SHOW REVIEW: Ricky Skaggs And Kentucky Thunder

Last Thursday night at the historic Ryman Auditorium, bluegrass enthusiasts were treated to an electrifying yet acoustic performance by the legendary Ricky Skaggs.

The “Mother Church”, renowned for its incredible acoustics and rich musical history, was the perfect backdrop for Ricky Skaggs’ timeless tunes. With a catalog like Skaggs’, he obviously couldn’t play all the hits, but he played a lot of them. From the very beginning, the crowd was respectfully quiet when the band played but went wild with applause after every song.

Notably, the presence of Skaggs’ beloved wife, Sharon White, in the audience added a touch of intimacy to the performance. He playfully called her out several times, sharing endearing anecdotes of performances past at the hallowed hall that made the whole evening feel like an intimate gathering of close friends rather than a packed concert.

But let’s not forget the incredible backing band, Kentucky Thunder, who proved themselves to be the true virtuosos they are. With precision and passion, they flawlessly complemented Skaggs’ every move, creating a harmonious musical synergy that was an absolute feast for the ears. The interplay between Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder was a testament to the years of dedication and camaraderie they share. The all-star lineup of Kentucky Thunder includes Russ Carson (banjo), Jake Workman (lead guitar), Dennis Parker (baritone vocals, guitar), Gavin Kelso (bass), Mike Rogers (tenor vocals, rhythm guitar) and Billy Contreras (fiddle).

In 1971, Skaggs entered the world of professional music full-time 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. Since that time the Opry member has been inducted into the National Fiddler Hall of Fame, IBMA’s Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame, Kentucky Music Hall of Fame, Gospel Music Hall of Fame and the Musicians Hall of Fame.

Skaggs is truly a living legend and Kentucky Thunder as a band is unmatched. If you missed this show, DO NOT miss the next one. They’re coming back to the Ryman in December and you can GET TICKETS RIGHT HERE.
–Jerry Holthouse

About Jerry Holthouse

Music editor for Jerry Holthouse is a content writer, songwriter and a graphic designer. He owns and runs Holthouse Creative, a full service creative agency. He is an avid outdoorsman and a lover of everything music. You can contact him at

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