LOS ANGELES (AP) — The old farm boy who used to raise cattle in a place called Big Spraddle Creek says at age 87, he doesn't even raise a garden.
But Ralph Stanley still raises his voice. And when he does so in tandem with that distinctive claw-hammer style of five-string banjo picking, his "High Lonesome Sound" that helped create and define bluegrass music still comes through true and clear.
The last of the original bluegrass legends arrives Saturday at the Huck Finn Jubilee in Ontario for a rare Southern California appearance that was to be part of a farewell tour. But just like that garden, retirement got put on hold.
"That rumor got started, and I guess it was partly my fault, because I said it," the jovial musician noted by phone earlier this week. "But then I decided I feel as good, and I play as good, and I'm in as good a voice as I was a hundred years ago."
So instead he'll be back on the road this summer. Just like he was during the 68 previous summers.
He'll do all the old mountain songs like "Man of Constant Sorrow," ''Will the Circle Be Unbroken" and of course "O Death," which won him a Grammy.