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Ricky Skaggs takes the stage Dec. 12 at the Capitol Theatre.

CLEARWATER — Ricky Skaggs will perform Sunday, Dec. 12, 8 p.m., at the Bilheimer Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater.

Tickets start at $37.50. Visit www.rutheckerdhall.com or call 727-791-7400.

By age 21, Skaggs was already considered a “recognized master” of one of America’s most demanding art forms, but his career took him in other directions, catapulting him to popularity and success in the mainstream of country music. His life’s path has taken him to various musical genres, from where it all began in bluegrass music, to striking out on new musical journeys, while still leaving his musical roots intact.

Skaggs struck his first chords on a mandolin over 50 years ago, and this 15-time Grammy Award-winner continues to do his part to lead the recent roots revival in music. With 12 consecutive Grammy-nominated classics behind him, all from his own Skaggs Family Records label, the diverse tones made by Skaggs come from a life dedicated to playing music that is both fed by the soul and felt by the heart.

Ricky was born in 1954 in Cordell, Kentucky. He received his first mandolin at the age of 5 after his father, Hobert, heard him harmonizing with his mother from across the house as he played with his toys. He soon earned a reputation among the locals in his community. When the legendary Bill Monroe came to Martha, Kentucky, for a performance, the crowd wouldn’t let up until “Little Ricky Skaggs” got up to play. The father of bluegrass called 6-year-old Skaggs up and placed his own mandolin around his neck, adjusting the strap to fit his small frame.

By age 7, Skaggs performed with bluegrass legends Flatt and Scruggs on their popular syndicated television show, for which he earned his first paycheck for a musical performance.

In 1971, Skaggs entered the world of professional music full-time joining the band of bluegrass patriarch Ralph Stanley. He soon began to build a reputation for creativity and excitement through live appearances and recordings with acts such as J.D. Crowe & the New South. He performed on the band’s 1975 debut album for Rounder Records, which is widely regarded as one of the most influential bluegrass albums ever made. A stint as a bandleader with Boone Creek followed, bringing the challenges of leadership while giving him further recording and performing experience.

In the late 1970s, Skaggs turned his attention to country music. Though still in his 20s, the wealth of experience and talent he possessed served him well, first as a member of Emmylou Harris’ Hot Band and later as an individual recording artist on his own. With the release of “Waitin’ for the Sun to Shine” in 1981, Skaggs reached the top of the country charts and remained there throughout most of the 1980s, resulting in a total of 12 No. 1 hits.

In 2020, Skaggs was awarded the prestigious National Medal of Arts for his contributions to the American music industry. It is the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the United States government. As a virtuoso of the mandolin and fiddle, he creates and produces bluegrass music that preserves the musical legacy of the most talented artists of his generation.