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November 24, 2017


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Larry Stephenson
Webco Classics Volume Five (Pinecastle Records)

By: Alex Steininger

For over ten years, Larry Stephenson has been playing traditional-based bluegrass music. Originally released as a cassette only on the WEBCO Label, his third solo album, "Sweet Sunny South," is seeing its first ever CD release in the form of the Webco Classics series.

Starting off with a hot pickin' number sure to get your blood moving, the title track to the original release, "Sweet Sunny South," makes you want to bounce and dance around. Larry's voice leads the song, while the banjo and guitar get your feet moving and heart pumping. "Paradise" is just as juicy, offering up some nice grooves that are sure to make you want to dance and smile. It's got a hot stomp to it that is hard to ignore, which can also be said about "Should I Go Home (Or Should I Go Crazy)." Larry is great at making you want to dance while showcasing his playing, and the backing band is just as good. But there also comes a time when he wants to make you settle down and take in the breezy beats as he pours out his feelings through his instrument. Such is the case with "Give This Message To Your Heart" and "I Knew Love Had Found Me."

One thing that is great about the slower songs is the vocal medleys that seem to steam up the songs and give them their drive. Larry shares the vocals with David Parmley, and together they are able to bring to life each word they sing. The beauty and simplicity of their voices work together to give a very organic feel to the music, which brings so much joy to the listener once they hear it.

Larry's new album is expected to be released later in '99, so until then fans can rejoice and enjoy the CD release of this treasured solo album. I don't know about you, but I'm not that big of a fan of cassettes anymore, unless that is the only available source for the music and I really enjoy it. But, CD's are always better, in my opinion, so it's great to have this one available on CD. I'll give it an A.

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