Ricky Skaggs has been entertaining audiences since he was a small child. As a musical prodigy, the bluegrass singer sat in with stars Earl Scruggs and Bill Monroe, playing the mandolin on country-music variety shows at the tender age of seven. He later went on to become one of the most influential country stars of the 1980s. Today, Skaggs is considered a country music legend.
The 14-time Grammy Award winner recently made an appearance at the Barnes & Noble at Vanderbilt bookstore to sign copies of his new memoir, Kentucky Traveler: My Life in Music. Over 200 fans, friends and family filled the Nashville store to celebrate the publication of the singer’s autobiography. A long-time fan of country music, Tradebook Manager Cheryl Dalton was especially thrilled to meet and work with the star. “Mr. Skaggs lives on the outskirts of Nashville, so this felt like we had ‘one of our own’ in the store,” she said.
The event began with an hour-long live broadcast on WSM-AM radio. DJ and music historian Eddie Stubbs, from the Grand Ole Opry, interviewed Skaggs, who has been an Opry member since 1982. Melissa Foster and her mother, Anne, of the Foster Family bluegrass group, serenaded fans while they waited in line to meet the country star. “This was such a wonderful and entertaining event,” said Dalton. “Mr. Skaggs is such a warm and genuine person. We’ve had a lot of big name authors and performers visit our store, but working with him was truly a delight.”
Skaggs wrote his memoir with Eddie Dean, who co-authored Ralph Stanley’s 2009 autobiography, Man of Constant Sorrow: My Life and Times. “It’s a great America story as well about faith, family and music – and how those three things really shaped my life and kind of made me who I am,” said Skaggs at the book signing.
With connections to the local Nashville music industry, Barnes & Noble at Vanderbilt bookstore Communications Manager John Lasiter caught wind of Skaggs’ upcoming book and quickly reached out to the singer’s management to request a book signing at the store. “John was such a huge part of this event,” praised Dalton. “It would never have happened without him – and we’re so happy that it did. It was such a successful and fun event, one that many will remember for a long time.”
Dalton, whose bookselling career dates back to 1983, has seen the industry change over the years. “I’ve been in the book business for a very long time,” she said. “Bookselling is so wonderful – it offers the opportunity to meet so many interesting and talented people, like Mr. Skaggs. It’s just another reason why bookstores are still so relevant and important. You can’t get this kind of experience online.”