Stanley’s Standard

Rating: NNNNNSure, the Down From The Mountain extravaganza is loaded tight with some of the most celebrated roots country and.


Rating: NNNNN

Sure, the Down From The Mountain extravaganza is loaded tight with some of the most celebrated roots country and folk artists alive, but strangely enough, Toronto’s own Backstabbers, who are probably more closely connected with Ralph Stanley’s old-time mountain style of playing, will be in the audience, not onstage.

That suits Backstabbers mandolinist Tom Parker just fine, since he’ll probably still be recovering from the release party for his country string band’s brilliant new Let The Sunshine In (Run Mountain), at the Canadian Corps Association Hall (201 Niagara) Saturday (February 2).

He’d prefer to sit back, relax and watch the once-in-a-lifetime parade of traditional music champions — Emmylou Harris, Patty Loveless, the Del McCoury Band and Norman & Nancy Blake — and pay special attention to Ralph Stanley.

“We just don’t get the chance to see this many great musicians playing in one place, on one night. It’s phenomenal. I guess we can thank O Brother for making this possible. You know this alignment of stars is never going to happen again.

“With that many people involved, I’m sure each artist will only get to do two or three songs, but I’m really looking forward to seeing Ralph Stanley. I’ve got a lot of Stanley Brothers records, and they’ve been a big influence on us. You just can’t beat those brother harmonies, and I love the way Ralph has always stayed true to that sound.

“While many of their contemporaries were experimenting with drums — even Bill Monroe tried some electric guitar — the Stanleys kept it mountain through thick and thin. Even when his brother Carter died in 66, Ralph didn’t go country — he went further back to his roots. Ralph is hardcore.”

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