Ralph Stanley At Grand Ole Opry
Ralph Stanley is a bluegrass legend. Stanley was born in Big Spraddle, Virginia and still lives in the Virginia mountains. Stanley's Appalachian homeland is reflected in the mournful mountain songs that have become his signature sound. He also became known as “Dr. Ralph Stanley” after receiving an honorary doctorate in music from Lincoln Memorial University.
Stanley got his start in music performing with his brother Carter. The duo sang and played on local radio stations as The Stanley Brothers before forming a different band, the Clinch Mountain Boys. Carter Stanley passed away in 1966, a tragic loss for his brother. Ralph Stanley carried on playing. Country and bluegrass stars Keith Whitley, Ricky Skaggs, and Larry Sparks all got their start playing in Ralph Stanley's backing band. Stanley and his Clinch Mountain Boys tour frequently, playing about 100 shows each year.
Stanley gained fame with distinctive banjo playing and sadness-tinged songs like “Angel Band,” “Man of Constant Sorrow,” and “Rank Strangers.” Stanley won his first Grammy Award for the a capella version of “O Death” that he recorded for the film O Brother Where Art Thou. Lost in the Lonesome Pines, an album by Stanley, Jim Lauderdale, and the Clinch Mountain Boys won a Grammy for best bluegrass album. Stanley is an inductee of the International Bluegrass Hall of Honor and recipient of several high honors including the Living Legend Award, the National Medal of Arts, and the National Heritage Award. He became an Opry member in 2000, the first person to be inducted in the third millennium. In 2009 Stanley's memoir, "Man of Constant Sorrow", was published.