Bluegrass Music Patriarch Dr. Ralph Stanley Old Time Appalachian Mountain Music Legend
February 25th, 1927 June 23rd, 2016
Grand Ole Opry Member, Grammy Award Winner, Bluegrass Legend
When legends come to mind there is one star that shines above them all that is none other than the legendary icon Dr. Ralph Stanley. For over 6 decades he has become one of the most influential artists of all time. 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.
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.
The Museum provides background of Ralph Stanley’s upbringing in the local mountain churches where traditional mountain music was based on shape note harmonies with no instruments. The Museum walks you through the life of Ralph and his brother as they built a career based on the Bluegrass mountain tunes and musical harmonies captured in the #Heart of Appalachia region.
Exhibits in the Museum are enhanced by head phones that plug into a variety of listening stations, allowing the visitor to hear interviews of band members, famous Bluegrass and Country Music Stars, and recordings of Stanley’s music. The history of the Clinch River Boys and Stanley’s rise to national and international stardom is preserved and interpreted in the Museum.
To learn about the Ralph Stanley Museum in Clintwood, Virginia. http://drralphstanleymusic.com/index.htm
To plan your visit to the Museum, other attractions and to visit music venue performances of traditional mountain music in the region, click here.
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