Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys @ Boulder Theater

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:: Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys ::
:: Boulder Theater :: July 10, 2011 ::

Photos and words by Josh Elioseff

Opening the show for the legendary Ralph Stanley was Sierra Hull, an up-and-coming bluegrass ingenue whose talent and energy combined with that of her backing band made this a good start to an old-fashioned, down home evening.

Sierra has a style reminiscent of early Alison Krauss and Union Station and an innocent charm and wit about her, leading many to surmise that they will indeed be going somewhere in the coming years.

The Clinch Mountain Boys accompanied Ralph Stanley onstage next. Beginning the evening with the crowd favorite, Man of Constant Sorrow, and continued on for the next hour and a half proving to the crowd that age is indeed only a number. With a voice only slightly tarnished by years (and, as Ralph repeated throughout the show, spending time in the rain and altitude), he led his band of many years through many favorites, old and new.

His grandson Nathan is carrying on the family tradition well. With a strong voice and commanding stage presence, he proved that the Stanley name will be a presence and a force in the bluegrass world for years to come. And the Boys, well, they’re strong as ever, with showmanship, skill, and, most of all, big huge grins. If I were playing behind this living legend, I’d probably crack a smile too!

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