Musical icon Dr. Ralph Stanley released his latest CD today. Man of Constant Sorrow is now available exclusively at all 634 Cracker Barrel Old Country Store locations and online at crackerbarrel.com for $11.99. The digital album also will be available for purchase at select digital retailers. The record is distributed by Cracker Barrel and in partnership with Red River Entertainment and Bob Frank Distribution.
The three-time GRAMMY Award winner’s new CD features Stanley performing duets with guest artists including Dierks Bentley, Elvis Costello, Del McCoury, Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale, Old Crow Medicine Show, Robert Plant, Ricky Skaggs, Nathan Stanley, Josh Turner, Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings and Lee Ann Womack, while also performing two solo songs. Ronnie McCoury and Womack’s daughter, Aubrie Sellers, also appear on the album, along with Stanley’s band The Clinch Mountain Boys. The 87-year old International Bluegrass Hall of Honor inductee recorded the album in Nashville with Miller and Lauderdale as producers.
“I’ve always enjoyed singing with other artists,” said Stanley. “Everyone who joined me on this record did a fine job. I think this will be a project that my fans will really enjoy.”
“Cracker Barrel is delighted to bring Dr. Ralph Stanley and Friends’ CD, Man of Constant Sorrow, to our guests,” said Cracker Barrel Marketing Manager Julie Craig. “The performances are wonderful, the music is timeless and the project is a great addition to our exclusive music program. We know our guests will look forward to discovering this album.”
The 13 songs on Man of Constant Sorrow are:
1. “We Shall Rise,” Ralph Stanley and Josh Turner with The Clinch Mountain Boys
2. “I Only Exist,” Ralph Stanley and Dierks Bentley with The Clinch Mountain Boys
3. “We’ll Be Sweethearts in Heaven,” Ralph Stanley and Ricky Skaggs with The Clinch Mountain Boys and Ronnie McCoury
4. “Rank Stranger,” Ralph Stanley and Nathan Stanley with The Clinch Mountain Boys
5. “I Am the Man, Thomas,” Ralph Stanley, Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale with The Clinch Mountain Boys and Ronnie McCoury
6. “White Dove,” Ralph Stanley and Lee Ann and Aubrie Sellers with The Clinch Mountain Boys and Ronnie McCoury
7. “Red Wicked Wine,” Ralph Stanley and Elvis Costello with The Clinch Mountain Boys
8. “Pig in a Pen,” Ralph Stanley and Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings with Paul Kowert
9. “Two Coats,” Ralph Stanley and Robert Plant
10. “Brand New Tennessee Waltz,” Ralph Stanley and Del McCoury with The Clinch Mountain Boys and Ronnie McCoury
11. “Short Life of Trouble,” Ralph Stanley and Old Crow Medicine Show
12. “Hills of Home,” Ralph Stanley
13. “Man of Constant Sorrow,” Ralph Stanley and The Clinch Mountain Boys
Stanley was born in 1927 in Big Spraddle, Va. He learned to play banjo from his mother when he was a teenager. After graduating high school and serving in the U.S. Army, he joined older brother Carter in creating the Clinch Mountain Boys and began performing on local radio stations and at regional venues. After Columbia Records signed them, they became known as The Stanley Brothers and went on to record such classics as “Angel Band,” “Little Maggie” and their signature tune, “Man of Constant Sorrow.” During this time, he developed a unique style of playing the banjo that became known as “Stanley style.”
After Carter died in 1966, Stanley continued to perform and record as a solo artist. Through the years, he helped mentor several future bluegrass and country music artists who performed in his band before embarking on solo careers, including Ricky Skaggs, Larry Sparks and Keith Whitley.
In 1976, Stanley received an honorary doctorate from Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tenn., and he has been known as “Dr. Ralph Stanley” ever since.
He was presented with the National Heritage Award by President Ronald Reagan in 1984, elected into the International Bluegrass Hall of Honor in 1992 and inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2000. His performance of “O Death,” featured in the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?,” earned him his first GRAMMY Award in 2001 for Best Male Country Vocal Performance. The soundtrack album for that movie also earned Stanley both a GRAMMY Award and a CMA Award for Album of the Year.
His album Lost in the Lonesome Pines earned Stanley his third GRAMMY Award in 2002, this time for Best Bluegrass Album. His performance of “Me and God” with Josh Turner received an ACM nomination for Vocal Event of the Year in 2006. That same year, he received two major honors: the Living Legend Award from the Library of Congress and the National Medal of Arts from President George W. Bush.
He released his autobiography, Man of Constant Sorrow in 2009. Stanley received a second honorary Doctorate of Music degree from Yale University on May 19, 2014, and was elected as a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences on Oct. 11, 2014.