Ralph Stanley II has announced a new member of The Clinch Mountain Boys. Young Caleb Shifflett from Orange, VA is joining the band to play second guitar and sing harmony.
And when we say young, that is just what he is. Ralph told us this afternoon that Caleb turned 19 just this Monday, a couple of days after his first show with the Boys this past weekend.
II says that he is glad to have Shifflett on his team, and expects him to add a lot to their music.
“Yes… Caleb is joining us, and played his first show with us over in Bristol. We brought him down for a tryout in November, and I thought that he had a lot of talent and a great deal of potential. He sings tenor and baritone, and is a good lead singer as well. He looks up to the Stanley Brothers and Dad, but he fell right into the groove since he knew all my music as well. I think he’s going to freshen up the show… very versatile in his singing.
My guitar playing is based on the crosspicking style that has been associated with the Stanley sound from the start, and Caleb brings a new guitar style to the show.”
Stanley also mentioned that 2021 is a real landmark for the historic name he shares. It marks the 75th year that The Clinch Mountain Boys have been on the road.
“It was Dad and Carter from 1946 to 1966, then Dad from 1966 to 2016. I’ve been carrying it on since then.
We have another big anniversary next year, which will be the 50th for the Hills of Home Festival. We had to cancel for Memorial Day this year and last, but we have big plans for 2022.
We might do something at the park in August this year, on a smaller scale. We’d bring a couple of good bands in and offer camping for the week.”
Keep an eye on the Dr. Ralph Stanley Bluegrass Festival web site for more on a possible August event.
Shifflett, sounding a bit starstruck still, explained how this opportunity came to be.
“Randall Hibbitts, Ralph’s bass player, got in touch with me back in November and told me to contact Ralph. Randall told me Ralph was looking for a second guitar player, and he told me he had mentioned me. I called Ralph and he told me we would meet up at his house and he’d try me out, and here we are now! I’ve been to many Clinch Mountain Boys shows, but never imagined I’d be one! It truly is an honor.”
At his first show with Ralph in Bristol, Caleb had someone record this phone video of him singing a trio with Stanley and Hibbitts.