There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Almost 60 years after Ralph and Carter Stanley were discharged from the Army and started a band, the surviving brother is esteemed by alt-country types who consider him as unearthly an icon as Ian Curtis. The man captured by Herb E. Smith’s The Ralph Stanley Story, however, is not primarily the solemn singer of “O Death.” The documentary features a few anecdotes about the dearly departed and a quick spin through the family cemetery, but much of the talk is relentlessly everyday. (The point of one of Ralph’s long monologues turns out to be that Carter often used to eat at mealtimes.) Still, there is that eerie voice. When bluegrass became “newgrass” in the ’70s, Ralph remembers, he “sort of went back further.” The result is a singing style that, Dwight Yoakam notes, is “in the most flattering way I can say it, ancient.” Smith will introduce his documentary at 7 p.m. at Visions Bar Noir, 1927 Florida Ave. NW. $20 (proceeds benefit the Appalshop Production and Education Fund). (202) 667-0090. (Mark Jenkins)