Ralph Stanley : February 25, 1927 – June 23, 2016


The worlds of bluegrass, country and roots music lost one of its patriarchs this week:  Ralph Stanley died in his sleep at age 89 Thursday night.

Among other things, Stanley was a master of a style of banjo playing which came to be called the “Stanley style”, which differed from both the Scruggs style or strict claw-hammer style.  He also enjoyed a career resurgence after being featured in the film O Brother, Where Art Thou singing the gospel song “O Death” in the style of the Appalachian Primitive Baptist Universalist church.

Jonathan Bernstien has written a in-depth tribute in American Songwriter.

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