Ralph Stanley “A Mother’s Prayer”
Let’s get one thing clear right from the get go. I’m not a big fan of bluegrass. I have the occasional penchant for some of the genre, such as Dolly Parton’s “Little Sparrow”, Paul Kelly and The Stormwater Boys’ “Foggy Highway” and the soundtrack to “Oh Brother Where Art Thou?” but on the whole I’m not a big imbiber of this kind of music.
Especially when it also includes spiritual and gospel themes, as is the basis of this album. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not adverse to some god bothering tunes occasionally, but on the whole it’s not really my faith, so I approached this CD with some trepidation as I didn’t want my dislike of this genre to simply pan the album.
As you will know, Stanley has been making music for the past seven decades, and hats off to the man, he’s still going strong, despite being in his mid eighties. Like Johnny Cash, his voice has matured and got better over the years, but his belief in music hasn’t wavered. How could it with his pedigree? Whilst there’s an inevitable sameiness to this album, there’s enough variety to keep the casual listener engaged whatever your beliefs. A mix of traditional songs, acapella and new contemporary tunes with a minimalist approach, Stanley yet again ably demonstrates he can give the young ‘uns a run for their money.