Tuesday, 18 December 2012

coming soon: Stanley Brothers Biography "Lonesome Melodies"

"Lonesome Melodies: The Lives and Music of The Stanley Brothers" is a long-overdue biography of the legendary first generation bluegrass music pioneers, Carter (1925-1966) and Ralph Stanley (b. 1927). American author David W. Johnson successfully, and more important, accurately documents the Stanley's contributions to the tradition of bluegrass music. Or as Ralph calls it, old-time mountain music.

Together from 1946 to 1966, The Stanley Brothers & The Clinch Mountain Boys began their careers performing on local radio and in the schoolhouses of southwestern Virginia. They ultimately expanded their popularity to American universities, country music parks and the concert halls of Europe.

On that final tour of Europe, Carter & Ralph recorded a segment for a live 60-minute variety program at the German radio and TV network SWF in Baden-Baden. In January 2009, a 44-minute DVD entitled "Festival of American Folk & Country Music 1966", was released by the German Tropical Music company. It includes two performances by the Stanley's. The final European tour was hard on Carter as he was very ill at the time. Carter Stanley would pass away nine months after that recording session.

David Johnson made an extreme effort to write a factual and often first-person account using Ralph Stanley's own words, as well as conversations with family, closest friends and several of Ralph's band members he has had through the years. Johnson has provided an amazing perspective of the Stanley's personalities and trials and tribulations as they traveled the many roads to a moderate level of success. (True monetary success was not afforded the brothers while Carter was still alive. It wasn't until Ralph's inclusion in the 'O, Brother Where Art Thou' film that his income "...made things a bit easier on my family.")

It is rare in today's world to read a biography of well known artists which does not resort to sensationalism, speculation and sordid details for no apparent reason. David Johnson managed to allow the reader a personal insight into the personal lives of Carter and Ralph without casting unnecessary dispersions upon the subjects. This true story is not always comfortable to read, but it is The Truth. In the end, the reader will find this story to be an educational and refreshing trip into the career and lives of two most important contributors to American music history.

University Press of Mississippi is the publisher of this first-ever Stanley Brothers biography.

Lonesome Melodies: The Lives and Music of The Stanley Brothers
ISBN: 9781617036460
6 x 9 inches
300 pages
16 black and white photographs

Scheduled release is February 2013.
The suggested retail price is $50 USD and will also be available as an E-book.

NOTE: EBB will publish a reminder on this blog when the book is officially released.