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Clinch Mountain Country

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Album Review

The two-disc set Clinch Mountain Country is a treasure that amazes and inspires at every turn. Ralph Stanley is one of the true greats of American music. Kicking off with an all-time favorite, "How Mountain Girls Can Love," the set features Stanley's signature clawhammer banjo style and the distinctive mountain harmonies perfected by himself and his brother, the late Carter Stanley. Other guests from the music world include Dwight Yoakam, Marty Stuart, Bob Dylan, Patty Loveless, BR5-49, Rhonda Vincent, Gillian Welch, Laurie Lewis, Junior Brown, Vern Gosdin, Vince Gill, and many others. One of the most poignant tracks is Stanley, the Clinch Mountain Boys, and country & western master George Jones singing "The Window Up Above." The meeting of Stanley and Jones is a monumental moment in music history. Together their voices blend effortlessly on a song that Jones wrote so many years ago. Also significant is the prominence of Ralph II, the man who will carry on the legacy his father and uncle began in the mountains of Virginia. Stanley's high-lonesome vocal style is unlike any other sound, and he is without peer in the world of bluegrass music. This collection of tunes, many written by Carter and/or Ralph, is evidence of the heartfelt, soul-nourishing music the Carters brought out of the western Virginia Highlands and gave to the world. A worthy follow-up to the 1992 two-CD release Saturday Night & Sunday Morning.


Born: February 25, 1927 in Stratton, VA

Genre: Country

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

While he preferred the term "mountain music" to "bluegrass," Ralph Stanley ranked second only to Bill Monroe in his importance to the genre. A pioneering clawhammer banjoist and riveting singer, Stanley shot to prominence with his brother Carter and the Clinch Mountain Boys in the '40s and '50s. After Carter's death in 1966, Ralph soldiered on, riding waves of popularity in the '60s folk revival and the '70s bluegrass festival scene. In 2000, his a cappella rendering of "O Death" became the musical...
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