RALPH STANLEY & FRIENDS, “Man of Constant Sorrow,” Cracker Barrel. 13 tracks.
There are few accolades left to bestow on bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley as he approaches his 88th birthday in February.
After a stint in the U.S. Army, Stanley joined his older brother, Carter, to form the Clinch Mountain Boys in 1946.
That means he’s approaching his 69th anniversary in music.
He’s won three Grammy awards, been inducted into the International Bluegrass Hall of Fame and received the National Heritage Award, the Living Legend Award from the Library of Congress and the National Medal of Arts.
But Cracker Barrel records has found a new way to honor Stanley with a new duets album feature Stanley performing with other artists who are long-time fans.
The list includes Robert Plant joining Stanley on the gospel classic, “Two Coats,” and Elvis Costello singing “Red Wicked Wine” with Stanley.
The other artists are from the country and bluegrass side of the music spectrum.
Josh Turner joins Stanley on an outstanding version of “We Shall Rise,” Dirks Bentley lends his vocals to “I Only Exist” and Lee Ann Womack is featured on “White Dove.”
Other artists include Ricky Skaggs on “We’ll Be Sweethearts in Heaven,” Nathan Stanley (Ralph’s grandson) on “Rank Stranger,” Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale on “I Am The Man, Thomas,” Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings on “Pig in a Pen,” Del McCoury on “Brand New Tennessee Waltz” and Old Crow Medicine Show on “Short Life of Trouble.”
Stanley solos on “Hills of Home,” a recitation he wrote about his brother, Carter, who died in 1966 at age 41, and the classic, “Man of Constant Sorrow.”
A great album — one that Stanley fans will definitely want.
Keith Lawrence, 691-7301, firstname.lastname@example.org