|Ricky Skaggs (via Facebook)|
ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, presented acclaimed bluegrass and country music songwriter-artist and Grand Ole Opry member Ricky Skaggs with its prestigious Founders Award at the 54th annual ASCAP Country Music Awards. The exclusive, invitation-only gala, which celebrated the songwriters and publishers of ASCAP’s most performed country songs of 2016, took place at the historic Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville, Tennessee on October 31st.
ASCAP President Paul Williams said: “For more than four decades Ricky Skaggs has been a musical force in bluegrass and country music. His incredible gifts as a musician combined with his boundless creativity and energy continue to fuel a passion for American roots music around the world. A national treasure, he has influenced generations of fellow music creators and we are honored to present him with the ASCAP Founders Award.”
The Founders Award is one of ASCAP’s highest honors and is presented to songwriters and composers who have made pioneering contributions to music by inspiring and influencing their fellow music creators. Each recipient is a musical innovator who possesses a unique style of creative genius, which will enrich generations to come. Previous recipients include George Strait, Alan Jackson, Jackson Browne, Emmylou Harris, Garth Brooks, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Melissa Etheridge and Neil Young.
Ricky Skaggs is a renowned musician of bluegrass and country music, having earned 12 #1 singles, 14 Grammy Awards, 11 IBMA Awards, nine ACM Awards, eight CMA Awards (including Entertainer of the Year), two Dove Awards, three honorary Doctorate degrees, a GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame induction, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s 2013 Artist-In-Residence, and an Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award, along with numerous other accolades. Since he began playing music more than 50 years ago, Skaggs has released more than 30 albums and has performed thousands of live shows. He started his own record label, Skaggs Family Records, in 1997 and has since released 12 consecutive Grammy-nominated albums. His newest release, Hearts Like Ours, with his wife, celebrated artist Sharon White of The Whites, features the couple performing duets of handpicked country love songs. The Grand Ole Opry member has also released his first-ever autobiography, “Kentucky Traveler,” which details the life and times of Skaggs and provides a descriptive history of country and bluegrass music. In addition to his regular touring schedule with his band, Kentucky Thunder, he has recently performed a string of dates with Sharon White and guitar legend Ry Cooder, and continues to tour with versatile singer-songwriter and pianist Bruce Hornsby.
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website. The Berea College graduate has been a music journalist and historian for over 20 years. She enjoys providing concert photography, reviews, historical articles, red carpet event coverage, and exclusive interviews of your favorite musicians. Jessica is proud to be a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the FFA and 4-H Clubs. In 2018, she was named one of Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award Recipients. In 2019, she was a member of the Inaugural class of BRIGHT Kentucky as part of Leadership Kentucky. She has been featured on the Kentucky Music Preview podcast, Hollercast podcast, Overtones radio show, WFKY Nashville News Roundup, KET, and more. Beyond music, she enjoys traveling, helping her community, collecting gnomes, and Volkswagens.