There are journeymen, well-traveled players who have earned the right to be considered great musicians and by their experience have something to say that can command a listener's attention.
And then there are masters.
Ricky Skaggs belongs in the latter category. His talent comes across as otherworldly, as if a big, old hand reached down from way up yonder and touched him on the forehead when he was but a wee brat, bestowed upon him the mark, and muttered something along the lines of, "Go forth, ye little dude, maketh much music, and kicketh the butt of all comers."
Skaggs' demeanor is a humble one, despite the fact that, as far as bluegrass musicians go, there are maybe a few dozen around the world who could legitimately "hang" with him in a musical setting. Most significantly, his thirst for new musical experience appears to be unquenchable. That may explain the somewhere around 30 assorted Grammys, CMAs and IBMA trophies cluttering the mantelpiece at the Skaggs homestead.
Skaggs will play an incredibly rare intimate show inside the Bear's Den, Seneca Niagara Casino, next Friday at 8 p.m. Remaining tickets are available through Ticketmaster.
-- Jeff Miers