Bluegrass brothers: Bobby Osborne, Jesse McReynolds and Ralph Stanley


Jesse McReynolds and Bobby Osborne picking a tune July 28 at the Rockygrass Festival in Lyons, Co. (Photo by Lisa Lehndorff)

5 p.m. July 28, Lyons Co. – I am in a sort of blessed bluegrass haze, sitting backstage at the Rockygrass Festival. Bobby Osborne is onstage nearby singing his biggest hit, “Rocky Top.” Earlier he brought Jesse McReynolds onstage to play and sing, Now, Dr. Ralph Stanley is sitting a the next table, a presence so craggy and commanding he should on Mount Rushmore.

That’s Bobby Osborne, of the seminal Osborne Brothers.

That’s Jesse McReynolds, half of the equally legendary bluegrass duo, Jim and Jesse.

There’s Dr. Ralph Stanley of the iconic Stanley Brothers.

Three brothers who lost brothers and still keep the flame alive. With the passing of Earl Scruggs this year, the three are among the few survivors from the 1940s legends who created the genre we now casually label “bluegrass.” I’m not the morbid type but I’m having a hard time not staring at each of them trying to freeze-frame the iimage in my mind, wondering as I did when I last saw Doc Watson if this would be the final time.

All I can say or blog is that I’m deeply grateful for the music and the opportunity to see them.

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