Ralph Stanley, the mountain music icon who is still touring and recording at the age of 87, is the latest bluegrass artist to record a project for the roadside restaurant chain, Cracker Barrel.
Ralph Stanley & Friends: Man of Constant Sorrow includes 13 newly recorded tracks, most cut as duets between Dr. Ralph and a string of top bluegrass, folk and country artists. Featured as guest vocalists are Del McCoury, Ricky Skaggs, and Nathan Stanley from the bluegrass world, country singers Dierks Bentley, Josh Turner, and Lee Ann Womack, plus collaborations with Old Crow Medicine Show, Elvis Costello, Gillian Welch & David Rawlings, Robert Plant, and co-producers Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale.
For years Cracker Barrel has sold music CDs in the gift shops located at the front of each restaurant, and offered them for sale from their web sites as well. Initial selections were greatest hit projects from well-known country artists, but they have more recently expanded into collections of new music from country, Gospel, and bluegrass acts.
Stanley says that he is pleased to find his music going into such a recognizable venue, and that he has loved the duet format since he was a youngster.
“I have always enjoyed performing with other musicians ever since my older brother Carter and I first started playing music together when we were kids. I am excited to share these collaborations with such wonderful artists with our fans. So many of my fans are regular visitors to Cracker Barrel, so I’m happy to have my project available exclusively there so they can find the CD in one of their favorite locations.”
Though Carter spent much of his short life seeking to get The Stanley Brothers the sort of notoriety that was enjoyed by Flatt & Scruggs, Ralph has consistently described his as mountain music, as opposed to bluegrass.
The material is derived from the many popular songs Stanley has recorded over his 68 years in the music business, both with Carter as The Stanley Brothers, and in his later solo carer. Long time Stanley fans should recognize them all.
Here’s a track listing, with guest performers:
- We Shall Rise with Josh Turner
- I Only Exist with Dierks Bentley
- Sweethearts in Heaven with Ricky Skaggs
- Rank Stranger with Nathan Stanley
- I Am the Man, Thomas with Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale
- White Dove with Lee Ann Womack
- Red Wicked Wine with Elvis Costello
- Pig in a Pen with Gillian Welch & David Rawlings
- Two Coats with Robert Plant
- Brand New Tennessee Waltz with Del McCoury
- Short Life of Trouble with Old Crow Medicine Show
- Hills of Home – Ralph Stanley solo
- Man of Constant Sorrow – Ralph Stanley solo
All the music was recorded during the month of November, an astounding feat given the many busy artists involved.
The release date is set for January 19, 2015 at which time it will be available in all 634 Cracker Barrel locations, and as digital downloads from iTunes, Amazon, and crackerbarrel.com.