When Ralph Stanley died on June 23, 2016, country and bluegrass music took yet another huge punch to the gut. While stars from both genres were affected on many different levels, nobody lost more in Ralph than the legendary Ricky Skaggs.
Back in 1969 when he was just 15 years old, Ricky went to work for Ralph playing in his band, The Clinch Mountain Boys. Every chance he had in the 46 years that followed, Ricky not only professed his love and appreciation for Dr. Ralph both as a man and a musician, but he was also adamant that nobody influenced him more than Ralph.
It wasn’t just lip service of superstar pleasantries either. Ever since Ricky left Ralph’s band in the mid-1970s, he has continually championed the bluegrass giant and performed with him on literally hundreds of occasions.
“The end of an era, the passing of a King, a kind and humble King from the mountains,” Ricky said in a statement released about Ralph shortly after his death. “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.”
Rest assured Ricky, we will miss him and his music right along with you.