The Stanley Brothers have always been a huge inspiration to me. I’m heard many other musicians, like Gillian Welch, talk about the first time they heard the soulful harmony singing from this country duo. It’s usually a watershed a moment. I’ve seen it happen to friends, in real time. You listen to Angel Band, then you find a best of collection, then you read the Ralph Stanley autobiography, then you find live sets on Youtube, then you start buying old school hats, then you start practicing your high-baritone parts. There is just something about their drive, their conviction, their prolific amount of recordings, their old-time roots mixed with bluegrass aspirations…..some people get hooked on the banjo playing, others on the songwriting.
I routinely go through Stanley Brother phases and I’ve learned a number of their songs through the years. Some are original. Some are not. (They infamously learned Bill Monroe’s Little Girl and the Dreadful Snake and then recorded and released it before Big Mon himself!) A few weeks ago, I was house sitting for a friend and had a quiet afternoon to record some of my favorite songs. It’s a bit weird to record these songs without harmony vocals or even a banjo. But they turned out nicely and I’ve decided to share them with the world. Hope you enjoy