Nashville, Tenn – June 30th, 2008 – Sugar Hill Records is set to release two new titles as part of their Americana Master Series. Ricky Skaggs: Best of the Sugar Hill Years and Doc Watson: Best of the Sugar Hill Years will both hit the streets on July 8th, 2008. Researched and compiled from each artist’s body of work on the label, these tracks were culled from radio chart toppers, fan mail, downloads, and songs and tunes that are recurrent favorites at live performances.
Doc Watson has been an iconic influence on every acoustic guitar player that has come in his wake. A recipient of the National Heritage Award and the National Medal of Arts, Watson’s contribution to the American folk idiom is immeasurable. For the Americana Master Series, Watson’s Sugar Hill releases – which span over 40 years from 1960 through 2006 – were meticulously combed for the best representation of both the virtuosity that embodies his work, as well as its breadth.
From bluegrass selections that exemplify the flat-picking that has become Watson’s calling card to gospel and traditional tunes featuring his soulful vocals, the collection draws upon solo work as well as duets with son Merle and collaborations with Bryan Sutton and Marty Stuart. Also included are tunes featuring the guitarist on banjo and slide guitar, demonstrating the icon’s virtuosity and deep connection to Appalachian roots music.
By the time Ricky Skaggs launched his solo career on Sugar Hill in 1979, he’d already amassed a resume that most retirees would envy. He’d been a member of Ralph Stanley’s Clinch Mountain Boys and the legendary Country Gentlemen. He’d made vital recordings with his friend and collaborator Keith Whitley. He’d been in Emmylou Harris’s Hot Band, and he’d been part of the pioneering neo-bluegrass band Boone Creek, whose album One Way Track had in fact been Sugar Hill’s first release as a label.
For all he did to bring roots to country, this collection is basted in bluegrass, a hand-picked anthology of the hand-picked music of Skaggs in his early years. Classics like “I’ll Stay Around” and “Little Cabin Home On The Hill” from Sweet Temptation show an artist who had internalized the sound and tone of the founding fathers, while Tony Rice’s guitar solos introduce overtones of innovation. With the string of Grammy-winning discs since, he’s returned to the form and function of his Sugar Hill years. He’s always been ahead of the curve with yesterday’s sounds, and you can hear why in these cuts.