Bluegrass stalwart still pickin' strings (Updated December 26, 2012)
Ralph Stanley has been playing the banjo longer than most people reading this have been alive. The bluegrass stalwart, inspired by his Virginia mountain home, is famous for the clawhammer style of picking that he and his older brother Carter became known for. But it was Ralph who carried on in the wake of his brother's death and made a name for himself in the music industry.
Ralph got his first banjo when he was just a teenager, and together with Carter performed as The Stanley Brothers (with their band, the Clinch Mountain Boys). They drew heavily on the musical traditions of their area, and with the support of the community became popular on several local radio stations and had a run on TV station WCYB as part of the show "Farm and Fun Time."
All told, Ralph and Carter blazed a trail through four major labels, including Columbia, Mercury, Starday and King. But when Carter died in a Virginia hospital after a steady decline in health, Ralph carried on with haunting melodies and vocals and became popular at bluegrass festivals around the country. He also served as an inspiration to many artists, including Dwight Yoakam, Emmylou Harris, the late Keith Whitley and Ricky Skaggs.
Ralph Stanley is credited on at least 11 albums, and his music has also been featured in films like 2000's "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" and in the TV series "In the Heat of the Night." In 2012, he was featured on several tracks for the movie "Lawless."
Among his awards and honors, Stanley was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor in 1992 and 2000, and became the first person inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in the third millennium. He still maintains an extensive touring schedule, including upcoming dates in 2013. One of those stops will include the 43rd Annual Memorial Bluegrass Festival at Hills of Home Park in Coeburn, Virginia on May 23-25.
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Past 12 Months
date city state venue 2/27/2015 Nashville TN Grand Ole Opry House 2/28/2015 Nashville TN Grand Ole Opry House 3/7/2015 Florence SC Florence Civic Center 4/18/2015 Little Rock AR Juanita's 5/2/2015 Alexandria VA Birchmere Music Hall 5/28/2015 Knoxville TN The International 5/29/2015 Newport KY Thompson House 7/11/2015 Nashville TN Grand Ole Opry House
date city state venue 1/10/2014 Minneapolis MN Cedar Cultural Center 1/11/2014 Chicago IL Old Town School of Folk Music 1/29/2014 Tucson AZ Fox Tucson Theatre 1/30/2014 Santa Fe NM Lensic Performing Arts Center 1/31/2014 Boulder CO Boulder Theater 3/1/2014 Nashville TN Grand Ole Opry House 3/29/2014 Bethesda MD Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club 4/26/2014 Wilkesboro NC Wilkes Community College 5/9/2014 Knoxville TN Bijou Theatre 5/17/2014 Nashville IN Explore Brown County 6/6/2014 Florence KY Turfway Park 6/7/2014 Kent OH The Kent Stage 8/28/2014 New York NY City Winery 9/6/2014 Prestonsburg KY Mountain Arts Center 9/9/2014 Bolivia NC Odell Williamson Auditorium 9/20/2014 Lenoir NC J.E. Broyhill Civic Center 9/28/2014 Alexandria VA Birchmere Music Hall 10/3/2014 San Francisco CA Golden Gate Park 10/5/2014 San Francisco CA Golden Gate Park 10/13/2014 Nashville TN City Winery Nashville 10/14/2014 Nashville TN City Winery Nashville 10/19/2014 Decatur GA Eddie's Attic 10/31/2014 Shipshewana IN Blue Gate Theater 11/1/2014 Shipshewana IN Blue Gate Theater 11/15/2014 Hamden CT Unitarian Society of New Haven 11/22/2014 Germantown TN Germantown Performing Arts Center
date city state venue 1/23/2013 Vienna VA Wolf Trap 3/8/2013 Nashville TN Grand Ole Opry House 5/11/2013 Nashville TN Grand Ole Opry House 7/11/2013 Nashville TN Ryman Auditorium 7/26/2013 Morgantown IN Bill Monroe Music Park 8/17/2013 Florence KY Turfway Park 9/21/2013 Morgantown IN Bill Monroe Music Park 9/27/2013 Nashville TN Grand Ole Opry House 10/4/2013 San Francisco CA Golden Gate Park 10/18/2013 Rocky Mount NC Dunn Center For The Performing Arts 10/20/2013 Alexandria VA Birchmere Music Hall 10/21/2013 Carrboro NC The ArtsCenter 11/2/2013 Milwaukee WI Pabst Theater 11/3/2013 Bristol TN Machiavelli's 12/6/2013 Virginia Beach VA The Jewish Mother
date city state venue 1/6/2012 Nashville TN Ryman Auditorium 2/12/2012 New York NY B.B. King Blues Club & Grill 4/27/2012 Indio CA Empire Polo Club 5/18/2012 Atlanta GA The Loft 6/2/2012 Nashville TN Grand Ole Opry House 6/20/2012 Austin TX Emo's East 7/26/2012 Saint Louis MO Old Rock House 7/27/2012 Lyons CO Planet Bluegrass 10/19/2012 West Lafayette IN Jester's 10/21/2012 Kent OH The Kent Stage 10/26/2012 Nashville TN Grand Ole Opry House 10/27/2012 McMinnville TN Cumberland Caverns 11/3/2012 Mansfield OH Renaissance Theatre 11/10/2012 Phoenixville PA Colonial Theatre Phoenixville 11/11/2012 New York NY City Winery
date city state venue 4/15/2011 Milwaukee WI Pabst Theater 5/6/2011 Peekskill NY Paramount Hudson Valley 5/9/2011 Suffolk VA Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts 10/8/2011 Ponte Vedra Beach FL Ponte Vedra Concert Hall
date city state venue 9/30/2010 Berkeley CA Freight & Salvage 10/20/2010 New York NY Beacon Theatre 11/6/2010 Lebanon NH Lebanon Opera House 11/7/2010 New York NY B.B. King Blues Club & Grill