Popular at bluegrass festivals, Ralph and each edition of the Clinch Mountain Boys grew to be one of the most respected outfits in bluegrass. As far west as California and even up in the hollers of Kentucky, people were drawn to the poignant, mournful sound of Ralph Stanley's style. Different from all the rest, Ralph's ability to hit the right notes and chords made him a singer of trailblazing proportions. Ralph continued to record for a wide variety of labels, including Jalyn, Rebel, King Bluegrass, Blue Jay, Jessup, Stanleytone, his own label, and Freeland. He was a devoted family man, but Ralph's constant touring took its toll on his first marriage, a union that produced daughters Lisa Joy and Tonya and oldest son Timothy. His second wife, Jimmie, also a singer, gave him another son late in life; Ralph II followed in both his father's and uncle's footsteps and played in the Clinch Mountain Boys with his dad.
A Bluegrass Hall of Fame member along with Carter, Ralph Stanley was an inspiration to Dwight Yoakam, Emmylou Harris, the late Keith Whitley, and even Monroe acolyte Ricky Skaggs. With his raw emotions and three-fingered banjo technique, he helped bring a mountain style of bluegrass music to mainstream audiences. A full survey of the Stanley Brothers' career, including sides they recorded for several different labels, finally appeared in 2007 with Time Life's three-disc Definitive Collection box set. Stanley's brand of bluegrass was always only a half step away from the Appalachian string band and church music of his youth, and in his autumn years he continued to do what hed always done -- sing and play in a style that could really be called Mountain Gospel Soul. He marked his 40th year of recording for Rebel Records with the release of A Mothers Prayer in 2011. ~ Jana Pendragon & Steve Leggett, Rovi