Born to bluegrass (he played mandolin on stage with Bill Monroe at the age of six and was in Ralph Stanley’s band in his mid-teens), Ricky Skaggs went mainstream country in the 80s and became a major force in the New Traditionalist movement. In the 90s, though, he returned to bluegrass full time, leaving behind an astonishing, near- decade-long dominance of the country charts. In transitioning 14 of his country monsters (including ten #1 singles) into a bluegrass framework fashioned by his awesome Kentucky Thunder band with a few guests (notably The Whites) in Country Hits Bluegrass Style, Skaggs emphasizes how close he remained to bluegrass even as a country superstar back in the day. Sculpting his usual clean, crisp ensemble sound and close-miking his vocals, Skaggs incorporates steel guitar into his scheme—Paul Franklin’s steel tears heighten the heartbreak in Skaggs’s plaintive mountain voice in “You’ve Got a Lover”—and retains the Cajun accordion that makes “Cajun Moon” one of the most delightful, upbeat love songs in his entire catalogue. Only the stirring, string-enhanced spiritual testimony of “Somebody’s Prayin’,” which closes the album, fully breaks the bluegrass mold, but closing on a gospel note is bluegrass style. Ricky makes all the right moves.