The New Port Richey Public Library is hosting a FREE performance of a one-man play (with music) called A Life of
Sorrow, the Life and Times of Carter Stanley – Tuesday, August 29 at 5:00 PM.
For the uninitiated, Carter Stanley was an expressive singer and songwriter. As the front man for the legendary
Stanley Brothers duo, he spent the best 20 years of his life pounding the pavement to take his gift to anyone
who would listen. By 1966, he was tired. But… he had a story to tell!
Raised in the coalfields of Appalachia during the hardscrabble days of the Great Depression, the bright lights
of a country stage raised the hairs on the back of a 10-year-old’s neck! He had found his calling! A decade
later, his musical expression of choice was a new phenomenon known to many as the high lonesome
sound… what would come to be known the world over as bluegrass. Tormented by a parent’s adolescent
rejection… frustrated by the lack of commercial success — still he held to his dream. He played the music, he
wrote the songs, and ultimately… he self-destructed. A Life of Sorrow is the story of one man’s musical
journey. From the Clinch Mountains of Virginia, around the world, and back home again.
A Life of Sorrow is a one-man show that combines storytelling and music to bring to life the saga of a bluegrass
music legend; it is the creation of Roanoke, Virginia, actor Gary Reid. A bluegrass enthusiast and historian for
over 40 years, he is regarded as the foremost authority on the music of the Stanley Brothers. In 2009, Reid
conceived the idea of putting together a one-man show about Carter Stanley. To that end, he took two
semesters of acting at Virginia Western Community College and has since appeared in more than 60 productions
and events at regional community theatres as an actor, producer, and stage manager and has appeared in
several short films and commercials. He was the second place finalist at the 2015 Sounds of the Mountains
storytelling competition in Fincastle, Virginia. Launched in September 2014, A Life of Sorrow has enjoyed 58
performances at theaters, festivals, libraries, and museums in ten different states.
In addition to his theatrical endeavors, Reid is also a published author. After many years of research, his book
The Music of the Stanley Brothers is now available! It traces Carter and Ralph Stanley’s prolific 20-year recording
history. Also noteworthy is Reid’s work with Fred Bartenstein on The Bluegrass Hall of Fame Inductee
Biographies. He is the recipient of the 2015 and 2016 ARSC Awards for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound
Research and was the 2015 recipient for the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Print/Media Person of
the Year award.
As a long-time fan of the music of Carter and Ralph Stanley, Reid has spent years collecting memorabilia of the
brothers and has all of their single and album releases as well as some 80 hours of live recordings and close to
500 photos. But, he says, “Can you ever have too much?” Reid enjoys meeting and talking with fans who knew
or saw the Stanley Brothers in years gone by, and encourages them to bring photos to the show and share.
What: Theatrical performance – A Life of Sorrow, the Life and Times of Carter Stanley
When: Tuesday, August 29, 2017 @ 5:00 pm
Where: New Port Richey Public Library, 5939 Main Street, New Port Richey, Florida 34652
Additional info: 727-853-1279 / www.nprlibrary.org