Just to illustrate how much impact little decisions can affect things - ponder this piece of history:

When Ralph Stanley was 11 years-old, in 1938, his mom gave him a choice - he could either have a pig or a banjo. He chose the banjo - and changed music forever.

Dr. Ralph Stanley (he had two honorary doctorates - one of them was from Yale) passed away yesterday at the age of 89. He was the oldest member of the Grand Ol' Opry at the time. Over the years, his style of banjo picking was picked up by numerous musicians worldwide.

And yes - he and his brother Carter took a break from their music careers in the 1950s to work in the Ford plant in Dearborn, Michigan.

Here's a great story about his life from the Tennessean.

And here's he and Patty Loveless doing the classic Pretty Polly:

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