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Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder

Life's a Journey – 1997 (Atlantic)

Reviewed by George Hauenstein

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CDs by Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder

Ricky Skaggs started out in Ralph Stanley's bluegrass band as a teenager. He's worked in bluegrass bands, toured with Emmylou Harris and himself became a country star, although he's no longer a force on country radio. Now he celebrates releases of a country record and his first bluegrass record in 25 years.

"Life's..." recaptures his trademark sound of the 1980's, when he scored numerous Top 10 country hits. Lots of traditional country here. Lots of great pickin'. Lots of fiddles and steel guitars. Steve Earle's "Hillbilly Highway" is given a nice treatment, as is "Ain't Love a Good Thing," a hit for Connie Smith 20 years ago. With "When Life Hits Hard," Skaggs shows that he can still run with today's Hot New Country artists. The album closes with a wonderful acoustic version of the spiritual, "Voices Singing."