Ralph Stanley (born in 25 February 1927) is an American bluegrass musician. Stanley was born in Big Spraddle Creek, Virginia, near Stratton, Dickenson County, Virginia, USA. The son of Lucy and Lee Stanley, Ralph Edmond Stanley grew up in rural southwestern Virginia. Ralph learned to play the banjo claw-hammer style from his mother. It was her inspiration, coupled with Ralph's natural ability, which led Ralph and his older guitar-playing brother Carter to form the Stanley Brothers Band in 1946 after his service abroad during World War 2.