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From a 6-year-old onstage with Bill Monroe to the Country Music Hall of Fame, Ricky Skaggs preaches the country music gospel

ABC RadioInduction into the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is the apex of a country artist’s career. But as the world learned that Ricky Skaggs will be entering the hallowed ranks in 2018, the six-time CMA winner, who was also the 1985 Entertainer of the Year, couldn’t help but go back to his beginnings with the Father of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe.

“I think about when Mr. Monroe pulled me up onstage with him when I was 6 years old…” he recalls. “I remember what a paradigm shift. I mean, it was a defining moment, you know, and I've never forgot that.”

Ricky’s early musical promise panned out: In 1982, he won the Horizon Award -- now New Artist of the Year -- and only Randy Travis and Garth Brooks -- who announced the 2018 class on Tuesday -- have gone on to achieve Hall membership.

Skaggs says his early start only makes him more committed to helping other musicians who are pursuing careers at a young age. And this summer, he’ll take the main stage at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium, to hopefully indoctrinate a whole new generation of country fans.

“Can't hardly wait!” he says excitedly. “I want those kids out there -- we're gonna turn our amps up on 11. That red Telecaster's gonna be blazing. And we'll do 'Honey [(Won’t You Open That Door)]' and we'll do 'Heartbroke' and we'll do 'Highway 40 [Blues].' We'll do all those old hits and we'll throw down some old school country for these kids.”

This year’s CMA Fest is June 7-10 in Music City.

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