Cover Song Spotlight #1

Rank Stranger by Ralph Stanley

Critical Country
4 min readAug 22, 2022


Reed George, CC BY-SA 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Since recently getting into guitar, I’ve really come to appreciate the art of an authentic cover video. I think there are so many amazing singers and pickers who go completely unnoticed, and I’ve decided to start a series showcasing some of my favorite YouTube covers of some of my favorite songs!

The first edition of this new series is going to be a bit of a trial run to see what y’all think of the idea, featuring covers of the song that got me into this deep rabbit hole; “Rank Stranger” by Ralph Stanley.

“Rank Stranger” was written by the famous gospel writer, Albert Brumley Sr. and was made famous by the Stanley Brothers in the 1960s. Since then it has been a staple in the world of bluegrass and gospel music, and is considered an all time classic.

I could show you the really notable covers of this song, like Ricky Skaggs, and Billy Strings, but that’s not the point of this series. I want to show you the everyday people who just sat down and recorded themselves covering this tune, and show off the hidden talent that you can find on YouTube.

Angie Sutherland and her father, Edgar Napier

I was on the fence about including this one, as it’s one of the first results when you search for covers of this song, but I just couldn’t leave it off. This cover is the essence of what I want on these lists; family and/or friends bonding over music.

Edgar showcases such a casual talent on guitar, making it look easy while Angie does the same with her spectacular voice. These two are absolutely perfect for bluegrass, and they kill this song.

Jordan Sheppard and his grandmother, Joyce



Critical Country

I’m Ethan, and this is my (mostly) country music blog: Critical Country | Top Writer in Country Music and Music | Contact me at