by Ryan Snyder

Upcoming shows you should check out


It’s not been a good year for bluegrass and old-time music. In only the last two months, it’s lost arguably its two most powerful influences with the passing of Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson, leaving only Ralph Stanley and Mac Wiseman to carry the banner for the olden greats. Dr. Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys’ set Friday night at the Carolina Theatre has taken on a new purpose with the passing of Doc last week, with the only living picker to have a playing style named for him now performing his entire set in tribute to the late great Arthel Watson. Expect high-capo-ed interpretations of some of Doc’s favorites, like “Cora Is Gone,” “Ten Mile to Deep Gap” and an especially solemn rendering of “O Death.” Tickets are $26.50 for adults, and $24.50 for students, seniors and military, with a $2.50 theatre restoration fee added to each ticket. The program starts at 8 p.m


One hallmark of a great band is when a band can be great without actually appearing to try to do so. Exhibit A is Man Man, the ragamuffin Philadelpha quintet that are a dance band without actually trying to be a dance band. Man Man just is. In a live setting, their twisted knock on gypsy rock becomes a dizzied night in the drunk tank with Tom Waits’ Swordfishtrombones piped in. They arguably take more risks onstage — switching instruments mid-song, breakdowns from out of nowhere, ballads that turn into mosh pits — and capitalize on a higher percentage than just about anyone else. They’re bringing their three-ring circus to the Blind Tiger this Friday to support their great 2011 album Life Fantastic, and they’ll be joined by the enormous Atlanta pop orchestra the Back Pockets and locals Burn Door4 . Tickets are $12 in advance and $14 the day of the show, and the music starts at 10 p.m.


We’ve come to not only tolerate a certain degree of excess from some of our favorite musicians, but we often celebrate it. From Hank Williams to DJ Screw, getting blotto has been as much of a part of popular music as the Moog or the Les Paul. This weekend, you can celebrate the legacy of the man who arguably started all that mess. The insanely hard-drinkin’, hard pickin’ Charlie Poole was one of the most influential and overlooked voices in all of early 20th century music, providing the musical template for not only Williams, but Bill Monroe and every picker that came after him as well.

His legacy is celebrated this Friday and Saturday in his hometown of Eden (then known as Spray) at the 17th annual Charlie Poole Music Festival. The festival is unique in that it doesn’t specifically focus on performances, though there are plenty to be seen and heard.

This festival is a bit more competitive and academic in its pursuits. Those who want to show themselves to be the best clawhammer or finger-pickers in the old-time tradition only need sign up to prove their worth. Like the inaugural Music Academy of the American South in Winston-Salem, you can come to see great musicians from all around perform, including Riley Bauguss, Lonesome Sisters, Polecat Creek or the legendary Alice Gerrard & the Herald Angels. This, however, is also an excellent place to learn more about the history of country and bluegrass music — Poole was the cornerstone in both of their developments — but they’ve been doing it a little longer here. Find out more at