In the comments to this entry (which really had nothing to do with bluegrass--bloggers just love a good tangent), Whet Moser, possibly the only other SW Virginian on the Reader staff, reminisced about seeing the great Ralph Stanley play a benefit for the local masons at Martinsville High School. Now, high schools are a popular place to play in that region, since they're usually the largest venues in town—my dad saw Ramblin' Jack Elliott at Floyd County High School on a tour when he also played the Old Town School—but still, Stanley's decision to play there does say something about his down-to-earthness. Or about how high up he is in the masons. At any rate, O Brother Where Art Thou? and Letterman and all things considered, a comprehensive Stanley Brothers box set has been long overdue, and on April 3 Time Life is bringing the wait to an end.
Turning now to the subject of new releases absolutely no one was holding their breath for, perpetual college rock also-rans the Smithereens have released Meet the Smithereens!, a note-for-note cover of Meet the Beatles. Now there's nothing wrong with a little homage among friends, but we're not exactly "meeting the Smithereens" if they're playing the Beatles' songs, are we? And why go out of one's way to invite unfavorable comparisons to Laibach's Let It Be?