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Bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley to rally for Powell

Like politics? How about bluegrass? Democratic congressional candidate Wayne Powell is hoping a combination of the two will lure voters out to a series of rallies next week with Ralph Stanley.

Stanley, who lives near Coeburn in Southwest Virginia, will perform with his band, the Clinch Mountain Boys, and his son, Ralph 2, and grandson Nathan at a series of rallies around the district on Oct. 23 and 24.

Stanley is considered one of the grandfathers of modern bluegrass music; he and his brother Carter started playing publicly in the 1940′s and 1950′s, and after Carter’s death, Stanley pushed forward alone, with the Clinch Mountain Boys. More recently, Stanley helped spark a resurgence of interest in the bluegrass genre with his performance on the soundtrack of the 2000 movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou.”

The Powell rallies have been dubbed the “O Cantor Where Art Thou” tour, and the Powell campaign says they’ll focus on economic issues in the race.

Powell, a Democrat and Richmond attorney in his first political race, is waging an uphill battle against well-funded House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Henrico.

The two have had one raucous debate, and Powell has been vocal in criticizing Cantor’s policies, his leadership of the House of Representatives, and his connections to lobbyists.

This is going to be fun and informative,” Powell said in a press release. “Since Eric Cantor doesn’t spend much, if any, time with the people in the district, I think that the barnstorm title, O Cantor, Where Are Thou? is perfect.”

Powell campaign strategist Dave “Mudcat” Saunders has a history of using bluegrass music to help his Democratic candidates appeal to rural voters. In the 2001 governor’s race, Saunders wrote a bluegrass campaign theme song for Mark Warner and hired a band to perform it at campaign stops.

The rallies with Stanley are as follows:

October 23rd, 2012:


  • Gordonsville, VA: 7:00 PM – The Magnolia Farm, 17452 Lovers’ Ln.

October 24th 2012:

  • Ashland, VA: 8:30 AM – Ashland Coffee and Tea Company, 100 N. Railroad Ave.  Hot breakfast provided.
  • Culpeper, VA: 12:00 PM - The Depot, 109 Commerce St.  Hamburgers and hot dogs provided.
  • Mineral, VA: 2:00 PM – Walton Park on E. 5th St.
  • Goochland, VA: 4:00 PM – White Hawk Music Cafe, 1940 Sandy Hook Rd.
  • Glen Allen, VA: 7:00 PM – Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen 2880 Mountain Rd., Concert