Skaggs launched his own country career in 1980, achieving 12 #1 hits, 8 CMA awards, and 8 ACM awards. In 1982, he became a member of the Grand Ole Opry, the youngest to ever be inducted at that time. Guitarist and producer Chet Atkins credited Skaggs with “single-handedly” saving country music. In the 1990s and 2000s, Skaggs went back to his bluegrass roots, and also experimented with new sounds. With his band,Kentucky Thunder, he is a perennial winner of Grammy Awards and International Bluegrass Music Association for best bluegrass album.

If any contemporary country star seemed born to be a Grand Ole Opry member, it was Patty Loveless. Growing up as one of seven children born to a Kentucky coal miner, Patty has distinct memories of singing along to the Opry on Friday and Saturday nights — at age 3 — while her mom mopped floors. As she became a teenager, her brother was working for Porter Wagoner, who recognized Patty’s tremendous voice, as did Dolly Parton.

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