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Springsteen, Bluegrass Legend Lend Musical Assist to Democrats in Virginia

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Springsteen, Ralph Stanley Play for Dems in Va.

Julie Carey, NBCWashington.com

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If the candidates' rhetoric couldn't lock in your vote, maybe free concerts by legendary rock and bluegrass performers in the battleground state of Virginia will do the trick.

Bruce Springsteen was at downtown Charlottesville's nTelos Pavilion for a short concert Tuesday afternoon to benefit President Barack Obama's re-election.

The Boss appeared with the president in a campaign event in Ohio last week, but Obama wasn't with the rocker in Charlottesville, a Democratic-voting college town in a largely Republican-leaning region.

In the 7th Congressional District, Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's newcomer Democratic challenger, Wayne Powell, is touring the district with Ralph Stanley, who won a Grammy for his songs in the 2001 movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”

Stanley's six-stop “O Cantor, Where Art Thou?” tour Tuesday and Wednesday is the brainchild of David “Mudcat” Saunders, a Roanoke-based Democratic strategist who specializes in connecting with rural voters.

It starts with a single evening appearance in Gordonsville followed by five stops on Wednesday.

A Coeburn resident and 85-year-old pioneer of bluegrass sound, Stanley's performances from the movie included a haunting a capella rendition of “O Death.”

In 2001, Saunders hooked Democrat Mark Warner up with a bluegrass band playing a campaign version of the hill-country standard “Dooley,” and he persuaded Warner to field a car bearing his campaign logo in a NASCAR race.

With both the presidential and U.S. Senate races close in the battleground state of Virginia, the state has not only been a frequent stop for Obama and Romney and their running mates, it's also been a magnet for other big-name proxies for the campaign.

Actress Ashley Judd was in Virginia over the weekend on Obama's behalf.

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