August 30, 2013

Ricky Skaggs looks back on legendary music career

Guests: Ricky Skaggs

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," August 30, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

TUCKER CARLSON, GUEST HOST: Welcome back to "Hannity." When it comes to country music legends, the name Ricky Skaggs is at the very top of the list, having entertained fans with his traditional blue grass sound for nearly 50 years. Sean recently sat down with a Grammy Award winner to talk about the biography and his latest album. Take a look.


RICKY SKAGGS, "KENTUCKY TRAVELER" AUTHOR: Doing great, thank you, Sean.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: So, you've had what, 14 Grammy time, 12 number one hits in your career. You know, come on. This is big stuff. You're still out there traveling. How many days a year?

SKAGGS: It's 8,200. When the economy tanked a few years ago, it's been a lot harder and, but you know we're glad far work and we love playing still. I've got a great band, Kentucky thunder. They're unbelievable. They're on that record, but we still go out to the friends and because they love it. You know, it's harder to see mom and dad bring the kids out than it was a few years ago. The economy, people can say it's going to get better, but it's not right now.

HANNITY: You would see it first because that's the entertainment income. It's hard to even take a family to a baseball game. You buy four or five tickets. Get some popcorn, a beer for the dad, cokes for the kids.

SKAGGS: It's 150, 200 bucks. People can't spend that kind of money.

HANNITY: So, 3 years old, your dad noticed you harmonizing with your mother. Was this a gift you were born with?

SKAGGS: I think it was. I believe with all my heart, those scripture says that God give gifts unto man and I think I got a great to play and sing music. He bought me a mandolin five years old.

HANNITY: Bruce Hornsby.

SKAGGS: We do that on the road a lot. He knew that I had talent, my dad did, he bought that mandolin for me. Six years old got to play with my hero Bill Monroe, seven played on a television show you can find on YouTube, amazing.

CARLSON: The family moved to Nashville when you were what, seven?

SKAGGS: Yes, dad was trying to get me on the grand old Opry as a youngster. I got on 30 years ago and celebrated my 30th year last year, being a member.

HANNITY: I always like to ask musicians because I'm a big music fan, fan of yours many years.

SKAGGS: Thank you.

HANNITY: I always wonder how does a song come to you because some people go out and set out to write a song. Other people wake up in the middle of the night and it writes itself.

SKAGGS: People are gifted as a song writer. They get songs at different times. My friend Gordon Kennedy wrote change the world for Eric Clapton, he and a friend were talking one time, and the guy said Gordon, didn't your dad record return to sender with Elvis? He said no, but I think I want that on my tombstone. And that, that quick, he wrote a song called return to sender. I recorded it on a CD called mosaic. Bob Neil is a great song writer, he used to go 9:00 to 5:00, go in, write to lunchtime, may finish a song, may not, close it up, go home.

HANNITY: Everyone has different extremes. You have done your own and other people's material.

SKAGGS: I have. I love finding a song I believe in that fits my heart, faith, beliefs.

HANNITY: Looking at the younger, most artists today don't write. One thing my daughter went to a Taylor Swift concert. Do you know her?


HANNITY: Everyone says she's wonderful.

SKAGGS: I think she's a sweet girl.

HANNITY: Doesn't seem like the business is corrupting her at this point. It can corrupt. I am sure you have seen many train wrecks over the years. I like that she writes her own stuff.

SKAGGS: I do, too. I think God made us all to be originals, not copies. I think it is great when people can be an original and write what's in their heart, write their feelings down. I think she has been great for that.

HANNITY: Let's talk about "Kentucky Traveler, My Life in Music." Life on the road is harder than people think.

SKAGGS: It is, but I started young. Ralph Stanley was the first artist I went on the road with when I was 15. Met Ralph, started traveling on the road with him.

HANNITY: Didn't have any wild days on the road? You write you were saved when you were 13. Straight and narrow from that point forward?

SKAGGS: No, took time to understand what I have done and what God really meant to my life, what Christ meant. So you know, it took a divorce and a lot of heartache and a lot of tears.

HANNITY: What happens when you spin a country LP backwards?

SKAGGS: I didn't get my ex-wife back, you know, but a lot of people --

HANNITY: One of the things I think people don't know, is you're on the road going city to city to city, you live in this bus, down time, women throwing themselves at you, by the way, doesn't happen in this business, but there's a lot of temptation on the road.

SKAGGS: There is. But I tell you, I have a great band, great bunch of guys, I feel like they all hold me accountable, which is great, and I think it is a three strand cord that's hardly broken. I encourage kids that are Christians trying to get out in music, doesn't matter if it is marketplace music or in the church, don't go out there by yourself. Get two other people that's like minded, pray together, read the scripture together, be accountable to each other. That's important.

HANNITY: Being accountable, they see you getting in trouble, they go --

SKAGGS: Right, conversation, put their arm around you --

HANNITY: Say, let's go. It is an honor to meet you.

SKAGGS: Thank you.

HANNITY: You're one of the great guys in music. Appreciate you coming in.

SKAGGS: Thanks so much for having me.


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