Larry Stephenson Band

By Bill Conger

Approaching forty years in the business, bluegrass veteran Larry Stephenson has witnessed a lot of the history, as well as made history. His impeccable tenor and lead vocals accompanied by his mastery of the mandolin have garnered him accolades and awards from peers and fans. A self-described modern-day gypsy, Stephenson is a rarity in a profession where many of the musicians hate traveling on the road but love the stage as the destination.

“Sometimes I sleep better on my bus than at home,” Stephenson says. “It’s never really bothered me. I run a bus, so I try to make it as comfortable as possible for everybody. It’s like anything else. It gets a little hectic at times, especially if you’re having some problems with the bus. There’s not a whole lot that I haven’t seen and experienced, but you deal with it and move on. Maybe that comes with age and having a six-year-old, you just kind of deal with things and don’t let it get to you as much as it used to.”

Stephenson has traveled from coast to coast and border to border during his nearly four decades touring, but he would be hard pressed to name a favorite stop along the way. “I kind of like them all, if that makes sense,” he says. “Every venue is different, but they’re all different in a good way, whether it’s a small or large festival. Going places we’ve never been before is always exciting. People may have never seen you or heard you. A lot of them are hearing you on SiriusXM radio these days, but they’ve never seen you. That’s always fun. Sometimes the smaller venues can be as much fun or more fun than a large festival. You have kind of a captive audience. They’re there to see you. You can have a lot of interaction with the audience.” Read entire article »

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By Bill Conger

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September 2015 Reviews


ZOE & CLOYD (NATALYA ZOE WEINSTEIN & JOHN CLOYD MILLER) EQUINOX Z&C Records ZC01 This intriguing duo recording, with packaging reminiscent of an early Folkways recording, comes from a young couple from Asheville, N.C. They manage to capture that label’s vibe by conveying the haunting simplicity of the music they love, playing straightforward and sincere […]

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BLUESTONE WHAT GOES ON Patuxent Music CD-272    Now and then, a band will release a new project that really makes me sit up and take notice; this is one of those occasions. Bluestone has been around for about twenty years and, to my knowledge, has three previous releases. They are now recording for Tom Mindte’s […]

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JOSHUA PALMER MET-A-COG-NI-TION Patuxent Music CD-269 Joshua Palmer is a very talented young man from Owl’s Hollow, Alabama and has developed an interesting, fluid, and clean mandolin style. On this mostly original project, Palmer exhibits some great songwriting and arranging, but he also expresses a sensitive vocal style. He’s joined on this project by Andy […]

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BUD’S COLLECTIVE No Label No Number A quartet originally from West Virginia, Bud’s Collective delivers an uneven, eponymous album full of both high and low points. Formed in 2012, the young group has experienced some success.  They placed second at SPBGMA in 2013 and won the D.C. Bluegrass Union’s Mid-Atlantic Band Competition. The band also […]

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DELTA REIGN NOTHING BUT SKY Travianna Records TR150407 This is easy listening bluegrass. The band simmers along with some sweet songs delivered in an unhurried style featuring Belinda Murphy’s vocals. On the fourth cut, they go up-tempo and drive into “Nothing But Sky,” a very catchy song. They dig in and get to the old […]

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LAURA ORSHAW LAURA ORSHAW SONGS OF LOST YESTERDAYS No Label No Number Laura Orshaw’s new solo project features a collection of tunes from sources such as Charlie Moore, Hazel Dickens, Norman Blake, Peter Rowan, Leroy Drumm, and others. She also offers a couple of her own tunes. Selections include Moore’s “Cotton Farmer,” Blake’s “Uncle,” Dickens’ […]

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ANTIQUE PERSUASION DON’T FORGET ME LITTLE DARLING: REMEMBERING THE CARTER FAMILY Voxhall Records VHR 12003 This is a tale of two concepts; as in one of the best albums of the year released in 2015 that unfortunately bears one of the worst band names in recent memory. Rest assured, I love this recording. But, whoever […]

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BAND OF RUHKS 101 Ranch Recordings RRBR22    This is an important and powerful release from three of today’s strongest personalities in bluegrass music. A local bluegrass DJ refused to play this CD because, in his opinion, it was country and not bluegrass. That line has been blurred for at least fifty years by well-established bands […]

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DAILEY & VINCENT ALIVE! IN CONCERT Pillar Stone Records No Number With a number of IBMA awards to their credit since 2008, Dailey & Vincent must be regarded as one of the premiere bluegrass bands to emerge in the last decade. Alive! In Concert is their first live recording, and their third release through the […]

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GIBSON BROTHERS BROTHERHOOD Rounder Records 35986 This was an album the Gibson Brothers had to make, being a part of the long line of brother acts whose harmony singing blends so naturally. But, what’s cool about this project is that they waited to record it. They didn’t use the “brother-act sings the songs of other […]

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JIM HURST & ROBERTO DALLA VECCHIA ATLANTIC CROSSING No Label No Number Ever since Beppe Gambetta arrived on American shores from Europe decades ago with little more than his guitar, a digital two-track recorder and a few words of English to track down and record a CD with his flatpicking guitar heroes, there’s been an […]

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