For bluegrass, or any music fan, the headliner for this weekend’s Bluegrass on the Mountain Festival in Pineville will be enough to make you pack your lawn chairs and drive up the mountain for the event.
Bluegrass music legend Ricky Skaggs will headline the festival, being held Saturday at the Wilderness Trail Off Road Park in Bell County.
“I’m excited to be coming to the area,” said Skaggs, during a phone interview this week.
Skaggs is certainly no stranger to Kentucky, having been born in Cordell.
According to his biography, he received his first mandolin at the age of five after his father heard him harmonizing with his mother while he played with his toys.
That began his voyage into music.
In 1971, he entered the world of professional music with his friend, the late country singer, Keith Whitley, when the two young musicians were invited to join the band of bluegrass patriarch Ralph Stanley. His roots are in bluegrass, but he has journeyed through many genres, including country and gospel.
His latest album, “Music to My Ears,” contains Skaggs’ distinctive bluegrass sound, but with fresh music and new takes on older songs. The CD features a duet with Barry Gibb of Bee Gees’ fame, called “Soldier’s Son.”
A new bluegrass Christian song is the title cut, “Music to My Ears.”
One of the more popular songs on the album, according to Skaggs, is “You Can’t Hurt Ham,” a song based on a saying of Bill Monroe, who is regarded as the Father of Bluegrass Music.
“Who would have thought a song about country ham would be popular,” laughed Skaggs. “I love ‘Music to My Ears’. It’s just good music.’”
Those who attend this weekend’s festival will hear some selections from his newest album, but Skaggs promises he will play some of his older, traditional bluegrass songs along with gospel as well.
“There will be plenty of bluegrass playing,” he said. “I promise.”
The festival will kick off at 1 p.m. with the Children of the Cumberland River Music Academy. The Crossroads Gospel Bluegrass Band will take the stage at 2 p.m., Tazewell Pike will play at 3 p.m. and Crosspoint will play at 4 p.m.
Taking the stage at 5 p.m. will be Common Strings.
Ricky Skaggs will begin his performance at approximately 6 p.m.
Skaggs said his next projects include a CD of live recordings he and Bruce Hornsby made and an EP of five songs he and his wife, Sharon, recorded together.
Skaggs also has his autobiography coming out in August, titled “Kentucky Traveler.”
Meanwhile, fans can hear plenty of hits on the mountain this weekend.
“We’re really looking forward to it,” said Skaggs. “We really love playing in front of crowds that enjoy the old stuff too.”
More information, directions to the festival site and tickets are available at www.wildernesstrailoffroadpark.net.
Tickets can also be purchased at the third floor of the old Pineville courthouse and will be available for purchase at the gate on the day of the show.
Tickets are $20 for adults and include access to the vendor area as well the concert.
Children ages 6 to 16 are $5, and children under 6 get in free.
Tickets will be in the form of wristbands, and will be will-call (pick up day of the show).
No coolers will be allowed inside the event area. No alcohol is allowed.
Food vendors with various food and drinks for sale will be on-site. There will also be several other vendors on hand, as well as inflatables for the children.
Claiborne Progress|Civitas Media, LLC