Noted bluegrass fiddler, and former Clinch Mountain Boy, Jame Price has died today at his home in West Virginia. He was 57 years of age.
According to his son, Mason, James went to sleep and never woke up. At this point no medical cause has been explored.
Though his eight years with Ralph Stanley gave James his greatest visibility, he has previously played fiddle with The Goins Brothers. He also recorded three albums under his own name.
Price toured with Dr. Ralph and the Clinch Mountain Boys from 1995 to 2003, and is remembered for being able to play the old time mountain style fiddle, but with a clarity and precision not always associated with this sound. He was the second in line after Curly Ray Cline retired in 1993, following Art Stamper who returned to the band for two years. Art had played with The Stanley Brothers back in the day.
Ralph Stanley II, who now leads The Clinch Mountain Boys, was taken aback by the news of James’ passing, and remembered him as a fine bandmate.
“I traveled many a mile with him. I had started singing lead when he took the job. James came in just a week or two after that. James’ fiddle style and fiddle playing, I thought it really suited Dad’s style well. He played a lot like Curly Ray Cline. He always did a good job, and he was a good comedian – great entertainer.
I really hate that he is gone so soon.”
II also remembered that the comic character James played in their show was called Poogie Jude, and that Dr. Ralph used to call him Old Pooge out on the road.
After leaving Stanley, he formed a pair of bands to perform regionally in West Virginia, James Price & Kentucky Reign and James Price & Native Country. The first was a bluegrass group and the second country.
He also toured with Little Jimmy Dickens and Johnny Paycheck.
James released three solo fiddle albums: The Old Mountaineer (1994 Hay Holler Records), Southern Flavor (1998 Freeland Records), and Fiddlin’ the Old Time Way (2003 Rebel Records). He appeared on the Lost in the Lonesome Pines album by Jim Lauderdale and Ralph Stanley, which won the Best Bluegrass Album at the Grammys in 2002. Price was included on a number of Ralph Stanley records, including Short Life of Trouble (1996), My All And All (1997), Clinch Mountain Country (1998), While The Ages Roll On (2000), Clinch Mountain Sweethearts (2001), and Live At McCabe’s Guitar Shop (2002).
The family has not yet announced any information about funeral arrangements. We will update as those are known.
R.I.P., James Price.