Alex Leach back with Ralph II

With the recent departure of banjo picker Landon Fitzpatrick from Ralph Stanley II & The Clinch Mountain Boys, Ralph has brought Alex Leach back into the band, who had spent several good years with him previously.

Landon is moving back to Georgia where he and his wife will be closer to family, and is bringing the Landon Fitzpatrick Band out of retirement.

Leach is a crackerjack on banjo, and always provided a spark with II, both picking and singing, as well as with his quirky and highly entertaining stage presence.

Alex tells us that he had not anticipated this return to be a Clinch Mountain Boy again, as he has been managing his own Alex Leach Band this past few years.

“At the beginning of the year, I had planned for 2024 to be a year of mainly working from home. I signed on with The Crooked Road as their project coordinator, while still programming my radio shows on WDVX, playing a few dates with my band, and committing to some shows with East Tennessee mandolin prodigy Wyatt Ellis. This seemed busy enough for me.

A few weeks back, I called Ralph to book him on a Crooked Road-produced show, and he informed me that his banjo player was moving and about to leave the band. Of course, I played banjo for seven and a half years with Ralph II and the Clinch Mountain Boys before leaving that position in 2019. I ended up filling in on a couple of shows a few weeks back, and afterwards, Ralph offered me the opportunity to come back full time. After giving it some thought, and talking with my wife about it, I decided that I am at a certain point in my life where it feels like a great time to be a Clinch Mountain Boy again.

Ralph II is like a brother to me, and we’ve always had a great friendship and working relationship. After talking with him about my prior commitments, he was/is gracious enough to work with me on everything else I have going on this year. I am very thankful for that.

I’m honored to work on many sides of the business, and look forward to everything 2024 is sending my way. Thanks to my trusty laptop and modern technology, I look forward to continuing my work with WDVX, my journey on The Crooked Road, some show dates with The Alex Leach Band, several appearances with my little brother in music, Wyatt Ellis, and of course, returning to Ralph Stanley II and the Clinch Mountain Boys!

It’s an honor to be a part of the Stanley Legacy, and I’m hopeful to remain a part of it for as long as I possibly can. Brother Ralph, thanks for having me!”

Ralph II is likewise delighted to run with Leach again.

“During Alex’s seven and a half year tenure with me, he always did a great job. I’m really glad to have him back with me as one of the Clinch Mountain Boys again. Alex adds a lot of energy to the show, and I’m looking forward to more good times with him out on the road carrying on the legacy my dad and uncle Carter started back in 1946. Welcome back, Alex!”

As for the Landon Fitzpatrick Band, look for them on the circuit starting this May. He says that he will have Brian Blaylock on mandolin, Arron Ramey on guitar, and Martin Adams on bass.

You can check the tour schedule for The Clinch Mountain Boys online.

Share this:

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.