Skaggs offers inspirational sections like: The Ten Commandments of Bluegrass: The great principles of the bluegrass tradition, as handed down by Ricky's mentor Bill Monroe; The Essential Guide to Bedrock Country Songs: a lovingly compiled walk through the songs that have moved Skaggs most; and Songs the Lord Taught Us: A primer on Skaggs' essential gospel songs. Full of heartfelt honesty and humor, Ricky Skaggs' powerful memoir will speak to bluegrass and country music lovers and will delight his growing legions of fans.
Ricky Skaggs is one of the most prominent singers and musicians in the history of bluegrass and country music. He is a perennial Grammy Award-winner and continues to make records and tour with his band, Kentucky Thunder. Eddie Dean is a veteran music journalist whose previous books include Man of Constant Sorrow: My Life and Times, cowritten with Dr. Ralph Stanley.