“Son, you’re getting way above your raisin,’” is one allegation that no country-grown child wants thrown at them.
And in Ricky Skaggs’ music video for “Country Boy” he’s fighting against that same accusation, after he grows up and moves to New York City to pursue his career. In the opening scenes, Ricky is kicked back in his high-rise office, wearing a nice three-piece suit, and taking a phone call from a client when his Uncle Pen shows up to check things out.
Mind you, “Uncle Pen” is played by none other than Bill Monroe, The Father of Bluegrass.
Bill was a huge fan of Ricky Skaggs and watched him grow up, even later (quite literally) handing down his mandolin to Ricky who he felt certain was the next big thing in the genre.
In the video, Uncle Pen is rather disappointed in Ricky’s decision to move to the big city and away from his more modest upbringings, and Ricky sets out on a venture around the city to prove to Pen that he’s still just “a country boy at heart.”
And with a little help from the New York pedestrians and subway riders, he manages to prove that fact to Uncle Pen by teaching some buck dancing steps to street dancers, and even creating a country harmony on the streetcar.
The video, released in 1985, even features the Big Apple’s then-Mayor, Ed Koch, as a taxi driver who can’t help but sing along to the song’s tagline – even though he’s the farthest thing from “country at heart.”
This video pulled out all the stops for entertainment, and it was so expertly made that it even received a nomination for Music Video of the Year at the CMAs, barely being edged out by Hank Williams Jr’s “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight.”
Not only is this a great production, but the song is so catchy it’s really no wonder it scored Ricky his ninth number one on the country charts.
A search for country’s best music video would be remiss if it didn’t include this one. The video even features Ricky playing a few of the five instruments he mastered throughout his career, including the banjo and guitar.