Ralph Stanley

Wintergrass may have jumped ship to bourgeois Bellevue, but this show is proof that bluegrass still has a home in Tacoma. With his clawhammer banjo and folksy vocal style, the legendary 83-year-old Ralph Stanley helped take bluegrass to unparalleled commercial heights with the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. Since then, he’s released a handful of records that explore the bluegrass influence in various musical genres, from albums full of gospel to albums of nothing but Carter Family covers. Similarly, the Blind Boys of Alabama make traditional music with a penchant for exploration. The ever-evolving gospel group—founded in 1939—last year recoded Duets, with vocal contributions from Ben Harper, Lou Reed, and other acolytes. Consider tonight’s concert to be an American music history lesson for the hipster crowd. BRIAN J. BARR

Fri., Oct. 8, 7:30 p.m., 2010

 
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