Portraits from our Past
Southwest Virginia Music

The Stanley Brothers

Music: 1940's - 1960's

Ralph and Carter Stanley were born in Dickenson County, Virginia, and began performing as the Stanley Brothers and the Clinch Mountain Boys in 1946. After two months on WNVA in Norton, the band moved to WCYB's "Farm and Fun Time" program in Bristol. The group started recording with Rich-R-Tone in Johnson City, Tennessee in 1947. The Stanley Brother's recorded for Mercury in 1953 and then, in 1958, switched to Starday and King. They moved to Live Oak, Florida and played on the Sewanee River Jamboree, a live weekly radio show. They then secured sponsorship from Jim Walter Homes for a 30-minute syndicated television show and a radio show called the "Jim Walter Jamboree." The Stanley Brothers' mountain sound was popular in the folk revival of the 60's with the group appearing at events like the Chicago Folk Festival. In 1966, the group was the first bluegrass group to perform before the European audiences, touring eight European countries as the "Festival of American Folk and Country Music." Their original recording of "Angel Band" was featured on "Oh Brother Where Art Thou?" soundtrack.


The Southwest Virginia Museum is a member of the American
Association of Museums, the American Association of State and Local History, and the Virginia Association of Museums.