Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder performed tonight at Lincoln Center's Appel Room as part of a series entitled American Songbook. As such, the set consisted of songs made famous by the pioneers of bluegrass music, including Bill Monroe, the Stanley Brothers and Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs. Skaggs also performed a few originals, but they were made to sound as old-timey as the core of the set. Skaggs was a fine tenor, intentionally singing without flash or splash, and his impressive mandolin picking was rapid and precise. The members of Kentucky Thunder (fiddler Mike Barnett, banjoist Russ Carson, lead guitarist Jake Workman, rhythm guitarist Paul Brewster, guitarist Dennis Parker, and bassist Scott Mulvahill) kept up mightily with him. Between songs, Skaggs related historical anecdotes about the trailblazers of bluegrass whom he commemorated with this program. Although the view of a congested Central Park South through the picture windows behind him betrayed him, Skaggs performed like it was an impromptu backyard hootenanny, allowing his fellow musicians to shine as much as he did.
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