The Bluegrass Legend!

Ralph Stanley, the patriarch of traditional and bluegrass music, has performed continually since 1946 and has become one of the most influential artists of all time. He has recorded over 170 albums, more than 30 albums in over 30 years with Rebel Records. Stanley is one of the last living founders of a distinctly American art form, which blends rural-based lyrics with fluid, jazz-like instrumental improvisations. His music--particularly his high, mournful vocals--is so raw, powerful and authentic that it has moved and inspired performers from all musical genres. Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Dwight Yoakam, Vince Gill, Jerry Garcia, Hal Ketchum, Patty Loveless, John Anderson credit Stanley as a major inspiration.

Born in 1927 in Big Spraddle VA, Ralph Stanley was the second child of Lucy Jane and Lee Stanley. In 1946 along with his older brother Carter Stanley they formed the legendary Stanley Brothers duo. The Stanley Brothers and the Clinch Mountain Boys became one of the most popular brother acts in Country Music history. The Stanley Brothers traveled together for 20 years recording some of the most mournful mountain songs to date.

The Stanley Brothers

Their catalog of songs includes “Angel Band”, "Rank Strangers”, “Little Maggie” and the famed “Man of Constant Sorrow”. Tragedy struck the Stanley Brothers on December 1st 1966 with the untimely passing of 41 year old Carter Stanley. Ralph was disheartened and discouraged with his brother's death but by faith in God and support of his family, friends and fans Ralph Stanley pressed on.

Some of Country and Bluegrass music’s biggest stars came from Ralph Stanley’s band, including Ricky Skaggs, Larry Sparks and the late Keith Whitley. In 1976 Ralph received an honorary doctorate of music from Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, TN. In 1984 Dr. Ralph Stanley was the Recipient of the “National Heritage Award” given by President Ronald Reagan. In 1992 Ralph was inducted into the” International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor”. In 2000 he was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.

In 2002 Ralph Stanley received his first ever Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance of the haunting rendition of “Oh Death” that was featured in the movie and soundtrack of “O Brother Where Art Thou”. In 2006 He received the Living Legend award from the Library of Congress and National medal of arts given by President George W. Bush.

Dr. Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys are still touring a 100 plus dates per year. Stanley continues to live in and draw strength from the country, in his case the remote mountainous region of southwestern Virginia, where he enjoys his time at home with his lovely wife “Jimmi” of nearly 50 years. Dr. Ralph Stanley is not only an American treasure but an international icon.



The Clinch Mountain Boys (Nathan Stanley, Ralph Stanley II, Dewey Brown, Randall Joe Hibbitts , James Alan Shelton, and Mitchell Van Dyke) currently live in scattered communities in the mountains of Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky.  They meet up in Coeburn, where their tour bus is parked and head out on the road.  Their typical work week starts on Wednesday or Thursday and wraps up on Sunday, when they normally head in home for a couple days of well-deserved rest before starting out all over again. (Visit Dr. Ralph Stanley's website for full bios.)

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