Thursday, June 23, 2016

Bluegrass Legend Ralph Stanley Has Died at 89

Posted By on Thu, Jun 23, 2016 at 10:00 PM

click to enlarge Ralph Stanley in Richmond. - SCOTT ELMQUIST
  • Scott Elmquist
  • Ralph Stanley in Richmond.

Last time I spoke with Ralph Stanley, he was signing a photo for me that I gave to some friends in California. This was during a benefit concert at the Canal Club that Stanley played for Senator Mark Warner years back, during which Warner danced a jig onstage.

Stanley was elderly but still sharp in person and a mesmerizing presence onstage. His voice high and clear, certain like a weathered stone.

One of the founders of bluegrass and one of the last of the true old-time mountain musician greats of Virginia, he died today (June 23) of complications from skin cancer at the age of 89. He was born in Big Spraddle, Virginia and died at his home in Sandy Ridge, Virginia.

We wrote a brief preview when Stanley performed at the 2012 Richmond Folk Fest, during which he wowed huge crowds, escorted to and from the stage by a golf kart to adoring applause.

For more insight on his legacy, check out this piece by Charles McGrath for the New York Times in 2009. You can also learn more at the Ralph Stanley Museum in Clintwood, Va.

Another true legend of music has passed. Thanks to the Coen Brothers for reintroducing his music to the masses in their 2008 film, "O' Brother Where Are Thou?"

Here is Stanley at the Richmond Folk Fest.



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

Connect with Style Weekly

Studio Blog

  • PREVIEW: A Month Celebrating India at Gallery5

    PREVIEW: A Month Celebrating India at Gallery5

    • Sep 7, 2021
  • Stuff to do this Week

    Stuff to do this Week

    Yes, the Amazing Acro-cats are back in town plus more great bands ...
    • Aug 30, 2021
  • Live Review: Wilco and Sleater-Kinney at Brown’s Island, Wednesday, Aug. 19

    Live Review: Wilco and Sleater-Kinney at Brown’s Island, Wednesday, Aug. 19

    • Aug 23, 2021
  • More »

    Copyright © 2021 Style Weekly
    Richmond's alternative for news, arts, culture and opinion
    All rights reserved
    Powered by Foundation