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Though bluegrass festivals seemed to sprout like mountain wildflowers across the United States, bluegrass music had never been one of the most popular country music idioms. It therefore came as a surprise to many when bluegrass pioneer Ralph Stanley beat out such country stars as Lyle Lovett, Tim McGraw, and Johnny Cash to capture the 2002 Grammy Award for best male country vocal performance. The vivid winning recording-the song "O Death," an unaccompanied vocal in Stanley's high, wavery tenor voice-was a highlight of the sound-track album from the film O Brother, Where Art Thou? After six Grammy nominations, it was the first time that Stanley-at the age of 75-had won top honours.