The best bluegrass picks, Jan. 4

CorrespondentJanuary 3, 2013 

Ralph Stanley.

COURTESY OF KEITH CASE & ASSOCIATES — Courtesy of Keith Case & Associates

  • Other highlights: • On Saturday, the ArtsCenter will host the 15th anniversary concert of bluegrass music’s chart-topping Grass Cats. The Raleigh-based quintet recently released their CD, “The Mountains My Baby and Me.”

The ArtsCenter’s 10th annual American Roots series debuts tonight with bluegrass pioneer Ralph Stanley and His Clinch Mountain Boys. Performing as the Stanley Brothers, Ralph and his brother Carter began their professional career in 1946 in Bristol, Tenn., on WCYB’s popular “Farm and Fun Time” radio show. Often credited as the first band to emulate the style of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys, the Stanleys’ popularity soared during the folk revival of the 1950s and 60s. Following Carter’s death in 1966, Ralph assembled his Clinch Mountain Boys, which has featured several prominent vocalists including Ricky Skaggs, Keith Whitley, Roy Lee Centers, and Larry Sparks. Ralph’s performance of “O Death,” in the 2000 film “O Brother, Where Art Thou?,” captured the attention of a younger generation. Details or tickets: www.artscenterlive.org.

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