Ralph Stanley

Essential Albums

Artist Playlists

Singles & EPs

Appears On

About Ralph Stanley

While he preferred the term "mountain music" to "bluegrass," Ralph Stanley ranked second only to Bill Monroe in importance in the genre. A pioneering clawhammer banjoist and riveting singer, Stanley shot to prominence with his brother Carter and the Clinch Mountain Boys in the '40s and '50s. After Carter's death in 1966, Ralph soldiered on, riding waves of popularity in the '60s folk revival and the '70s bluegrass festival scene. In 2000, his a cappella rendering of "O Death" became the musical centerpiece of the Coen brothers' O Brother, Where Art Thou? film and earned Stanley his biggest sales. A devoutly religious man, he recorded many sacred albums throughout his career. The Stanley Brothers were inducted into the International Bluegrass Hall of Fame in 1992. ~ Patrick Sullivan

Stratton, VA, United States of America
February 25, 1927