Welcome to my page. Lonesome Melodies is the result of a musical journey that began in Nashville in May 2000 when I first heard Ralph Stanley at the Ryman Auditorium -- a former church that for many years housed the Grand Ole Opry.
Alone under a white spotlight, Ralph sang "O Death" at a concert that would become the documentary film Down from the Mountain. His solo version of this ancient ballad gave me a chill.
When I moved to Virginia in 2001 to teach at Emory and Henry College, I discovered that I was living about an hour away from Dr. Ralph, as he likes to be called. For the first time, I heard about his years touring with his older brother Carter.
Before leaving Virginia in 2003, I was able to interview Ralph twice for an article, "Lonesome Melodies: Conversations with Ralph Stanley," that appeared in a magazine. The title comes from something Ralph said about the kind of melody that he liked.
In 2004-2005, I returned to teach at the University of Virginia's College at Wise. The college is located on top of Wise Mountain, near Sandy Ridge outside Coeburn, where Ralph and his family live.
Each day that I drove to work on Route 58, I could tell when Ralph was on the road because his tour bus would be missing from a parking lot along the route. The comings and goings of the bus encouraged me to work on a book.
In 2007, my article on the Stanley Brothers' earliest recordings -- adapted from a draft chapter of the book -- was published in the Journal of Country Music. That was very encouraging.
In March 2012, I was invited to speak on "real country" sources of the Stanley Brothers' music at the Appalachian Studies Conference. The print version of my talk appears in the current issue of the International Country Music Journal, which can be found on Amazon -- another encouraging development.
Lonesome Melodies is the latest in the University Press of Mississippi's excellent American Made Music Series. For more information, please visit www.lonesomemelodies.com or search "lonesome melodies" on Facebook.
Thank you for your interest in the Stanley Brothers -- perhaps the the most enduring brother duet ever to sing country and gospel music -- and your support of my biography of the brothers. Writing the book has been an exciting and satisfying journey.