The Life and Times of Carter Stanley at Jenny Brook

This weekend’s Jenny Brook Bluegrass festival in Tunbridge, VT is trying something interesting and new this year. They will be including Gary Reid’s one man show, A Life of Sorrow, the Life and Times of Carter Stanley, as part of the entertainment schedule for the four-day event.

The two-act play, which Reid both wrote and performs, tells the story of Carter Stanley and The Stanley Brothers from a first person perspective, relating the joys and struggles of their brief career, and his untimely death, as a lengthy monologue. Reid, as Stanley, takes the audience through remembrances of Ralph and Carter’s youth in the mountains of western Virginia, their separate stints in the US Army, their early career, and eventually the battle with alcohol that killed him at 41.

Here’s a preview…

This show is normally performed in a theater setting, but Gary says it isn’t his first time putting it on during a festival. Jenny Brook has a permanent gazebo on the grounds, which they have christened the Weston Stage for the fact that the festival got its start in Weston, VT, and it will be the site for A Life Of Sorrow on Friday.

With Friday being the first anniversary of Ralph Stanley’s passing on June 23, this performance should have a special solemnity for those in attendance.

Reid feels a certain closeness to the region as well. His maternal grandmother was from Burlington, about 80 miles from the festival site. He is hoping to mae a side trip to explore her childhood neighborhood, but has to be back for another show in Warrenton on Sunday.

There is no additional fee to attend the play during Jenny Brook. You can find full festival details online, and learn more about A Life Of Sorrow online as well.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.