Directed by: Herb Smith
Running Time: 82:00
Ralph Stanley’s Story is a portrait of the Grammy award-winning bluegrass great and star of the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. For over 50 years, Ralph Stanleys banjo playing, haunting tenor voice and tradition-inspired repertoire have epitomized old time bluegrass music. This documentary explores Stanleys musical roots in the Clinch Mountains of Virginia, the early days of The Stanley Brothers, and Ralphs decision to continue on after the untimely death of brother Carter. Interviews with Ralph, former band members, and fellow musicians like Patty Loveless and Dwight Yoakum are intercut with live performances of such songs as “Rank Stranger,” “Pretty Polly,” and “Man of Constant Sorrow.” Ralph also performs with Larry Sparks and Ricky Skaggs at his annual Hills of Home Bluegrass Festival.
The Stanley sound is true old-time, mountain style bluegrass music. This film tells Ralphs story through interviews with those who know him best.
Featuring fabulous performances, Smith takes us on a delightful, old-time music journey. Northwest Film Center, Portland Art Museum
The documentary succeeds admirably It captures the quiet conviction and uncompromising integrity that enabled this American musician to become one of the folk masters of our time. Bill C. Malone, author, Country Music, USA
If you love the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, see the story of the man whose spare, ardent music served as its template. — Minneapolis City Pages
Screenings & Festivals
Gene Siskel Film Center, Art Institute of Chicago
Barbican Art Center, London, England
Experience Music Project, Seattle
Folk Alliance Conference
Northwest Film Center, Portland Art Museum
Ozark Foothills Film Festival
Sound/Unseen Film Festival, Minneapolis
West Virginia International Film Festival