Part 2 Larry Stephenson Band/ Blue Grass Jamboree
In Part One of this story I was speaking with Larry Stephenson of the Larry Stephenson Band who is coming to play at the Bath Bluegrass Jamboree on Saturday evening. He talked about growing up playing music first with his family, and then all throughout the eastern part of Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C. I asked him if he felt like young musicians today were connected with this old time, style of music enough to carry on into another generation. And if so, how?
“Well I think they’re already connected in a lot of ways. It just depends on the venue and the way it’s presented, like if you go to the SBIGMA convention here in Nashville every year, or the IBMA in Raleigh North Carolina, there’s young folks everywhere, and it’s presented to them more now than ever than when I was a kid in 1975. We did not have the outlets that we have now. And I think they’re doing fine with it, and they’re discovering it whether it be a new band, a real progressive type band or rather me. They continue to find it and I think they’re going to be ok. It just has to be the right venue for these younger folks to get out and enjoy it. But we can’t leave the older folks out because they’re very important to us.”
“Oh we definitely don’t around here, They’re our favorite fans for sure.”
Larry has had numerous honors and recognitions for his excellent playing over the years. When asked if he specially values any of those achievements, or experiences Larry mentioned being inducted into the Virginia Blue Grass Hall of Fame.
“That was a huge honor because when I was a kid my mom and dad used to take me to a lot of the Virginia Folk Music Association events. And then as I got older and I moved to Nashville in 1992, things kind of started happening, they put me in that Hall of Fame, and that was quite an honor. And of course moving to Nashville, I also got my foot in the door playing the Grand Ole Opry quite a bit, which we still do on occasion, and that’s always quite a thrill, so those two things would probably be high on the list right at the moment.”
The band has also enjoyed success over the last year and a half with one of their songs, “Yesterday’s Gone” from their most recent album remaining in the top twenty- of one of those satellite stations, which shall remain nameless. They’ve released three albums under their own label, Whisper Dream Music in the past several years, and quite a few others previously. I asked Larry what listeners can look forward to when they come out on Saturday for the Jamboree.
“Well, I got a great band with me right now. Matt Rice on the bass; Derek Vaden on the banjo, and Nick Dauphine on guitar, and three great guys that play and sing very well, and I’ll be trying to keep up with them with the mandolin and singing, and we going to do all kinds of stuff. We’ll do instrumentals; we’ll sing songs of our most recent album ‘Weep little Willow Weep”, and a lot of Gospel Music, and it’s just going to be a fun, fun evening. We’re looking forward to it very, very much.”
Other bands playing Saturday evening are “Across County Lines”, “Southern Rail Express”, “The Virginia Ramblers” winding up with the “Larry Stephenson Band”. It’s not too late to win some tickets if you call 839-5400 to get your name on the list. They’re ten dollars at the door for adults.
AMR would like to thank the sponsors, volunteers and hardworking staff who make this event possible.