VIDEO: Dr. Ralph Stanley takes a victory lap at The ArtsCenter | Music
INDY Week's music blog

Archives | RSS

Monday, October 28, 2013

VIDEO: Dr. Ralph Stanley takes a victory lap at The ArtsCenter

Posted by on Mon, Oct 28, 2013 at 1:56 PM

With 67 years of performing under his belt, Dr. Ralph Stanley announced this summer that his next tour would be his last. His farewell tour kicked off a few weeks ago and runs through mid-2014. Stanley is flanked by a revolving cast of players that comprise the Clinch Mountain Boys, among them his grandson and lead singer Nathan Stanley.

Walking into The ArtsCenter during soundcheck last Monday evening, the smell of Allen & Son BBQ filled the theater. Nathan Stanley attempted to wrangle the group for an extended soundcheck, but the allure of the Pittsboro institution's barbecue proved too great. Out in the lobby, ArtsCenter staff Brad Porter and Art Menius made final preparations for the sold-out crowd, which had begun entering the building. Merchandise tables offered CDs from every member of the group as well as discs from throughout Stanley's long and storied career.

As the lights lowered in the theater, the humming crowd hushed to silence. A standing ovation greeted Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys as they took the stage. This was their second sold-out show at The ArtsCenter this year; the first, in January, opened The ArtsCenter's 10th annual American Roots Series.

Throughout the evening, the group showcased songs that reflect the backbone of bluegrass music as written and performed by Ralph and Carter Stanley. With some guidance from his grandson, the 86-year-old Stanley demonstrated the quintessential high lonesome sound that has earned him many accolades (including the Presidential Medal of Freedom) on "Man of Constant Sorrow," "Rank Stranger" and the always haunting "Oh Death." When he wasn't singing, Dr. Stanley sat tapping his foot along as each Clinch Mountain Boy got a chance to feature their material.

Stanley's life has been a fascinating one, with many highs and lows. His must-read book, Man of Constant Sorrow, details the long road traveled to this farewell tour. Although some question whether it's worth seeing Stanley in concert now, since his role in the performance is only occasional, when he steps to the mic and lets out that high harmony, the answer is easy. Go see him as many times as you can before that stunning sound fades away entirely.

Below are two clips from the performance, including Dewey Brown of Snow Camp, N.C., on fiddle. Thanks to Alysse Miller for her work on this piece.

Ralph & Nathan Stanley, "Rank Stranger"

Dewey Brown, "Lee Highway Blues"

Tags: , , , , ,

Pin It

Related Locations


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Music

Twitter Activity


I was proud to call him Uncle Willy cousin with the same birthday

by Blackfoot on Proud to call him Lumbee: Willie French Lowery, 1944-2012 (Music)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

I was proud to call him Uncle Willy cousin with the same birthday

by Blackfoot on Proud to call him Lumbee: Willie French Lowery, 1944-2012 (Music)

Revive is my people. If folks were offended by this, I can assure you it wasn't intentional. Revive Music was …

by Matthew Allen on Art of Cool Festival, Night One: Revive Big Band's Music-History Concert Leaves Out Women to an Absurd Degree (Music)

Small crowds like the one in Utrecht The Netherlands where I was with my 7 year young daughter may be …

by George Hendriks on The blues of Randall Bramblett's career-long cult status—and the promise of his new Devil Music (Music)

Wow! I am speechless. Skylar that was amazing! You are very talented. I love your vocal range and passion. Thank …

by Rita Romaine Rakestraw on Video Premiere: Phil Cook and Skylar Gudasz Nod to Alice Gerrard in New Tribute Clips (Music)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation