Search - Ralph Stanley :: Distant Land to Roam

Distant Land to Roam
Ralph Stanley
Distant Land to Roam
Genres: Country, Folk, World Music, Pop, Christian & Gospel, Gospel
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #1

Given the direct line of progression between the songs of the Carter Family and the mountain music of the Stanley Brothers, it's surprising that it's taken the venerable Ralph Stanley more than a hundred albums before rele...  more »


Larger Image
Listen to Samples

CD Details

All Artists: Ralph Stanley
Title: Distant Land to Roam
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 1
Label: Sony
Original Release Date: 1/1/2006
Re-Release Date: 5/30/2006
Genres: Country, Folk, World Music, Pop, Christian & Gospel, Gospel
Styles: Bluegrass, Classic Country, Traditional Folk, North America, Appalachian, Southern Gospel, Country & Bluegrass
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 827969362921

Given the direct line of progression between the songs of the Carter Family and the mountain music of the Stanley Brothers, it's surprising that it's taken the venerable Ralph Stanley more than a hundred albums before releasing one devoted solely to the Carters. The wait was worth it, for the rough-hewn soulfulness of Stanley's vocals and the unvarnished production truly conjure a distant land--a musical expanse far removed from the present--of seminal songs suffused with faith and a strong sense of mortality. From train songs ("Engine 143") to seafaring songs ("Waves on the Sea") to prisoner songs (the oft-recorded "Worried Man Blues"), Stanley takes material written by A.P. Carter or popularized by the Carter Family and plumbs the emotional depths. Many of these songs are spirituals, with guest autoharp by Mike Seeger and call-and-response harmonies on the opening "God Gave Noah the Rainbow Sign," while the uptempo "Keep on the Firing Line" suggests a soldier-like commitment to Christ and the harmony-laden hymn "On a Hill Lone and Grey" describes the Crucifixion. The most familiar song here, "Motherless Children," is also the most powerful, with Stanley's a cappella first verse joined by the mournful strains of a funereal fiddle for the rest of the song. With "I'm Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes," the album shows how the Carter Family inspired what we've since called country music. --Don McLeese More from Ralph Stanley and the Carter Family

The Complete Columbia Stanley Brothers
The Stanley Brothers
The Complete Mercury Recordings
The Stanley Brothers
Clinch Mountain Country
Ralph Stanley & Friends
Can the Circle Be Unbroken: Country Music's First Family
The Carter Family
The Carter Family: 1927-1934
The Carter Family
The Carter Family, Vol. 2: 1935-1941
The Carter Family

Similarly Requested CDs


CD Reviews

I was surprised
moe armstrong | Cambridge, MA United States | 06/09/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"First off, I love Ralph Stanley. I been listening to Ralph and Carter Stanley for decades. I even got a small farm spread in Virginia close to Ralph Stanley. Seen Ralph and the group at the Russell County Fair. So, I knew what to expect. I was wrong.

This album is milestorne. Forget, that this is the Carter Family and I been singing and listening to this stuff for over fifty years. I have never heard Ralph Stanley this good and never heard the Carter Family songs done with such conviction. This album shows the genius of T Bone Burnett. He is able to take a person who I have heard for years and songs that I have known and sung for years-and make a musical materpiece. Bring out something that I never heard before.

The only experience that I can compare this to are seeing the photos of Ansel Adams. Lanscapes from the South West and towns in New Mexico where I had traveled. He captured an essence that I had driven by and missed every day.

God bless the talent of Ralph Stanley. He as seen a life which will never come around again. Thank you T Bone Burnett for being able to capture the deepest essence of Ralph Stanley.

moe armstrong"
He earned every Star.
John A. Gregorio | Castalian Springs, TN | 05/31/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Carter Family Songs and Ralph Stanley. How could it not be anything less than great. I suppose it could as most musician have a cd in their catalog that they would rather forget.
You can look at the reviews of his other cds, and they will state how great a voice he has for country/oldtime (chose your label) music. There are a handful of musician who can sing this music and take you back to the times it was written and the people who wrote and sung it. Jeanette Carter comes to my mind this morning.
There are many fine modern covers that are good in their own right by Emmylou Harris and others, but the primal, elemental, born of the mountains voice of Ralph Stanley brings these songs to the place they always must return, the soil."
Bluegrass legend revisits his country roots
hyperbolium | Earth, USA | 06/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Though Ralph Stanley made his name as a purveyor of bluegrass, his earliest influences - the music that he and his brother Carter grew up with - was the songbook of fellow Virginians, The Carter Family. Stanley's musical legacy (both with his brother and solo) followed many of the conventions laid down by Bill Monroe, but the forlorn and mournful tone of his singing has always been rooted in the Southern songs of tragedy and deliverance collected by A.P. Carter. With this latest release, Stanley revisits the depression-era songs of his childhood, bringing the wisdom of his years (and the breathtaking burnish of his aging voice) to bear on the emotional foundations of his youth.

Backed by his own Clinch Mountain Boys (augmented by Mike Seeger on autoharp), this is a backporch folk album, without the speedy tempos and intricate picking of the group's bluegrass work. The song selection mixes familiar Carter songs like "Worried Man Blues" and "I'm Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes" with less well-known entries that span the pain, longing, and ultimate faith that have sustained the Carter Family catalog for over a half-century. At 79, and with a lengthy career that's brought international fame, Stanley serves easily as a living link back to the hard-scrabble lives from which these songs sprang, and the family of artists that originally brought them to fame.

Those who've known Stanley's work since the early days, as well as those who came on-board with his broader emergence in "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" will treasure this opportunity to hear a master circle back to his roots. The Carter Family's 75-year-old songbook once again proves itself a vital, living and agelessly relevant collection. [©2006 hyperbolium dot com]"