Bluegrass Legend Dr. Ralph Stanley Has Passed Away At Age 89

first_imgLegendary bluegrass musician Dr. Ralph Stanley passed away on June 23rd, at the age of 89. The banjoist played professionally for 70 years, beginning his career in 1946 and playing regularly until his death. He passed away after a long battle with skin cancer.Dr. Ralph Stanley formed one of the first well-known bluegrass bands, the Clinch Mountain Boys, in 1946. They started out playing Bill Monroe songs, before eventually writing their own original music. Along with his brother Carter Stanley, the band continued to see a rise in popularity and eventually caught a record company. Unfortunately, Carter passed away in 1966 from complications from cirrhosis, leaving Ralph to decide whether to perform by himself. When fans urged him to continue, he did.Nearly anyone familiar with the bluegrass genre knows Stanley’s signature banjo playing style, as the man continued to carry on the earliest folk traditions for his entire life. He was awarded a honorary doctorate from Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, TN, and has been inducted into the Bluegrass and Grand Ole Opry Hall of Fames. His version of ‘O Death’ was also used in the movie O Brother Where Art Thou.Rest in peace Dr. Ralph. Our hearts go out to his friends, family, and loved ones at this difficult time.last_img