Richie Phillips recently wrote an article about the first concert that he ever introduced as an air talent on WGNA. The featured headliner that night was Randy Travis with an up and coming artist by the name of Ricky Van Shelton opening the show.  So, whatever happened to Ricky?

After becoming one of the biggest acts in Country Music in the late '80s, Ricky Van Shelton retired from touring and recording in 2006.  In a statement on his website, Ricky posted the following message "There are several reasons for this decision, some of them very personal. But I want to assure each of you that Bettye and I are in good health and still love music and everything it stands for. Music will always be a part of my life. But we have decided that at this time, we need to be close to our families. As many of you know, most of our family is in Virginia. We’ve been away from what we have always called home for the past 20 years."

In 1986, Ricky Van Shelton signed a deal with CBS records and worked his way to the hearts of traditional Country Music fans with hits like 'Somebody Lied' 'Life Turned Her That Way' and 'I'll Leave This World Loving You.'  17 of his singles hit the Top 10 on the Billboard Country Charts while the CMA named him the Horizon Award winner in 1988 and Male Vocalist of the Year in 1989.

Ricky's easy going country boy charm and smooth low voice was a refreshing sound for fans of traditional Country Music. The Virginia native was also known for turning forgotten classics into modern hits. For example, Roger Miller's 'Don't We All Have The Right,' Ned Miller's 'From A Jack To A King,' Jack Greene's 'Statue Of A Fool,' Little Jimmy Dicken's 'Hole in My Pocket,' and Charlie Rich's 'Life's Little Ups and Down' all came back to life on Country Radio.

I've selected two of my favorite Ricky Van Shelton songs to help you remember his amazing career, or for some of you to discover his music for the first time. The first video is a 1991 duet with Dolly Parton on the song 'Rockin' Years.'  The second is 'Keep It Between The Lines,' another number one hit from 1991.