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Pickin' and Grinnin'

My introduction to the banjo came via Ronny Cox's musical duel with an albino porch dweller in Deliverance. If it weren't for a young arrow-headed Steve Martin, I may never have learned to love the instrument. But the banjo found a place in my heart and a master in Ralph Stanley. The Virginian has made quite a name for himself as a singer and musician, developing his unique "Stanley Style" of banjo picking. For more than half a century he has written songs and performed with his band, the Clinch Mountain Boys—a diverse group that includes three generations of Stanleys (son Ralph II and grandson Nathan). You can hear Stanley’s performance of "O Death" on the soundtrack of O Brother, Where Art Thou?, one of the astounding 170 albums on which he has performed. He's a member of the Grand Ole Opry, an inductee in the International Bluegrass Hall of Honor, an Honorary Doctor of Music and a Shriner. And he's still on the road four days a week. See for yourself this weekend at the Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Ave., as he takes the stage, Stanley style. Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys perform at 8 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $25 to $35. Call 214-824-9933 or visit
Fri., Feb. 24, 8 p.m.


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