Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder Make Second Clayton Appearance

14-Time GRAMMY Winner to Open Palladian Series at The Clayton Center

The seventh Palladian Series opens on Saturday, Oct. 17, with two shows by bluegrass icon Ricky Skaggs and his band Kentucky Thunder. They will appear at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Known affectionately as bluegrass music’s official ambassador, Skaggs continues to do his part to lead the recent roots revival in music.

Throughout the late 1970s and ’80s, Skaggs’ musical journey led him to enormous success and popularity in the mainstream of country music. In 1982 he was made the youngest member of the Grand Ole Opry, and he counts 12 number one singles on the Billboard Country charts and 12 Top 20 Country albums among his accomplishments.

However, Skaggs career came full circle when he returned to his bluegrass roots and launched his own record label in 1997. Since then, he and his all-star band Kentucky Thunder have recorded 10 consecutive Grammy-nominated classics, including the recent album Honoring The Fathers Of Bluegrass: Tribute To 1946 and 1947. The latest honor for Skaggs and the band is their nomination in the 2009 International Bluegrass Music Association Awards Instrumental Group of the Year category – an award they’ve won eight times since Skaggs’ return to full-time bluegrass 12 years ago.

The Clayton Center appearance brings home Raleigh native and Kentucky Thunder banjo player Jim Mills. Mills is a six-time winner of the IBMA Banjo Player of the Year Award. Other members of Kentucky Thunder are Tennessee fiddle master and 2009 IBMA nominee for Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year Andy Leftwich; lead guitarist and former National Flatpicking Champion Cody Kilby; tenor vocalists and rhythm guitarists Mark Fain and Paul Brewster; and IBMA nominated bassist Darrin Vincent.

Heidi Stump, executive director of The Clayton Center, said, “We are thrilled to welcome Ricky back to Clayton and to start our seventh season off with such a stellar ensemble.”

The Skaggs performance is part of a busy weekend in downtown Clayton. Clayton’s first Oktoberfest is scheduled for October 16-17 from 5-11pm Friday and 11am-11pm Saturday. Also on Saturday, Clayton Visual Arts presents “ArtalaCarte House Walk and Historic Homes Tour” from 10am to 3pm. “Visitors can make an entire day of activity in Clayton,” said Stump, “we hope people will participate in the art walk, attend the Skaggs show and hang out for brats and beverages in our downtown.”

Tickets for Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder are $25 for the 4 p.m. show and $29 for the 8 p.m. show. Season tickets to each of the six shows in the Palladian Series also are available. Season ticket packages are $125.

Tickets may be purchased by phone at 919-553-1737, at The Clayton Center Box Office, 111 E. Second Street in downtown Clayton, from 10 a.m. until noon and from 1 until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or online at

The Clayton Center also will offer a special Sunday afternoon family event – The Spencers: Theatre of Illusion – on Nov. 15. Tickets are $15 adults, $12 children 12 and under, and $50 for a family four pack.

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