Ralph Stanley cuts an official Obama campaign ad. He’s pretty well known by now, obviously, but he’s not the type to put on airs. Not long after O Brother, Where Art Thou?, in between being the subject of a New Yorker profile and an appearance on Letterman, I caught him in concert at Martinsville High School headlining a Masons benefit; the opening act was the head of the local lodge and his band.

Eric Zorn notes that this might sound surprising, but it really shouldn’t be. Ralph Stanley is old, which means he almost certainly grew up a Democrat, and my bet is that he’s a populist Appalachian Democrat of the Robert Byrd type that evolved with the party rather than break from it, not least because of the focus the Kennedys and Lyndon Johnson put on the area. Stanley campaigned for Edwards last year.

Anyway, he’s not the first major 20th century Virginia figure to line up behind Obama; former governor Linwood Holton endorsed him awhile back.

NB: The video is great, but this one’s also worth it (embedding’s disabled).