Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder at the Tony Rice Memorial Music Fest – photo © G. Nicholas Hancock

Posted on May 28, 2024 By Sandy Hatley in Bluegrass Today

History repeated itself this Memorial Day weekend at Camp Springs Bluegrass Park near Reidsville, NC, as Ricky Skaggs took the stage for the second annual Tony Rice Memorial Music Fest on Saturday. Camp Springs was the first bluegrass festival that Skaggs ever played. While still a teenager, he had joined Ralph Stanley’s Clinch Mountain Boys alongside the late Keith Whitley and traveled to North Carolina to play the festival. That performance can be viewed on a segment of the Bluegrass Country Soul film recorded at the iconic park in 1971. Ricky also wrote about the experience in his 2013 autobiography, Kentucky Traveler: My Life in Music.

Cody Johnson, SPBGMA’s 2023 promoter of the year, and Camp Springs Blue Grass Park owner, shared, “It’s awesome that Ricky returned. I think it ties in really well with Tony since they played together.”

Skaggs performed with Rice in the powerhouse band, J.D. Crowe and the New South band, recording the landmark Rounder 0044 LP in 1975. The pair also recorded, Skaggs & Rice, a 1980 album for Sugar Hill that was reissued in 2012. The minimalistic project featured only Skaggs on mandolin, Rice on guitar, and their voices in duet harmonies. Both records are considered classics in bluegrass circles.

“Playing back on this stage brings backs lot of memories,” Skaggs shared. “We want to remember our dear friend, Tony Rice. I loved him so much and loved singing with him.”

Following his set, Skaggs returned to the stage for an encore that included Bury Me Beneath the Willow from the Skaggs & Rice project, and ended with a rousing version of Monroe’s Rawhide.

A special guest in Saturday’s audience was Skaggs’ former band mate, Wes Golding. Golding first appeared on the Camp Springs stage in the ’70s as a teenager with the Shenandoah Cut-Ups, which included the late Hershel Sizemore, Clarence “Tater” Tate, John Palmer, and Billy Edwards. He returned several years later to perform with Skaggs, Terry Baucom, Jerry Douglas, and Steve Bryant in the ground-breaking group, Boone Creek. 

For the whole article, go here – https://bluegrasstoday.com/ricky-skaggs-returns-to-camp-springs-for-tony-rice-memorial-music-fest/