The recent passing of 94-year-old Grand Ole Opry star Little Jimmy Dickens, along with the late 2014 death of the Cajun Cowboy, Jimmy C. Newman, gave us pause to consider the dwindling list of country music elders. Below are the oldest remaining nationally known country music performers.
Diminutive Little Jimmy Dickens, 94, passed away January 2 in Nashville
Dr. Ralph Stanley -- Born in McClure, Virginia on Feb. 25, 1927, along with his guitarist older brother Carter, Stanley was part of the Clinch Mountain Boys. The band was formed in 1946 and became one of the most celebrated bluegrass outfits in the history of the genre. The brothers soon came to rival Bill Monroe, the big dog of the bluegrass world at the end of World War II. The Stanleys recorded for the eclectic King Records label originally; James Brown, another King artist, was present when the Stanley's recorded "Finger Poppin' Time" and was said to be highly impressed.
The brothers moved to Columbia Records in early 1949, which caused Monroe to leave the label and move to Decca, where he recorded his classic material. With the passing of Carter Stanley in 1967, Ralph Stanley carried on alone. Stanley won a Grammy for his 2002 a capella performance of "O Death" in the box office smash O Brother, Where Art Thou. He continues to record and perform. In 2006 he was awarded a National Medal of Arts. His next album, set to be recorded in the next few months, will be produced by Jim Lauderdale and Buddy Miller.More »