>Bluegrass at the Ryman: Ralph Stanley, Jim Lauderdale

>It’s always interesting to get to hear one of the “legends” of a genre in concert. I’d heard Ralph Stanley perform last year and really enjoyed the show. His old-fashioned, “back woods” blue-grass music is some I really enjoyed, though I was really only familiar with his work from the “O Brother” soundtrack.

And while he was good this year and just as solid as last, I still found the set this time not quite as good. Part of that could be that he included Alison Krauss as a special guest last year. Or maybe it could be that it’s another year for Stanley, who is still great but is definitely getting up there in years. It wasn’t a bad show by any means.

I will have to admit I wasn’t a big fan of the opening act of Jim Lauderdale. Show presenter Eddie Stubbs spent a lot of time talking up Lauderdale’s career and talking about his talents as a song-writer. And maybe he is very good, but I found his whole show a bit bland. It reminded me of a lot of the reasons I’m not a huge fan of the current crop of country music–it all sounds too much the same. The one song I did like was called “Zaccheus” and I found myself wishing the set had more of songs like it or that sounded different than what we got….

Oh well. This week should be better because it’s the Steep Canyon Rangers, a group I am looking forward to hearing again….

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