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Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys plus Laurie Lewis & the Right Hands
Saturday, February 24, 2007
timeless purity from the soul of bluegrass
@ St. John's Presbyterian Church
2727 College Avenue

Door 7:30 P.M., Music 8:00 P.M. | Purchase advance tickets: $32.50

It's always a treat to see Ralph Stanley perform live, especially since the film Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? and the subsequent Down From the Mountain tour swept him to Grammy award-winning stardom. Those who saw the movie will recall the goosebumps raised by this superb musician's bone-chilling a cappella rendition of "Oh Death" — no one can sing like Dr. Ralph, with his voice that seems to distill all the world's sorrows and carry them straight to your soul.

Born in 1927 near the rugged Virginia-Tennessee border, Ralph and his brother Carter became ground-breaking pioneers who helped re-shape the Anglo-Celtic ballads and fiddle tunes of southeast Appalachia into a bold new string band music now known as bluegrass. Following Carter's death in 1966, Ralph shifted the band's emphasis to an older, sparer mountain style, placing his own stamp on the music with his haunting voice and banjo playing. His music is a uniquely American form: sometimes rough-hewn, sometimes satin-smooth, it is always filled with powerful, raw emotion that seems to have poured straight out of the rocks and runs of his native Virginia mountains.

In six decades of performing, Ralph has set a standard for accomplishment and integrity unequaled in any category of music. He has toured throughout the world, earned dozens of honors (most recently the Living Legend Award from the Library of Congress, the 2002 Grammys for Best Country Male Vocalist Performance and Album of the Year, and the 2004 opening of the Ralph Stanley Museum and Traditional Mountain Music Center in Clintwood, Virginia), and recorded more than 200 albums, including his recent self-named solo album from DMZ/Columbia.

Ralph's band, the Clinch Mountain Boys, includes his son, guitarist Ralph Stanley ll and his grandson, Nathan Stanley on mandolin, along with lead guitarist James Alan Shelton, Steve Sparkman on banjo, Dewey Brown on fiddle, and Jack Cooke on string bass.

But wait: there's more! Laurie Lewis & the Right Hands kick off each show with a set spotlighting their great energy and artistry. A big fan of Ralph ever since she saw him perform when she was a student at Berkeley High, Laurie's collaborations with the bluegrass legend include the famed Masters of the Banjo tour and album of the 1990s, and Ralph's inclusion of Laurie on his critically acclaimed Clinch Mountain Country album of more recent vintage. Laurie is looking forward to sharing the stage with him in her hometown tonight. A key figure in bluegrass, traditional and folk music circles, Laurie's songwriting, fiddling and crystal-clear singing have brought her national recognition, a Grammy, and two International Bluegrass Music Association Awards for Female Vocalist of the Year.

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Visit Ralph's website

Visit Laurie's website

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