Bluegrass Legend Ralph Stanley Dies at 89

Ralph Stanley, legendary bluegrass pioneer, died at his home in Sandy Ridge, Va., in June after a battle with skin cancer.

Ralph Stanley began performing music with his brother Carter in 1946 with their band The Clinch Mountain Boys. The band became a centerpiece of the bluegrass movement of the ‘50s and ‘60s by performing original hits and covers of traditional songs like “Man of Constant Sorrow.”

Over the next five decades, Ralph Stanley played banjo and sang with his unmistakable mountain style. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from Lincoln Memorial University in 1976, joined the Grand Ole Opry in 2000, and won a Grammy Award in 2002. After contributing to the soundtrack for “O, Brother Where Art Thou” in 2000, the power of his music was recognized by a new generation of listeners.

— Savannah Clemmons

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