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Side By Side sees father and son Dr Ralph and Ralph Stanley II team up and contribute in equal parts to an album for the first time. Ralph II appeared as part of Dr Ralph’s Clinch Mountain Boys band for a number of years before his current solo tenure, and, on Side By Side both Stanleys remind listeners of some of Dr Ralph’s iconic albums of the 1970s, with songs courtesy of several songwriters delivered with truth, compelling musical accompaniment and the clear, distinct Stanley sound.

Thematically, many of the romantic songs on the record speak of sadness, and regret. Of course, this is a wider theme in many songs in genre, and geo-social area, such as Fred Stryker’s Don’t Step Over An Old Love, Buddy Brock, Gerald Ellenburg and Shawn Lane’s Don’t Weep For Me (delivered here by Dr Ralph in solo, unaccompanied recitation style), and Six Months Ain’t Long, where the subject reflects on a life forced to be lived alone after transgression.

Side By Side is refreshing and freeing. Songs of loss, passing, and regret are represented alongside those of mountain and home. They are delivered with love and togetherness, with meaning and heart. The album is another addition to Dr Ralph’s long and illustrious discography, and provides a welcome opportunity for II’s star to shine.