Fans encouraged to attend funeral for Ralph Stanley

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MCCLURE, Va. (WKYT/WYMT/CBS NEWS) - Ralph Stanley, the legendary bluegrass musician, will be laid to rest Tuesday in his hometown of McClure, Virginia.

Fans are encouraged to attend. It will begin with a Masonic Service at 6 p.m. at the Hills of Home Park. The funeral will follow, as will a graveside service conducted by VFW Post 8979.

Pallbearers will be Nathan Stanley, Bryan Marshall, Walter Carlton, Evan Stout, Jason Armes, Ralph Stanley II and Ralph Stanley III.

Honorary Pallbearers will be Ricky Skaggs, Josh Turner, Jim Lauderdale, Dewey Brown, Ralph Murphy, Bobby Hammons and any Clinch Mountain Boys present.


Ralph Stanley was considered a founding father of modern bluegrass music, though he himself preferred the term "mountain music."

Born in rural Virginia, young Ralph made a fateful decision, as he told us in a 1984 interview:

"My mother gave me a choice, where she'd either buy me a sow pig or a banjo," he said. "And if I'd got the pig I would have started raising hogs, but I decided to get the banjo."

Ralph Stanley and his brother, Carter, went on to form the Stanley Brothers and the Clinch Mountain Boys in 1946.

After decades of performing on the folk music circuit, Ralph Stanley broke through to a wider audience in the 2000 film, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" His rendition of the traditional song "O Death" added extra menace to the scene of a Ku Klux Klan rally.

And at a Nashville concert of "O Brother" music that became its own film (called "Down From the Mountain"), Ralph Stanley and friends closed out the show with another traditional song, "Angel Band":

Oh come angel wings,
Come around me stand.
h bear me away on your snow white wings to my immortal home.
Oh bear me away on your snow white wings to my immortal home.

Ralph Stanley was 89.

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