Grammy winner taking the stage in Portsmouth

By Ivy Potter -

Ricky Skaggs and the Kentucky Thunder

Courtesy photo

Bobby Bare

Courtesy photo

Jacob Tolliver

Courtesy photo

Rick Ferrell

Courtesy photo

Ricky Skaggs, singer of hit songs like “Country Boy,” “Highway 40 Blues” and “Lovin’ Only Me,” will be performing in Portsmouth this Friday at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts at Shawnee State University.

Skaggs, the 15-time Grammy winner with 12 number one hit songs, and Kentucky Thunder, will take the stage, along with Bobby Bare, Portsmouth’s own Jacob Tolliver and Rick Ferrell, for the mural benefit concert beginning at 7 p.m.

Skaggs, whose lifetime accomplishments include eight Country Music Awards, eight Academy of Country Music Awards, two Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, and member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1982, will now be adding another monumental achievement to the list. Skaggs will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame this year as the only living member in the new inductee class of 2018. Skaggs also has been selected to be inducted into the Musician’s Hall of Fame, which he says is a proud accomplishment because he was voted on by other talented musicians.

The talented Skaggs, who first began his musical career at the age of 5 after his father gifted him a mandolin, has performed in Portsmouth a handful of times throughout the years, but shared with The Daily Times a special memory of performing with his parents at the Pan Theater in Portsmouth as a young boy.

“I think I’ve played Portsmouth probably three or four times since starting my career,” Skaggs says. Although he is famous for his country music stylings, Skaggs is excited to share the sounds of bluegrass with concertgoers, and says a live bluegrass record is on the horizon. On his return to Portsmouth and performance of his bluegrass genre, Skaggs says, “Who knows, maybe we’ll record the Vern Riffe performance this Friday.”

For Skaggs, a Kentucky native, coming back to Portsmouth will provide an opportunity to reconnect with his loved ones, as well as loyal fans.

“I’m looking forward to coming back. I’ve got some family that will probably be coming from the Columbus area, and come up from Eastern Kentucky,” Skaggs says. “It’s a good thing to come back, and I look forward to it.”

After the show Skaggs says he will make time to greet fans and sign copies of his book, “Kentucky Traveler: My Life in Music.”

“I have an autobiography — we’ll have that with us — and I always go out after the show and sign autographs for folks, so we’ll be doing that and I look forward to that. We’ll have pictures made if they want, just signing autographs and meeting people.”

Bobby Bare

Also on the Vern Riffe stage Friday is Country Music Hall of Fame member Bobby Bare.

Born and raised in nearby Ironton, Bare cut his musical teeth in regional bars and venues before becoming one of the biggest country artists of all time. With nearly five dozen Top 40 hits — and 30 in the Top 20 — from 1962 to 1983, Bare and his music have been honored with multiple Grammy nominations and wins, and in 2017, was named one of the 100 Greatest Country Artists of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine.

Bare has recorded chart-topping songs like “Detroit City,” “500 Miles,” “Shame On Me” and many more. Artists from Little Jimmy Dickens and Hank Williams, to big band acts like Phil Harris and the Dominoes, all influenced his unique style that has led to him often being referred to as the “Bruce Springsteen of Country.”

Bare recently released the video for his latest single, “I Drink,” which addresses alcoholism, a video that has received more than 200,000 views.

The original “Outlaw” of country music, 2018 marks his 60th anniversary in the music business and the release of his studio album,Things Change.” The Outlaw Country legend continues to play sold out select dates throughout the United States and internationally.

Bare marked his 83rd birthday this month as well as a pinnacle moment in history as he was welcomed back home as a member of the Grand Ole Opry by Garth Brooks.

Jacob Tolliver

When you’re hand-picked by the man who taught the world to shake, rattle and roll to open for a celebration for his own personal New Year’s Eve party and in his hometown, you feel like you’ve won, not just again, but forever.

That’s the way Jacob Tolliver began 2018, on famed Beale Street in Memphis with his idol, Jerry Lee Lewis. After spending four years in Las Vegas portraying the living legend of rock ‘n’ roll in the famed “Million Dollar Quartet” musical, Tolliver and Lewis have become close friends.

Tolliver has become known for his cascade of songs like “Walking on the Fighting Side of Me” and “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” as well as ZZ Top’s “Tush,” all played in the boogie woogie style reminiscent of Jerry Lee Lewis.

To watch and witness the metamorphosis of Tolliver in the music world since his days at Portsmouth West High School have been off the charts. It was his grandmother who first took him into downtown Portsmouth to buy old recordings of artists like Jerry Lee Lewis and others who influenced him in the direction he has taken.

Friday’s concert is a fundraiser for a huge mural on the flood wall paying tribute to some of the many entertainers hailing from the area. Tickets are available at photo

Ricky Skaggs and the Kentucky Thunder Skaggs and the Kentucky Thunder Courtesy photo

Bobby Bare Bare Courtesy photo

Jacob Tolliver Tolliver Courtesy photo

Rick Ferrell Ferrell Courtesy photo

By Ivy Potter

Reach Ivy Potter at 740-353-3101 ext. 1932

Reach Ivy Potter at 740-353-3101 ext. 1932