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O Brother, Ralph Stanley is a sweetheart

By Jeffrey B. Remz, November 2001

Page 3...

Stanley says he heard Kristi sing around family settings. "I was proud to get to sing with her because she is my daughter in law. I felt honored to sing with her. I enjoyed it very much."

Did the recording session meet her hopes and expectations?

"It was definitely more than I expected. It really was. I was excited and scared at the same time. I enjoyed every minute of it.""

Parton, no longer on a major label, has earned kudos for her recent bluegrass albums.

"We all know that Dolly Parton is the greatest," says Ralph Stanley. "That's all that I've got to say about Dolly. I was very proud that she would record one with me."

"She was one who was supposed to sing on the other one. She never could come. She had a busy schedule at that time."

Welch was instrumental in getting the "O Brother" project together and has won much praised for her Appalachian style of music.

"Gillian Welch is a fine singer," says Stanley, who is quick to praise every partner he has. "She's a fine singer. She recorded with me with before on 'Clinch Mountain Country.' I didn't know too much about her until three or four years ago. I got more familiar with then than ever."

"She loves that good mountain sound," he says.

Stanley, as usual, isn't resting on the laurels of the success that the new millennium has bestowed on him with "O Brother" and "Clinch Mountain Sweethearts."

Come Jan. 25, 2002, Stanley hits the road with some compadres from the "O Brother" soundtrack for about 20 concerts until late February. "I know I'm on it,"he says. "I know the Whites are on it. I know Patty Loveless is going. I've heard she is."

Loveless, who released her own album of "mountain soul" in June was not on the "O Brother" soundtrack, but has an affinity for the music.

And Stanley also has been in the studio working with T Bone Burnett, the "O Brother" producer, in Nashville on a somewhat secretive project. The disc is not slated to come out on Rebel, Stanley's label for most of the past 30 years.

The album reportedly will be on Burnett's own label, which he formed with the Coen Brothers, directors of the "O Brother" movie.

But Stanley is very tight lipped about the exact details, indicating at one point that he had yet to record, then say he already had done a little bit.

"It probably will be (done)," he says. "That could be in the wind. I don't want to talk too much on that."

"I just like to explore" (different things musically)," he says. "I'm sure T Bone and me wouldn't put anything bad, so I'm sure it will be good."

"I have done a little bit of it. It will be old time music."

As to the content, Stanley says the disc will contain "probably older songs" than the Stanleys.

Stanley doesn't shy away from being considered the current leader of bluegrass and old time music, in the wake of the death of the father of bluegrass, Bill Monroe.

"It makes me feel real proud. It makes me feel like my 55 years has not been in vain. It makes me feel good. Appreciated."

"It don't make me feel a bit nervous. It makes me feel proud. I'm proud.. I do my best to live up with it."

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