One of the more soulful venues at this year's MidPoint Music Festival was the gorgeous Emery Theatre, which is in the process of being brought back to life thanks to the efforts of "The Requiem Project" (the group that has been doing the heavy lifting to get the theater fully back in commission). But perhaps best showcasing the theater's potential as a proper new/old music venue are the folks behind The Emery Sessions, a series of live performances filmed at the Emery over the past year or so by photographer/videographer Michael Wilson (the man behind a gazillion brilliant album covers) and musicians Cameron Cochran and Henry Wilson (who play together in the group Pop Empire).
The sessions have produced some remarkable footage so far, with sessions filmed with Jeremy Pinnell and the 55s, Daniel Martin Moore and Joan Shelley, Over the Rhine, Brian Olive, The Kickaways and many other local acts.
When Bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley was booked to play the theater for this year's MidPoint fest, the Sessioneers captured a magical session before the show featuring The Clinch Mountain Boys with the iconic musician. The lack of an audience during all of the Sessions (and the black and white approach) adds an air of mystery to the clips, the empty theater providing a wide-open and kinda spooky atmosphere. That's especially evident in the Session with Stanley, who recorded locally in his heyday for King Records and had performed several times at the Emery decades earlier with his brother Carter as The Stanley Brothers.
Fittingly, on what was dubbed "Ralph Stanley Day" by the city, the Sessions crew captured Ralph and Co. performing "Train 45," a tune the Stanley Brothers recorded for the local King label.