Andrew Skaggs is 34. His age was untrue in an earlier version the this story; it has been updated.

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Bluegrass and also country star Ricky Skaggs spent some of the most daunting days of his life in In respectable 1986, his 7-year-old son, Andrew, had been shot in the face, the victim that a drug-fueled, sleep-deprived long-haul truck driver’s road rage on interstate 81, close to Daleville.

Twenty-seven years later, his boy is doing relatively well. And also Skaggs has discovered himself commonly reliving the time top top a publication signing tourism to assistance his autobiography, “Kentucky Traveler: my Life in Music.”

His tour quit on Wednesday in ~ the Valley check out Mall Barnes & Noble. In one interview just prior to the signing, he noted that he had actually been simply 40 minutes outside when a radio interviewer inquiry him around the shooting and also its lessons.

“It was tough to talk around again in this book and also kind that relive all that stuff again, and also just because that him to need to dredge that earlier up again when he reads it,” the 59-year-old Skaggs said. “It was a hard time, but he taught me a real lesson in forgiveness.”

As his son received treatment and also surgeries in ~ Carilion Memorial Hospital, Skaggs was managing some deep anger. Yet Andrew, v a sentence, collection his father at ease.

Skaggs writes the Andrew told him: “Daddy, we must pray for that man, and also we need to forgive him, too, ‘cause he doesn’t have actually Jesus in his heart.”

Andrew Skaggs is 34, married with two sons and also lives in Kentucky. In ~ 15, that was involved in a near fatal vehicle crash in i beg your pardon he shed his bile bladder and spleen, v a resulting immune device weakness that resulted in a close to fatal situation of dual pneumonia when he was 21.

During that mid-1980s stay in, Skaggs was atop the nation music world, having scored struggle after fight — “Heartbroke ,” “Don’t Get above Your Raisin’, ” “Don’t Cheat In our Hometown ,” “Honey (Open that Door)” and also “Highway 40 Blues ” conquered radio and also sales charts. And he had actually won lot of Grammy Awards.

But uneven a lot of performers whose shelf life is up, Skaggs found brand-new life by return to bluegrass. And also just together he to be close come the site of a darker thing of his life top top Wednesday, the Nashville, Tenn., resident to be also relatively near the Southwest Virginia house of bluegrass symbol Ralph Stanley , who gave a start to the young Skaggs and his then-singing partner, the late Keith Whitley .

The pair’s harmonies reminded Stanley and others that the method that brothers Ralph and the so late Carter Stanley offered to song together. Both Skaggs and Whitley would ride the bluegrass train come Nashville and more comprehensive commercial success. The book includes lot of of Skaggs’ accounts of his connection Ralph Stanley, who newly announced his bye tour.

Last time Skaggs saw his mentor was a pair of years ago at a Stanley performance southern of Nashville.

“You want to gain up and sing one through me?” he remembered Stanley asking. Skaggs did, of course, and also found himself “waiting, prefer I did once I was 16 years old, sitting backstage wait for Ralph to speak to me out.”

“It was hard to watch him acquiring so old,” Skaggs said. “But Doc went residence last year, and also Earl went home last year, Mr. Monroe in ’96. Therefore I had actually to redo mine book, like, three different times as I was creating it, due to the fact that those … guys plus Levon Helm died too, and also he to be a friend, and I play some with him.”

“It ain’t the nation music I flourished up with, I know that,” he said. “And I’m certain the nation music ns was play in the "80s no the nation music that George Jones and also Webb Pierce and Ray Price to be singing once they pertained to Nashville. Ns think there’s always a young slant, and they’re sort of adding their part to it.

“But at least with what ns was doing, ns was going earlier to the old well and also trying to lug bluegrass into traditional country music. It wasn’t choose I was trying to execute a new country music sound and also just forgetting Webb Pierce and also George Jones and Flatt & Scruggs and also those guys. Ns was trying come mesh the 2 together.”

What that is hearing now is kids that prospered up listening come rock and pop music, an “American Idol”-style that country.

“But boy, i tell you, i am no going to thrash ’em,” that said. “I’m not going come speak okay of them. I want to be their friend and I desire to be there if they need me for any reason.”

Hunter Hayes — a multi-instrumentalist like Skaggs — has been among a couple of newer nation acts that have actually approached him for advice.

“I still care about being an affect to young kids,” the said. “I feel like if I deserve to influence lock musically, v the talent that ns have, maybe I deserve to kind of assist them in their an individual lives together well, their spiritual lives, due to the fact that they need to gain that right, too.”


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