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The Last Suit You Wear

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Album Review

Bluegrass legend and former Stanley Brother member and current Lonesome Rambler Larry Sparks' first release for fellow country icon Del McCoury's McCoury Music label doesn't deviate much from the lauded singer/guitar player's winning blend of heartbreak, salvation and furious picking; and why should it? Sparks has been schooling the rest of the world in the gospel of bluegrass since the 1960s. Last Suit You Wear features 12 ballads and breakdowns that rely heavily on Sparks masterful hands and mournful delivery, as well as the talents of high profile guests like J.D. Crowe, Don Rigsby, Randy Kohrs, Stuart Duncan, Ron Stewart and McCoury himself. From the dusty, mid-tempo strains of "Old Coal Mine" to the rowdy lament "Those Blues Eyes Don't Sparkle Anymore," Sparks and his gang of bluegrass brothers have created some required listening for incoming students.


Born: 15 September 1947 in Lebanon, OH

Genre: Country

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Larry Sparks has said that he's the youngest old-timer around, and the self-description is an apt one. Emerging from the Stanley Brothers' Clinch Mountain Boys band, Sparks carried on with the sounds created by bluegrass music's first generation. His style was no knockoff, however; it had a distinctively bluesy tinge anchored by Sparks' own guitar, a comparatively unusual lead instrument in bluegrass, where the triad of mandolin, banjo, and fiddle had defined the musical texture since the genre's...
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The Last Suit You Wear, Larry Sparks
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