Ralph Stanley & Friends: Man of Constant Sorrow

Album review
Ralph Stanley & Friends: Man of Constant Sorrow

Ralph Stanley & Friends

Man of Constant Sorrow

Label: Cracker Barrel
Media: CD
Genre: Rock/pop

The rubber meets the road immediately on this alternately rousing and stirring collection of duets pairing 87-year- old bluegrass giant Ralph Stanley with various roots-centric partners. A Resurrection celebration, “We Shall Rise,” jets into Gloryland fueled by Josh Turner’s jubilant vocal and a rustic wall of sound consisting of furiously charging banjo, fiddle, and mandolin. Credit producers Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale for the savvy duet pairings plus crackling, live-sounding sonics with vocals hot in the mix. Dierks Bentley and Dr. Ralph blend beautifully on the driving bluegrass heartbreaker, “I Only Exist”; Lee Ann Womack’s mountain ache of a voice digs deep into Carter Stanley’s “White Dove,” a wrenching reflection on darkness descending as death visits the family circle; above eerily droning violins, Robert Plant and Dr. Ralph, somber and straightforward, metaphorically plumb the travails of sin and the triumph of salvation in “Two Coats.” Del McCoury, Ricky Skaggs, and Nathan Stanley all have memorable turns, but no one tops Dr. Ralph’s solo turn on “Hills of Home,” a heartfelt recitation for brother Carter, replete with a promise to join him again in the sweet by and by. In the end, there’s not a dry eye in the house. 

More Info

  • primary artist, Ralph Stanley & Friends
  • CD

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