Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder

Thunder & Lightnin' at Brevard Center

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Photos by Chuck Gilmore

It was an incredible show in a beautiful, open-air auditorium nestled in the woods outside of Brevard, NC.

Ricky Skaggs fired up the mountain with his mandolin and some good ole “pickin-and-grinnin” at the Brevard Music Center. Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this open air auditorium stage lit up with Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, bringing beloved classic bluegrass to an area where it is strongly rooted. Skaggs gave fond tribute to Doc Watson as his favorite NC artist by playing a Watson tune.

Feet were tapping…. itching to get up and “flog the ground” with mountain clogging as the sound of strings filled the night air.

In the second half of the show Skaggs was accompanied by the Brevard Summer Institute’s Sinfonia, their all-college-student symphony orchestra. He shared his love of Celtic music—bluegrass’ grandparent—with student flutist Sabrina Bounds on “Road to Spencer” that astonished the audience. Later, Skaggs delivered the powerful, uplifting sound of the shofar as they did “Soldier of the Cross.” That, along with his rendition of Tom Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle,” both with the full orchestra, were simply soul touching, definite highlights of the evening.

The finale brought more rousing old- time classics which, paired with the emotion of the classical strings behind the band, gave way to an exhilarating North Carolina mountain thunder. A stirring night of music in a perfect setting.

—Nancy Hutchins

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