On the cover
of My Kind of Country Nathan
Stanley looks a bit like Elvis, with big bad ‘burns, slicked-back dark hair,
and shades. But unlike some Las Vegas Elvis clone, Nathan Stanley was born into
bluegrass/country royalty. He's the grandson of Dr. Ralph Stanley. He served
time with his grandfather's band, The Clinch Mountain Boys, and suffered for
his art – in 2009 he broke both legs in a car accident after a gig. His latest
album salutes the traditional country music he grew up with and features a
plethora of Opry royalty.
Accompanied by the likes of Del McCoury, Ricky Skaggs, Little Jimmy Dickens, Marty Stuart, Connie Smith, Larry Sparks, Stella Parton, Patty Loveless, John Anderson, Vince Gill and of course Dr. Ralph Stanley, Nathan Stanley soldiers his way through twenty-two country classics. From "Love's Gonna Live Here" to "A Satisfied Mind" Nathan enshrines all the songs in arrangements that are half Chet Atkins' Nashville Sound and half Buck Owens' Bakersfield twang. Most of the songs begin with Nathan singing lead. His voice is smooth as a baby's cheeks, and he doesn't try too hard. His vocal delivery reminds me of Willie Nelson. They both share a similar "aw shucks, I'm just singin'" way of delivering a line that lets the song stand on its own.
On My Kind of Country Nathan Stanley isn't afraid to mess with the classics. I still prefer Ringo's vocal delivery on "Act Naturally," but Nathan does a good job of bringing the song closer to its roots. Nathan's version of "Long Black Veil" is so unlike Lefty Frizell's original that he even changes the chord progression. "I'm so Lonesome I Could Cry" gets s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d out like homemade saltwater taffy, while "May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose" gets a "hot country" treatment, which actually works nicely. Maybe there's something to that genetics thing...