Match Made In Harmony
Bruce Hornsby and Ricky Skaggs, two artists with more hit singles, awards, accolades and nods from fans and contemporaries alike, are set to descend upon the stage of The Paramount on Wednesday. While it may seem at first to be a most unusual pairing, it is not as far fetched as it appears.
In the 1980s, country superstar Ricky Skaggs set the bar early on with an impressive string of no. 1 hits including the iconic “Country Boy,” while on the pop charts Bruce Hornsby’s “The Way It Is” became the most-played record of 1987 and sent his debut album multi-platinum.
“Bruce and I met while he was at the top of his game in the pop field and I was at the top of mine in the country field,” recalled Skaggs. “We were on the same bill at a festival in upstate New York and at the end of my show he introduced himself and asked me to sit in for a couple of songs during his set. Fast forward a few years, I find this CD that Bruce had done called ‘Hothouse,’ and on the cover was a caricature of Bill Monroe and Charlie Parker. I just thought, man, what a funny mind to put together this kind of dream band that you know he would have loved to have played with.”
Skaggs was busily gathering artists at that time to perform on a tribute album to the great father of bluegrass, Bill Monroe.
“Bruce was the first guy to say yes. He showed up in the studio and jumped right in with me and my band and it was effortless. I remember listening to the playback in the control room and I turned to him and said, ‘Hey, if you’re ever up for doing a whole record like this, I sure would be as well,’” Skaggs said.
That dream reached fruition with the 2007 CD release, “Bruce Hornsby & Ricky Skaggs,” which led to a subsequent tour.
“Recently, I listened to a number of shows that we had recorded during that time,” Hornsby said. “And I was so excited by the quality and energy of the performances that I sent some roughs to Ricky, who got excited and together we decided to put it out.”
In August, the duo released Cluck Ol’ Hen, a compilation of 21 live cuts from their 2007-2008 tour. Now they have hit the road once again and while the evening set lists may remain more or less intact, the musical arrangements are in a constant state of flux, offering a new and very different experience at every show.
“We’re having a ball,” Skaggs said. “Every night is an adventure. When we’re on stage there is nowhere else that either of us would rather be. The music that we’re making now is music that I honestly believe people will be listening to 50 years from now, and thinking that it was cool enough that they’ll draw some inspiration from it.”
Tickets for The Paramount show are $39.50-$89.50 at the box office, located at 370 New York Ave. in Huntington Village, or go to paramountny.com.