Ralph Stanley Style Banjo:
Bluegrass pioneer Ralph Stanley came to national attention with the soundtrack to the movie O Brother Where Art Thou. So naturally we teach “Man of Constant Sorrow” (in the movie key and in a more jam-friendly key). But Ralph’s other tunes have long been considered bluegrass classics. His banjo playing is basically the Scruggs style with a bit of a different flavor. (But don’t tell Ralph we said that!)
The three instrumentals—“Little Maggie,” “Clinch Mountain Backstep,” and “Daybreak In Dixie”—will be welcome in almost any intermediate jam session. But you might have to look for someone who is deep into the Stanley Brothers catalog to find a singer for “Riding On That Midnight Train” and “How Mountain Girls Can Love.” The banjo breaks, however, are jam friendly and easy to improvise if you don’t know Ralph’s version. (Of course you could learn to sing these superb songs yourself and help keep the Stanley sound alive!) Excellent idea!
Man of Constant Sorrow, Clinch Mountain Backstep, Little Maggie, Daybreak In Dixie, Ridin' On That Midnight Train, and How Mountain Girls Can Love.
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