A black eye for bluegrass

Ralph StanleyPop & Hiss, The Los Angeles Times‘ music blog has a piece posted this past Sunday (4/26) about our beloved Dr. Ralph Stanley.

Written by Randy Lewis, it recalls a backstage encounter at Stagecoach 2009, held in Indio, CA.

Mountain music patriarch Ralph Stanley just arrived at the traditional-music themed Mustang Stage sporting a nastily bruised right eye, bandaged above and below.

I asked if he’s OK, and the 82-year-old quipped, “You should see the other guy!”

Ricky Skaggs, having just wrapped a scintillating set with his band, joined the conversation and extended a heartfelt, “I’m real sorry to see you like this, Ralph.”

The claw-hammer banjo master said he’d been standing on a stool cleaning an air conditioner back home in West Virginia when the stool slipped, sending him to the floor.

UPDATE 4/30: James Allen Shelton, Ralph Stanley’s lead guitarist and road manager posted this correction in the comments.

This report is all wrong. Ralph was trying to adjust the heat in his motel bathroom in Vacaville, CA last Saturday morning. He got up on a chair with rollers under it and it slipped out from under him. He hit hard on the tile floor. He took seven stitches over his right eye but was able to perform that night at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley and the next day at the Stagecoach Festival in Indio, CA.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.

  • Did Dr. Stanley move to West Virginia?

  • West Virginia… western Virginia? It’s all the same to the left coasters. =)

  • James A. Shelton

    This report is all wrong. Ralph was trying to adjust the heat in his motel bathroom in Vacaville, CA last Saturday morning. He got up on a chair with rollers under it and it slipped out from under him. He hit hard on the tile floor. He took seven stitches over his right eye but was able to perform that night at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley and the next day at the Stagecoach Festival in Indio, CA.

    James A. Shelton
    Road Mgr./Guitarist
    Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mtn. Boys