Country, Bluegrass Stars Mourn Legend Ralph Stanley

Credit: Karl Walter/Getty Images for StagecoachStars from the worlds of country and bluegrass music — and even Hollywood — are reacting to the sad news that music legend Ralph Stanley died June 23 following a battle with skin cancer.

Country star Dierks Bentley tweeted that the news was “like a punch to the heart. Thank you God for Ralph Stanley.”

Steve Wariner tweeted, “A true legend is gone … RIP.” Singer Mindy Smith wrote simply, “God bless your precious soul #RalphStanley.”

Actor-comedian Steve Martin, who is also an accomplished bluegrass musician, posted a series of tweets, the first reading, “Ralph Stanley, one of the last remaining original bluegrass artistes, has died. Listen to him sing Oh Death.” He later directed his fans to check out Stanley’s performance of “Pretty Polly,” and wrote, “bluegrass can be an acquired taste, but honesty is universal.” He also called Stanley’s autobiography, Man of Constant Sorrow: My Life and Times, “soulful and an insight to the thrill of singing.” Like Stanley, Martin plays the banjo.

Ricky Skaggs released a poignant statement saying, “The end of an era, the passing of a king, a kind and humble king from the mountains. He carried the ancient sounds from God knows where. Ralph found it in the music of the mountains, in the hollows, in the people and in the churches. He was my hero and I was blessed to know him, love him and make music with him as a young teenager. The Scriptures tell us ‘God uses the simple things to confound the wise.’ He certainly used Ralph Stanley to bring the music of the mountains to the masses.”

Bluegrass star Rhonda Vincent tweeted a photo of herself sharing a microphone with Stanley and wrote, “Rest in peace my friend.” And the duo Daily & Vincent posted, “Our most heartfelt condolences are with the Stanley family this morning. The great Ralph Stanley passed away.”

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