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Stagecoach 2009: Ralph Stanley*

April 26, 2009 |  6:11 pm

Backstage at Stagecoach

Mountain music patriarch Ralph Stanley just arrived at the traditional-music themed Mustang Stage sporting a nastily bruised right eye, bandaged above and below.

I asked if he's OK, and the 82-year-old quipped, "You should see the other guy!"

Ricky Skaggs, having just wrapped a scintillating set with his band, joined the conversation and extended a heartfelt, "I'm real sorry to see you like this, Ralph."

The claw-hammer banjo master said he'd been standing on a stool cleaning an air conditioner back home in Virginia when the stool slipped, sending him to the floor.

That was Saturday, yet he still boarded a plane for the transcontinental flight west to make his Stagecoach return appearance. Talk about a trouper.

-- Randy Lewis

*Update: An earlier version referred to Stanley's home in West Virginia. He lives in Virginia.