From Geoffrey Himes, Ralph Stanley was one of our last links to an old America – The Washington Post:
When Ralph Stanley died on Thursday at age 89, we lost more than the last surviving founding father of bluegrass. We lost one of our last links to a pre-television America.
He was a short, gaunt man in a white cowboy hat and gray suit, his features seemingly chipped from granite with a stony gaze to match. When he sang “O Death” at Wolf Trap in 2006 as part of the Great High Mountain Tour, Stanley’s scratchy high tenor made the Grim Reaper sound like an acquaintance of long standing. This traditional lament had revived his career when he sang it in the Coen brothers’ 2000 movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” but Stanley’s ghostly vocal made clear that the song was older than that movie, older than the whole history of talking movies.