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Be specific... Ricky Skaggs on "bluegrass hair"

Ricky SkaggsSkaggs and his lovely, lovely locks, a bluegrass standard.

Earlier today, Ricky Skaggs spoke with Click Track about the importance of holding fast to the traditional elements of bluegrass music. Does that include having really great hair?

Throughout the years, some of the genre's biggest names have proudly flaunted what can only be described as "bluegrass hair." Sometimes long and often pampadour-poofy, "bluegrass hair" has been seen sprouting from some of the most talented heads in the genre, including Jesse McReynolds, Del McCoury, Ralph Stanley, and Marty Stuart.

Here's what Skaggs had to say on the matter.

Why do so many bluegrass stars have such fantastic hair?

Oh my goodness... Well, in the early days, probably one of the reasons people had these great hair-dos -- and long hair -- is that they probably couldn't afford to get it cut! They weren't making enough money to get it cut in the early days. And probably traveling on the road so daggone much, they probably didn't have time, either.

(The "James Madison look" explained, after the jump.)

What about your hair?

Hair is something that comes in and goes out. I've certainly had two, three or four different looks during my career. But I guess it was in 2007 when I felt it was time to grow my hair back out again. So I haven't really cut it since then. Just a trim here and there.

Do people comment on your hair?

I know Mr. Monroe [the late bluegrass icon Bill Monroe] had quite a coif there for many years. When I was working with J.D. Crowe & the New South, Mr. Monroe used to say "That J.D. Crowe and his outfit -- they look like a herd of Shetland ponies!"

Under that hat, Monroe definitely had "bluegrass hair."

His hair was curly in the back and had you pulled it out, it would have come way down on his shoulders. But he had that James Madison look. He always had this dignified look. Maybe if he'd had a shaved head or really short-cut hair, maybe we'd all look like that.

Who had the best hair in the history of bluegrass?

There was a time when Mr. Monroe looked really rad. He had the good looking hair. And he was balding on the top, but he looked like Beethoven. Someone could do a really great caricature or even one of those [portrait busts] of Mr. Monroe, just for the hair. Whether he was holding a mandolin or a maestro's stick, he just had this great hair. And he started a whole genre of music. Would it not have been for Monroe, we wouldn't have bluegrass in the shape that we do today.

By Chris Richards  |  January 8, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Be specific  | Tags: Ricky Skaggs  
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