“Ralph Edmund Stanley (February 25, 1927 – June 23, 2016), also known as Dr. Ralph Stanley, was an American bluegrass artist, known for his distinctive singing and banjo playing. Stanley began playing music in 1946, originally with his brother Carter as part of The Stanley Brothers, and most often as the leader of his band, The Clinch Mountain Boys. He was part of the first generation of bluegrass and was inducted into both the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honour and The Grande Ole Opry.” – Wikipedia. To the general public he was probably best known for the sound track of the film O Brother Where Art Thou in which he sings the Appalachian dirge O Death. At the age of 88, following a musical career that spanned 70 year Stanley died on June 13, 2016 as a result of skin cancer.
Guy Charles Clark (November 6, 1941 – May 17, 2016) was an American Texas country and folk singer, musician, songwriter, recording artist, and performer. He released more than twenty albums, and his songs have been recorded by other artists including Jerry Jeff Walker, Jimmy Buffett, Lyle Lovett, Ricky Scaggs, Steve Wariner and Rodney Crowell. He won the 2004 Grammy Award for the Best Folk Album My Favorite Picture of you. Clark was born in Monahans, Texas, and eventually settled in Nashville where he helped create the progressive country and outlaw country genres. His songs L.A. Freeway and Desparados Waiting for a Train that helped launch his career were covered by numerous performers. The New York Times described him as “a king of the Texas troubadours”, declaring his body of work “was as indelible as that of anyone working in the Americana idiom in the last decades of the 20th century” … Wikipedia
At the age of 74 Clark died in Nashville on May 17, 2016, following a lengthy battle with lymphoma.
Alirio Díaz (12 November 1923 – 5 July 2016) was a Venezuelan classical guitarist and composer and one of the most prominent composer-guitarists of his country. A guitar competition named Concurso Internacional de Guitarra Alirio Díaz has been held in his honor in Caracas and other cities in Venezuela (the April 2006 contest was held in Carora). Many compositions have been dedicated to Díaz including Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo’s Invocación y Danza…. Wikipedia.
That short paragraph hardly does justice to the magnitude of his status in the classical guitar world. Prior to him emerging on the scene Andre Segovia was “the man”. Alirio Diaz, John Williams, Julian Bream and others that followed Segovia and were part of the changing of guard in the classical guitar world. Segovia was the bench mark of an “old world” approach to the music. His recordings and performances exhibited a mellow, stately approach that demonstrated that guitar music deserved to be taken seriously. Segovia toured and recorded relentlessly throughout the 20th century and that certainly opened doors for the guitarists that followed. He invented the genre of classical guitar and paved the way for guitarists like Alirio Diaz that allowed them to gain an audience and, ultimately, perform in a different way with an expanded repertoire. Diaz’s sound and technique were way more dramatic than the Segovia school and on the standard pieces like Fernando Sor’s Variations on a Theme by Mozart (“The Magic Flute”) he virtually reinvented the music. I was most fortunate in my youth to attend concert performances by Segovia, Julian Bream, John Williams and Alirio Diaz and the one that left the most lasting impression was Alirio Diaz. At about that same time I acquired a LP called Guitarra De Venezuela that included the following tracks: Recuerdos de la Alhambra / Dos Valses Venezolanos / Guaso / Canción / Quirpa / Asturias / Dos Canciones Populares Catalanas / Minuet / Pavana y Folia / Sonata / Gavota / Fuga / Variaciones Sobre un Tema de Mozart. Here we are a half century later, the recording is still in the catalogue (complete with the original cheesy cover) and is still probably the finest recording of classical guitar music out there. One of his most notable achievements was the introduction of the music of Antonio Lauro (a fellow countryman) to a wider audience. The Valses Venezolanos are part of the modern day standard repertoire. You may have a perception of waltzes as being some what stately affairs, that will change once you hear the Venezuelan waltzes of Antonio Laurio.
Alirio Diaz at the age of 92 died on July 5, 2016