Ralph Stanley Balks at Retiring
He's old enough to be grandfather -- or great-grandfather -- to most of today's country music stars, but Ralph Stanley won't be slowing down anytime soon. The 84-year-old recently released his latest CD, 'A Mother's Prayer,' and says making music is as easy as ever.
"We didn't have a bit of trouble," Ralph tells Nashville's Tennessean about recording with his band, the Clinch Mountain Boys. "I never have had trouble recording."
The bluegrass icon isn't the only one who says studio time is stress-free. His longtime guitarist, James Alan Shelton, concurs. "We didn't rehearse a minute for that record -- just went in the studio, worked 'em up on the spot and put 'em down," he notes, adding that the entire album, from conception to time in the studio only took about ten hours.
The new batch of tunes, which includes a cappella versions of gospel classics, 'John the Revelator' and 'Prince of Peace,' was an intentional direction by the longtime Grand Ole Opry member.
"I went back to older times really," he explains. "I wanted it to sound that way. Most of them are really not songs that I've been singing for a long time. I've gathered them up from different people. I liked them and thought I could sing them pretty good, and I needed material so I got to looking for it. I think it's some of the best I've ever had."
He may be the oldest member in his band -- by more than 30 years -- but with between 100 to 120 shows a year, the Virginia resident has no plans to abandon the stage anytime soon.
"I'd just like people to know I don't have any set time to retire," he insists. "I plan to play on as long as I'm able and the good Lord's willing."
Ralph will play in his home state Monday, May 9, followed by shows in Alabama and North Carolina later this month. Follow his tour schedule here.