Garth Brooks, Dierks Bentley, and Chris Stapleton turned out to induct Ricky Skaggs into the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum Sunday in Nashville.
The reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year started the tribute to Skaggs in the Hall’s CMA Theater, singing Ricky’s #1 from 1983, “Highway 40 Blues.” Dierks performed the honoree’s subsequent single, the #2 hit, “You’ve Got a Lover.”
Ricky mouthed the words “Oh my god,” as fellow Kentuckian -- and three-time CMA Male Vocalist of the Year -- Chris Stapleton surprised him to sing the bluegrass classic, “The Darkest Hour Is Just Before Dawn,” a song he recorded will Emmylou Harris.
It was Garth himself who inducted Ricky into the Hall, recalling how a friend questioned whether Skaggs was more “country” or “bluegrass.”
"I said, 'Are you kidding me?... Any man who'll step up the mic and say "If you're gonna cheat on me, don't cheat in our hometown" -- People, that's countrier than a biscuit right there!'" Garth recalled, as the crowd roared with laughter.
It was one of the museum’s priceless treasures that stole the show, however, as the Hall brought out Bill Monroe’s irreplaceable mandolin for Ricky to play the traditional closing number, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.”
Ricky first played the Father of Bluegrass’s instrument when he was a six-year-old musical prodigy, and years later promised Monroe he’d keep the art form he’d created alive. As Ricky closed the ceremony playing his famed mandolin, there was no doubt he’d made good on his vow.
Larry Gatlin, Steve Wariner, Jeannie Seely and Brenda Lee helped usher the late Dottie West into the Hall’s hallowed ranks, with her daughter -- and fellow country star -- Shelly West accepting the honor with her siblings.
Famed fiddle player Johnny Gimble was inducted into the Hall as well.
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