With each passing year, I look around and find fewer of my musical heroes still contributing to the great America music legacy.
I am honored to call Dr. Ralph Stanley a friend and to have produced and recorded with him.
When I heard he had brought together a new project for Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® with Red River Entertainment and Bob Frank Distribution, I just couldn’t wait to share the news.
“Man of Constant Sorrow” combine the three-time GRAMMY Award winner on songs with other performers who I am sure lined up for the chance to support him in the effort: Dierks Bentley, Elvis Costello, Del McCoury, Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale, Old Crow Medicine Show, Robert Plant, Ricky Skaggs, Nathan Stanley, Josh Turner, Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings and Lee Ann Womack, while also performing two solo songs. Ronnie McCoury and Womack’s daughter, Aubrie Sellers, also appear on the album, along with Stanley’s band The Clinch Mountain Boys. The 87-year old International Bluegrass Hall of Honor inductee recorded the album in Nashville with Miller and Lauderdale as producers.
“I’ve always enjoyed singing with other artists,” said Stanley. “Everyone who joined me on this record did a fine job. I think this will be a project that my fans will really enjoy.”
Among the titles are “We Shall Rise,” “I Only Exist,” “We’ll Be Sweethearts in Heaven,” “Rank Stranger,” “I Am the Man, Thomas,” “White Dove,” “Red Wicked Wine,” “Pig in a Pen,” “Two Coats,” “Brand New Tennessee Waltz,” “Short Life of Trouble,” “Hills of Home,” and “Man of Constant Sorrow.”
“Cracker Barrel is delighted to bring Dr. Ralph Stanley and Friends’ CD, Man of Constant Sorrow, to our guests,” said Cracker Barrel Marketing Manager Julie Craig. “The performances are wonderful, the music is timeless and the project is a great addition to our exclusive music program. We know our guests will look forward to discovering this album.”
When I was a boy, the sounds of Carter and Ralph Stanley – The Stanley Brothers of Virginia still dominated the bluegrass scene despite the passing of Carter in 1966. Ralph continued the tradition as a solo artist.
Through the years, he helped mentor several future bluegrass and country music artists who performed in his band before embarking on solo careers, including Ricky Skaggs, Larry Sparks and Keith Whitley.
In 1976, Stanley received an honorary doctorate from Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tenn., and he has been known as “Dr. Ralph Stanley” ever since. Yale University gave him a second honorary Doctorate of Music degree in 2014.
President Ronald Reagan presented him with the National Heritage Award in 1984, elected into the International Bluegrass Hall of Honor in 1992 and inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2000. His performance of “O Death,” featured in the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?,” earned him his first GRAMMY Award in 2001 for Best Male Country Vocal Performance. The soundtrack album for that movie also earned Stanley both a GRAMMY Award and a CMA Award for Album of the Year.
He received the Living Legend Award from the Library of Congress and the National Medal of Arts from President George W. Bush and was elected as a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2014.
He released his autobiography, Man of Constant Sorrow in 2009. His CD is now available exclusively at Cracker Barrel and online at crackerbarrel.com for $11.99. The digital album also will be available for purchase at select digital retailers. For more information, visit www.Dr.RalphStanleyMusic.com.