Morris Public Relations has advised us that the Ralph Stanley story his fascinating memoir named after his signature hit, Man of Constant Sorrow: My Life and Times – will go on sale on the 15th October this year.
The book was written with music journalist Eddie Dean and published by Gotham Books.
Stanley has been a luminary in bluegrass music circles virtually since he and his brother Carter launched the Stanley Brothers duo in 1946. But he rocketed to real celebrity status in 2000 via his musical participation in the Coen Brothers’ movie, O Brother, Where Art Thou? His performance of Oh, Death on the movie’s soundtrack album earned him two Grammy awards. (A third would soon follow.) He was also the first artist of the 21st Century to be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.
Now 82 and still touring, Stanley writes in the book about his hardscrabble boyhood years in rural Virginia, abandonment by his father, the influence of folk and church music, the Stanley Brothers’ live radio shows and early records, the perils of touring in the 1940s and ’50s on America’s back-roads, Carter’s fatal drinking problem and re-inventing himself as a solo act after Carter’s death in 1966.
In telling his stories, Stanley gives the reader intimate glimpses of such fellow stars as Bill Monroe, A. P. Carter (of the fabled Carter Family), Porter Wagoner, George Jones, Dwight Yoakam, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs and of King Records founder Syd Nathan and super producer T. Bone Burnett.