Last night in Nashville, Tennessee, music legend Ricky Skaggs officially became one of the newest members of the Country Music Hall of Fame. At the official Medallion Ceremony held in the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum’s CMA Theatre, Hall of Fame member Garth Brooks, through tear-filled eyes, formally inducted his musical mentor into the historic institution.
“It’s kinda hard to believe that this day has really come,” says Skaggs. “To hear someone say, ‘The newest member of the Country Music Hall of Fame’ are some of the greatest words you could ever hear this side of Heaven! I’m so grateful to be inducted into this revered Hall among these highly honored and most beloved people. It’s beyond humbling.”
Several took the stage to honor Skaggs following his induction. Brooks with Larry Cordle and Sierra Hull saluted Skaggs with “Highway 40 Blues,” Dierks Bentley crooned through “You’ve Got a Lover” and Chris Stapleton brought his distinct vocals, wailing through “The Darkest Hour is Just Before Dawn.”
As part of the Class of 2018, Skaggs was inducted into the “Modern Era Artist” category, along with the late Dottie West in the “Veterans Era Artist” category and the late Johnny Gimble in the “Recording and/or Touring Musician” category.
“Many of the fathers and mothers that are in this Hall literally built country music from the ground up,” Skaggs adds. “They were ‘Working on a Building,’ and they built well. Their incredible talent, hard work, and love for this wonderful music has laid a deep and solid foundation that generations will stand on. I’m so thankful for their tremendous contributions. People like me could have never become a member without their sacrifice. They showed us the way, they made the music, and we followed the sound!”
One of the most moving moments of the night was an unprecedented act. After being presented with his medallion, Skaggs was asked to take off his medallion as not to scratch the instrument he was about to be asked to play. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum then offered Skaggs the honor of playing the instrument of his hero, Bill Monroe. This famed Gibson F-5 mandolin, which rests behind glass in the museum, was played by Skaggs when he was just 6 years old in the presence of Monroe himself. With great care, a visibly moved Skaggs took the instrument from one of the museum’s curators and lead the audience in the traditional singing of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.” With help from Brooks and the Medallion All-Star Band, Skaggs gave a rousing, emotional performance to conclude this historic and momentous ceremony.
The CMA (Country Music Association) created the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961 to recognize noteworthy individuals for their outstanding contributions to the format; country music’s highest honor.
Produced by the staff of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the annual Medallion Ceremony honors the inductees by highlighting their life stories, important turning points, and the breakthrough artistic achievements that elevated their careers. The inductees are celebrated with speeches, live musical tributes and original video biographies, created by the museum staff using old and often rare recorded performances, past televised interviews and historic photos culled from materials collected, stored and digitized in the museum’s Frist Library and Archives. The ceremony conveys the unique talents, personalities and backgrounds of each Hall of Fame inductee and highlights why each one deserves this prestigious honor.
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.