Nashville, TN -- The ancient and the modern converge to create the timeless in Side By Side, the new Rebel Records album from vocal titan Ralph Stanley and his gifted son and musical heir apparent, Ralph Stanley II. Co-produced by the younger Stanley and John Rigsby, a former member of the elder Stanley’s fabled Clinch Mountain Boys band, Side By Side is a compelling collection of 14 new and traditional songs.
Side by Side will be released Feb. 18 by Rebel Records. Among the highlights are classics from the pens of A. P. Carter, Charlie Monroe, Albert Brumley and Ernest Tubb and two Ralph Stanley originals—as well as samples of Stanley’s a cappella and clawhammer banjo stylings. Two of the musicians who back the Stanleys on the album—fiddler and mandolinist John Rigsby and banjoist Steve Sparkman—are from the 2002 Grammy-winning edition of the Clinch Mountain Boys.
The younger Stanley—who’s familiarly known as “Two”—began performing (on spoons) with his famous dad when he was just three years old. He went on to become rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist in the Clinch Mountain Boys. In that capacity, he recorded often with his father. But this is the first time the two men have released music as artists of equal billing and creative input.
“I’d just been a Clinch Mountain Boy, a band member with Dad,” Two explains, “and I was very proud to be that, but we’d never actually done a duet record like this. Playing with Dad, who’s so much of a legend, could be intimidating—and he’s had such a great long line of lead singers I needed to live up to—Carter Stanley in the Stanley Brothers days, then Larry Sparks, Keith Whitley and Roy Lee Centers.
“But I’ve been on my own as a solo artist for about five years now and recorded three albums that way. I’m more experienced and more relaxed today and ready to show people what I can do with the master himself. So I felt that this would be a good time for us to team back up. I asked Dad if he’d be interested in doing something like this with me, and he said yes, he’d love to.”
A three-time Grammy winner, Ralph Stanley will turn 87 a week after Side By Side is released. He continues to tour and to perform as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
Ralph Stanley and Ralph Stanley II - Side By Side: