Ralph Stanley and his son Ralph Stanley II have come together to create Side By Side, a collection of 14 new and traditional songs. Set for release on February 18, the album includes songs written by Ralph Stantey, A. P. Carter, Charlie Monroe, Albert Brumley and Ernest Tubb. Two of the musicians on the album, fiddler and mandolinist John Rigsby and banjoist Steve Sparkman, are from the Clinch Mountain Boys.
Known as “Two,” Ralph Stanley II began performing on spoons with his father when he was just three years old. He went on to become rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist in the Clinch Mountain Boys where he recorded with his father. This is the first time the two have released an album as equals.
“I’d just been a Clinch Mountain Boy, a band member with Dad,” Two said. “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,” he continued. “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.”
Ralph Stanley will turn 87 a week after Side By Side is released. He continues to tour and is a regular performer on the Grand Ole Opry.