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Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder 

When: Thu., June 30, 7:30 p.m. 2011
Price: $26.50
It’s easy to forget just how good Ricky Skaggs is, and just how important he’s been to Nashville’s country and bluegrass music for the past 30 years. Fortunately, he’s dishing up a new-ish release on July 19 called Country Hits Bluegrass Style — a modified reissue of Cracker Barrel exclusive The High Notes that’s got a couple of new tracks — to remind us both of what he accomplished back in the early ’80s and what he can still do today. Nothing against Randy Travis, but it really was Skaggs who launched the neo-trad movement with brilliant, respectful yet thoroughly modern versions of Flatt & Scruggs and Stanley Brothers songs alongside entries from the likes of Guy Clark and Jim Rushing. He’s gone back in a more ’grassy direction since then, but his singing’s still every bit as soulful now — and in the same dang keys, too. And at the Ryman? Yeah, buddy — you know he’s going to kill it.
— Jon Weisberger

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