The Mary B. Martin School of the Arts is presenting “An Evening of Bluegrass” at 7:30 p.m. on March 28 in the Martha Street Culp Auditorium.
The ETSU Bluegrass Pride Band will open the concert for Ricky Skaggs and his band Kentucky Thunder.
The performance is the featured entertainment for the 2015 Appalachian Studies Association Conference being held March 27-29.
“We’re sure looking forward to coming up to ETSU; it’s going to be really great,” Skaggs said.
Skaggs has close relations with the Bluegrass department at ETSU and he and the band are looking forward to joining them in concert Saturday.
“It’s kind of cool to play these old songs for younger listeners,” Skaggs said. “So, I feel like it’s just important — I know it is for me — to talk about and explain and try to teach the music of the masters and of the fathers of the music — the elders.”
Skaggs described the music as a fashion.
“I think it’s set in my heart for loving old music and traditional music, it’s mountain music,” Skaggs said. “Music like that never grows old and it never goes out of style either. It’s like fashion: fashion never goes out of style; something that’s fashionable and traditional — real true to God music — just never goes away.It’s always going to find an audience.”
Growing up on older music, Skaggs is influenced by artists such as Bill Monroe and the Stanley Brothers, as well as influence from church and family.
“My dad showed me three chords on the mandolin — G,C and D — and I could sing before I started playing, so when I got a mandolin at age 5, I was just kind of singing and playing mandolin with myself and changing chords,” Skaggs said. “We sang in church a lot — sang at home a lot — my mom was a real good old-time mountain singer and she had this incredible voice … she was a great inspiration. My dad was a really good singer.”
Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder are on tour and will play in Bristol, Tennessee, at 7 p.m. April 18 for the 11th annual Celebration of ETSU Bluegrass, Old Time, Celtic and Country Music at the Paramount Center for the Arts.
Tickets for this Saturday can be purchased at www.etsu.edu. Student tickets are $12, senior tickets are $25 and general admission is $30.