Larry Sparks Celebrates 50 Years in Bluegrass


Larry Sparks has said that he's the youngest old-timer around but this year he marks a half-century of professional bluegrass musicianship.

Larry begin his career in 1963 as guitarist with the Stanley Brothers and later after Carter Stanley’s death in 1966, Larry was his replacement in the band which then became known as Ralph Stanley and His Clinch Mountain Boys.

In 1969, he left the Clinch Mountain Boys and formed the Lonesome Ramblers. began recording for Pine Tree Records.

Larry was the recipient of both the 2004 and 2005 International Bluegrass Music Association Male Vocalist of the Year Award.  

In 2005, he also was honored by the IBMA for Album of the Year and Recorded Event of the Year for his album "40," celebrating his 40th year in bluegrass music.

Image635125256579401076He has recorded and toured as a solo artist for over four decades, releasing over 50 albums and delighting countless fans with his soulful vocals and unparalleled musicianship.

Along the way, Sparks made several songs into bluegrass standards. He unearthed an obscure folk-rock composition by Lawrence Hammond entitled "John Deere Tractor" and turned it into a perennial anthem of discontented rural folk adrift in the big city; the cover of the song by the Judds on their Love Can Build a Bridge album of 1990 was likely traceable to Sparks' own numerous performances.

The Stanley Brothers' "Goin' Up Home (To Live in Green Pastures)" was one of several gospel pieces that every parking-lot pickup band wanted to learn after hearing Sparks sing it, and Sparks tended to focus on gospel in his own numerous compositions as well.

Numerous congratulations from fans adorn the artist’s Facebook page with many quoting favorite lines from his song “John Deere Tractor”.  Some called him a “National Treasure” while others just simply said; “you’re awesome” or “you’re the best.”

Congratulations, Mr. Sparks!

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