Bluegrass pioneer Ralph Stanley is a genuine music legend. Bill Monroe may have launched bluegrass, but Ralph and his brother Carter came up with the high, lonesome vocal style that has long been the genre's key element. Ralph and Carter Stanley's Clinch Mountain Boys helped popularize bluegrass in the 1940s, and Ralph carried on as band leader after Carter's untimely death in the mid-'60s. Later a mentor to younger artists like Ricky Skaggs and Keith Whitley, Ralph is still a formidable banjoist today. His high, piercing tenor vocals are often breathtaking, capable of practically raising the dead with a harrowing intensity that can boil bone marrow. Now 86, Stanley has said this is his farewell tour.
Fri., Jan. 10, 7 p.m., 2014