Hiltons, VA -- If you were to gather together an average cross-section of people and ask them if they thought it would be an advantage for a performer to be the child of a living legend, most would probably conclude that it would have to be a definite plus. After all, the doors of opportunity would be quicker to open, and the spotlight of public attention that so many artists spend years trying to cultivate would be yours because – well – just because. Famous by default, so to speak, and doubtless those are very real and tangible advantages. But then there’s the downside – pressure. The learning curve, the whole growth process with all its potential missteps and pitfalls, is a public document. Most artists get to take those perilous first steps of their careers in relative anonymity, a nameless face in the crowd. Saturday, May 10th, 2014, at 7:30 p.m., the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a concert by Ralph Stanley II. Admission to the concert is $10 for adults, $1 for children 6 to 11, under age 6 free.
As one might expect for the son of a renowned banjo player, the first instrument Ralph II ever held was a banjo. At the ripe old age of three, Ralph (or simply “Two” as he is called by his family and friends), had his first lesson from the elder Stanley, learning a simple finger roll. It turned out, however, that he would not be following in his father’s footsteps when it came to his choice of instrument. He soon fell under the spell of the undisputed king of boyhood musical desires, the guitar. He spotted one under his sister’s bed, and according to Ralph, “I wanted to play it. When I was five years old, I started with the guitar and I’ve been playing it ever since.”
But despite his interest in the guitar, and the fact that he was occasionally traveling with the Clinch Mountain Boys on the road, he had not yet developed an ambition to play professionally. It took until age twelve and an old 1977 video of the late Keith Whitley during his tenure as lead singer for the Clinch Mountain Boys to inspire him to become a professional musician. After seeing Whitley with the elder Stanley, he was hooked and spent hours in the family basement honing his skills, and weathering the comparisons to his late Uncle Carter. His persistence paid off, and he took the stage as lead singer with Ralph Sr. and the Clinch Mountain Boys in June of 1995. Since then, he has earned the respect of Stanley fans everywhere and has garnered praise as a strong new artist in his own right.
Ralph II has had two Grammy nominations on previous albums he recorded with Rebel Records. In 2002 he earned his first Grammy along with his father, Dr. Ralph Stanley, for their collaboration with Jim Lauderdale on Lost in the Lonesome Pines. Ralph II has proven to be an accomplished songwriter and has six solo albums under his belt, along with the newly released and highly acclaimed duet album with his father titled Side by Side.
This will mark Ralph II’s fifth performance at the Fold with his band – now an annual event. The Stanley and Carter families have been pivotal in preserving the region’s rich musical tradition and carrying the music of the mountains throughout the world. Come see this legendary performer in one of the region’s most historical venues – the Carter Fold! Go to http://ralph2.com/ or www.drralphstanley.com for additional information.
Carter Family Memorial Music Center, Incorporated, is a nonprofit, rural arts organization established to preserve traditional, acoustic, mountain music. For further information on the center, go to http://www.carterfamilyfold.org. Shows from the Carter Family Fold can be accessed on the internet at http://www.carterfoldshow.com.
Carter Music Center is part of the Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. You can visit the Crooked Road Music Trail site at http://thecrookedroad.org. Partial funding for programs at the center is provided by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. For recorded information on shows coming up at the Fold, call 276-386-6054. The Fold is on Facebook – page Carter Fold – and Twitter – @carterfoldinfo.