Ralph Stanley, will release A Mother’s Prayer, a newly recorded collection of hymns and spirituals, via on Rebel Records on April 19th.
Read the official press release from Rebel Records after the jump:
Determined to find songs that rang true to him emotionally, the 84-year-old Stanley searched through the stark ballads and church music of his youth as well as newer compositions written in the ancient, unadorned Stanley style. Some of his choices he renders a cappella; in others, he is backed by his Grammy-winning band, the Clinch Mountain Boys.
The sweep of songs here is breathtaking, ranging from such canonical pieces as “Are You Washed In The Blood,” “Come All Ye Tenderhearted,” “Lift Him Up, That’s All” and “John The Revelator” to the bluegrass classic “What Kind Of Man,” which Stanley co-wrote with Larry Sparks, the man who took Carter Stanley’s place in the revered Stanley Brothers band after Carter died. Other notable songwriters and singers represented here include country artist Sara Evans, Billy and Terry Smith (the latter a founding member of the Grascals), Clinch Mountain Boys’ fiddler Dewey Brown and Stanley’s talented grandson, Nathan Stanley. Shawn Lane, of Blue Highway, and award-winning composer and vocalist Ronnie Bowman wrote the album’s title song.
“The[se] autumnal recordings of Ralph Stanley are among the last links to the fierce confrontationalism of true Appalachian music,” observes eminent music scholar Colin Escott in his liner notes for the album. “The music, like the people, stood square-jawed in the face of adversity. You can hear the pain in every ghostly trailing note and struggle in every barbed syllable.”
A Mother's Prayer is Stanley's 32th recording for Rebel Records and this year marks the 40th Anniversary of his debut release for the label. That album, the milestone Cry from the Cross (featuring a young Keith Whitley and Ricky Skaggs), was also a collection of sacred music.