Shine On

Shine On

by Ralph Stanley


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At 78, bluegrass giant Ralph Stanley continues to make deep, awe-inspiring music, transcendent music. Borrowing its stately, inspirational title tune from Dolly Parton, Shine On is another testimony of unshakeable faith from Stanley, who imbues the disc with the conviction of a true believer and an infectious eagerness to share the good news of God's promise of redemption. As if to make matters less speculative, shall we say, Stanley's repertoire here underscores the power of the enduring bonds that connect family and friends, temporally and spiritually -- a point powerfully made in the a cappella rendering of the traditional lamentation "In the Old Churchyard," on which Stanley's unaccompanied, husky vocal reaches levels of subtle emotional expressiveness that are beyond the scope of most mortals. Stanley's Virginia preacher buddy Bill Crawford contributes "King of All Kings" and "Sing Songs About Jesus," rousing toe-tappers that allow ample room for the main man to dig into the elegant, straightforward lyrics as the band cooks up an impressive ensemble dialogue featuring some sparkling solo work, especially by fleet-fingered banjo man Steve Sparkman. Two old warhorses, "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and Albert Brumley's "I'll Fly Away," are studies in emotional contrast, the former being a stately, a cappella group sing highlighted by eerie handclaps; the latter is a soaring, harmonized, and fiddle-fired celebration of the looming hereafter. Most moving of all is "On a High, High Mountain," on which Stanley's recitation of his friend Dean Deel's wrenching reflections on life and death, as inspired by a visit to his mother's gravesite, is truly chilling. Accompanied only by John Rigsby's double-tracked fiddle, Stanley's unembroidered voice stirs the soul with the power of mighty waters. Shine on, good man. Shine on.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/07/2005
Label: Rebel Records
UPC: 0032511181022
catalogNumber: 111810
Rank: 24641

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ralph Stanley   Primary Artist,Vocals
Jack Cooke   Vocals,Baritone (Vocal),Double Bass,Bass Fiddle
Steve Sparkman   Banjo,Hand Clapping
James Alan Shelton   Guitar,Rhythm Guitar,Hand Clapping,Double Bass,Bass Fiddle
John Rigsby   Fiddle,Mandolin,Vocals,Baritone (Vocal),Tenor (Vocal),Vocal Harmony
Ralph Stanley   Guitar,Rhythm Guitar,Hand Clapping
Amber Davis   Vocal Harmony
Martha Davis   Vocal Harmony
Nathan Stanley   Mandolin

Technical Credits

Dolly Parton   Composer
Pee Wee King   Composer
Bill Crawford   Composer
John Matthias   Composer
Albert E. Brumley   Composer
J.L. Frank   Composer
Ralph Stanley   Producer,Audio Production
Alan Maggard   Engineer
Traditional   Composer
Joel Turner   Composer

Customer Reviews

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Shine On 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Playing Time – 40:04 -- After listening to a number of new acoustic and country releases, I always come back to queue up and appreciate some good old-time mountain music. Ralph Stanley’s ‘Shine On” is a bluegrass gospel album that makes us not only treasure musical roots but also to revel in the glory of God. Of course, Ralph Stanley likes to sing gospel. He believes in it, and a lot of others do too. Ralph once said, “We were raised in the churches. We were raised to sing gospel and respect gospel music. I’m not necessarily trying to convert people with it, but it would tickle me if I knew I did. And which, I have got letters and so forth from people that said it had, you know, and I feel good that they do.” Singing and playing in a lonesome style full of feeling, Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys (John Rigsby, Ralph Stanley II, Steve Sparkman, James Alan Shelton, Jack Cooke) choose material from the traditional canon as well as from contemporary songwriters like Dolly Parton who penned the title cut. Nathan Stanley picks the mandolin on two cuts, Albert Brumley’s “I’ll Fly Away” and Bill Crawford’s “King of All Kings.” The elder Stanley sings “The Old Church Yard” solo without any accompaniment. The Clinch Mountain Boys’ a cappella quartet is featured on “Sing Songs About Jesus,” while “Why Should We Start and Fear to Die” has John Rigsby along with Junior, Marsha and Amber Davis singing a response in unison to Ralph’s lead. This is in the Old Regular Baptist style, where a leader sings out each line, and then is followed by a group (usually the congregation) singing in unison. An a cappella trio with hand claps on the chorus is the rendition chosen for “Swing Low, Swing Chariot,” a song that Ralph sung at Bill Monroe’s funeral. The song, “On a High, High Mountain” is given a lean arrangement of only Rigsby’s fiddles to Ralph’s recitation. Only guitar and bass accompany Pearlie Mullin’s “The Lowest Valley,” lead vocals sung by John Rigsby on the verses. Many of the songs on “Shine On” have happy, upbeat and joyous themes. This gospel recording has been long awaited. On February 25, 2007, Ralph Stanley will be 80 years old. Although his voice is a bit gravelly or husky in spots on this album, some of that rustic character actually enhances his charm. There is no better message than the message of Jesus Christ. Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys thank God for His guidance. The music on “Shine On” lifts us up, aligns our hearts with God, and will lead others to Him. (Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now)