Written by our host Nick Forster:
Ralph was one of the pioneers, an original. His singing and his banjo playing were instantly recognizable, and he had a great sense of humor and a sly grin. He was true to his native Clinch Mountains of Virginia, always preferring to sing with folks who grew up near him. And of course he and his brother Carter defined the classic brother duet.
He played mountain music, not bluegrass since that was more connected to Bill Monroe. His was a voice that made every song – and everyone singing with him – sound true, soulful and timeless.
Tim O’Brien and I wrote a song called Footsteps So Near that Ralph recorded, and that was as high a compliment as we could dream of.
He played a lot of shows and made a lot of people happy in his lifetime! We will miss him!
Stream both of Dr. Stanley’s eTown performances with his band the Clinch Mountain Boys below.