Country Picks

The best country picks, March 1

CorrespondentFebruary 28, 2013 

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Ralph Stanley performs with His Clinch Mountain Boys at the Stagecoach Country Music Festival at The Empire Polo Club on April 28, 2012 in Indio, California. They will pick and sing at Wesleyan College’s Dunn Center in Rocky Mount tonight.

ROBYN BECK — AFP/Getty Images

  • Other highlights • Also tonight, the Gibson Brothers, bluegrass music’s Entertainer of the Year, bring their brilliance to Fletcher Theater. On Saturday, patriotic country entertainer Lee Greenwood will sing “God Bless the USA” and other hits at the Dunn Center, while ’80s singer/songwriter Karla Bonoff performs at the ArtsCenter in Carrboro, which also welcomes Judy Collins on Sunday. On Wednesday, Lincoln Theatre hosts traditional country singer Holly Williams.

In 1946, Ralph Stanley was a 19-year-old, fresh-off-the-farm banjo picker when he and his brother, Carter, began performing together on radio station WCYB in Bristol, Tenn.

Beginning as an old-timey brother duet, the Stanleys were soon converted to the music of Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys. As one of the first acts to emulate Monroe’s new sound, the Stanley Brothers and the Clinch Mountain Boys soared as one of the most popular bluegrass acts of the 1950s and ’60s.

Following Carter’s death in 1966, Ralph mentored a host of young talents, including Ricky Skaggs and Keith Whitley. At 86, he’s the elder statesman of bluegrass music.

The Grammy-winning banjoist has been honored with a National Heritage Award and a National Medal of Arts. Friday, Ralph and His Clinch Mountain Boys will pick and sing at Wesleyan College’s Dunn Center in Rocky Mount. www.ncwc.edu/arts/dunncenter

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