Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys
Buskirk-Chumley Theater, Bloomington
Friday, Feb. 9, 8 p.m., $25
Get to Bloomington early Friday to grab dinner on the square and then journey straight to the mountains of Appalachia with Grammy Award-winning Ralph Stanley’s haunting vocals and poignant banjo-picking.
Stanley, a Virginia native, began his performing career with his older brother, Carter. The siblings formed the Clinch Mountain Boys and became famous for their gospel-like duets. After Carter’s unfortunate death in 1966, Stanley began to explore his own rugged, mournful sound.
His style provides a clear path back to the origins of bluegrass. Irish fiddle tunes, gospel music, blues and ballads from Scotland and England all contribute to his sound. Mountain music is a genre of its own, and many early Appalachian spirituals emerged as tradition from the settlers who sang of day-to-day life experiences. Stanley’s unique voice and clawhammer style of banjo playing call the listener back to the rocky plains and roots of the bluegrass tradition.
Well-known for the success of “O Death” from the popular movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Stanley also won a Grammy in 2002 for Best Country Male Vocalist.