Bluegrass at the Holler: Ole Smoky Moonshine Presents the Soggy Bottom Boys & Dr. Ralph Stanley

A landmark bluegrass show happens Saturday night, March 22, in Gatlinburg at The Holler, inaugurating the 2014 summer music season of Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine Distillery. The talent-stacked show is FREE, it starts at 5 pm, it’s going to be live-streamed, and it features two of the signature sounds of the hit movie, “O Brother Where Art Thou?”

The Soggy Bottom Boys are a fictional band created in the movie, with actor George Clooney playing lead singer, which turned the traditional folk song, “Man of Constant Sorrow” into a national hit song.

Image courtesy "O Brother Where Art Thou"

Image courtesy “O Brother Where Art Thou”

Clooney was lip-synching to the real voice of Dan Tyminski, and if you’re a fan of Alison Krauss and Union Station Band you’ll have heard his voice many a time.

Brought together now for the first time in a stage performance the Soggy Bottom Boys consist of Dan Tyminski, Barry Bales, Ron Block, Stuart Duncan and Mike Compton – a huge array of talent holding between them 47 Grammys!

Also on the bill with a special performance is Grammy award-winning bluegrass legend and Grand Ole Opry member Dr. Ralph Stanley, currently touring the country with his band the Clinch Mountain Boys in a year-long Farewell tour, after which he proposes to retire from a lifetime of touring, at age 87. From this Nashville account last month he still commands the room with his voice.

“Man of Constant Sorrow” was probably a traditional song hundreds of years old, although it’s possible Dick Burnett wrote it a century ago. Burnett was a partially blind fiddle player from Kentucky, who said towards the end of his life that he couldn’t remember if he wrote the song or if it already existed. What is clear is that Dr. Ralph Stanley loved the song from an early age and kept it alive and prominent through his decades of performing, until the movie came and made it live forever.

So it’s a party on Saturday, and the live streaming starts here at 5 pm. The folks at Ole Smoky have pulled together a tremendous show, which they’re using as an excuse to roll out “Charred Moonshine,” their first barrel-aged premium moonshine. The Holler is a favorite Gatlinburg haunt, at the nation’s most visited distillery.

Bluegrass and moonshine go together like, well, bluegrass and moonshine, and you can put this theory to the taste test tomorrow night if you are so inclined – there’s usually a sample to be had at the Holler!

Now let’s play some clips as a warmup for tomorrow. First here’s George Clooney, John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson making “Man of Constant Sorrow” famous to a whole new generation (and a great excuse to play this favorite scene from the film):

Next, here’s Alison Krauss and Union Station performing the same number:

Finally, let’s hear Dr. Ralph Stanley, performing the haunting acapella song, “O Death” which he also recorded for the soundtrack of “O Brother Where Art Thou?”

So the party is at the Holler tomorrow night, and you can find all the info you need at Ole Smoky’s web site.

See you there!

About Carrie Waxler

I've worked for Gatlinburg Falls since March 2011. Lived in TN since 1996. I have now hiked Mt. LeConte three times. I've been on every trail that leads to the top. The last one we hiked up the Boulevard. I have walked my first 2.7 miles on the Appalachian Trail. Only 2176 miles to go. I plan to hike the Appalachian Trail when my children graduate. I also love lake kayaking on Cherokee Lake and Douglas Lake. We take our kayaks camping to middle Tennessee as well for river kayaking. I love talking to guests from the places I've visited or lived. Brings back many good memories. I love to be where people are having fun.