Country Music hall inductee’s free show part of Miamisburg bicentennial

Recently named Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Ricky Skaggs will give a free performance as part of Miamisburg’s bicentennial celebration in June.

Bicentennial organizers said the appearance by the multiple Grammy Award- and CMA-winner June 20 at Riverfront Park is being presented by Kettering Health Network/Sycamore Medical Center in Miamisburg.

“We’re working with people from the hospital, and it’s a go,” said Miamisburg Mayor Dick Church Jr., who is heading the bicentennial committee.

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Skaggs’ 7:30 p.m. performance is the centerpiece event of an eight-day celebration that will run from June 16-23. Bicentennial organizers are anticipating about 20,000 people, Church said, about 8,000 more than the largest crowd at the park on the Great Miami River in downtown Miamisburg.

“We know we can accommodate 12,000. It’s going to be tight,” he said. “It’s a free show. That’s going to make it more inviting.”

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On March 27, it was announced Skaggs had been elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Being inducted in the modern era artist category, he is joined in that class by the late Dottie West and instrumentalist Johnny Gimble.

Country music star Garth Brooks, who announced the inductions, called Skaggs’ performances, “truly magical,” noting, “chart numbers do not do this man justice.”

Skaggs, 63, is an eight-time CMA award winner and has earned 15 Grammy awards, including seven from 1998 to 2008 with Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder. Those honors including five for best bluegrass album.

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The Kentucky native picked up his first mandolin at the age of 5. By age 10, he had already shared the stage with bluegrass legends, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, according to the country music hall.

In the 1970s he played with Emmylou Harris, and eventually met Keith Whitley, forming a lifelong friendship between the two artists.

Skaggs’ third single “Cryin’ My Heart Out Over You” led to his first CMA win in 1982 for male vocalist of the year, and a few years later, he won the organization’s entertainer of the year award.

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During that stretch, he recorded three consecutive No. 1 country albums with Highways & Heartaches (1982), Don’t Cheat in Our Hometown (1983) and Country Boy (1984).

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