Larry Stephenson Band unveils ‘Thankful’
By Dan Tackett Filed under:
CD Release Tagged with:
March 20, 2008

Larry Stephenson “Thankful” (Pinecastle)

Thankful,” The Larry Stephenson Band’s new CD, hit retail shelves Wednesday on the heels of several favorable advance reviews.

It’s Stephenson’s fourth gospel album and, according to the band leader, a CD that marks a shift in the band’s musical pilgrimage.

“Our fans like our gospel music and I truly enjoy performing them,” Stephenson said. “Our most requested song to this day, after almost two decades together, is a gospel song titled ‘Yes, I See God.’”

The album’s songs all focus on the theme of gratefulness.

“These songs came from everywhere,” Stephenson said. “I co-wrote ‘Everyday Is Mother’s Day’ with Tom T. and Dixie Hall and also co-wrote ‘Open Up The Window (Let The Angels In)’ with Jerry Salley. Read More...

Thankful Reviews & News You Can Use


Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer
(printed in the Kansas City Star)

MUSIC REVIEWS: Bluegrass music releases

LARRY STEPHENSON, "Thankful," Pinecastle. 12 tracks.

   Larry Stephenson began playing bluegrass as a high school student with his own band - Larry Stephenson & The New Grass - back home in Virginia in the mid-1970s. He turned professional in January 1979, playing mandolin and singing high lead with Bill Harrell & The Virginians and then moved on to The Bluegrass Cardinals in June 1983.
   Then, in October 1988, Stephenson went solo again with The Larry Stephenson Band. In other words, he's been around the block a time or two. And through the past three decades, Stephenson has honed his voice into one of the best bluegrass tenors this side of Bobby Osborne.
   "Thankful," the fourth bluegrass gospel album of his career, is a collection of mainly uptempo material that gives the entire band a workout.
Stephenson's tenor soars on uptempo material like "How High Is That Mountain," "Press On O' Pilgrim" and  
   "Washed In The Blood of the Lamb." But the ballads - the title cut, "I Need The Prayers," "Lord, It's A Hard Road Home" and "Open Up The Window (Let The Angels In)" - really let his vocals shine.
Sonya Isaacs, Ben Surratt, Warren Goad, Dustin Benson and Aaron McDaris provide strong harmonies as well.
   As strong as it is, "Thankful," has had a slow journey to the music bins. It was recorded between May 2005 and January 2007


Country Standard Time
By C. Eric Banister, March 2008

Larry Stephenson grows "Thankful"

Larry Stephenson has a lot to be grateful for. The 51-year old bluegrass veteran celebrates his 19th year as the leader of his own band this year and will also mark his 19th year with Pinecastle Records with the release of "Thankful."

Stephenson started his career as a teenager playing around his native Virginia with his father before joining Bill Harrell and His Virginians in 1979. After four years with Harrell, he made the move to the Bluegrass Cardinals where he spent nearly six years as mandolin player and tenor singer.

In 1989, he made the decision to strike out on his own forming the Larry Stephenson Band and releasing his first solo album on the Webco label, which was later bought by Tom Riggs of Pinecastle.

His newest all-gospel release, his fourth of the kind, was actually to be completed nearly three years ago, but was sidelined by a vicious killer.

"I jokingly tell people that the �Knoxville Boy' kind of showed up and put an end to the gospel album," Stephenson says from his home just north of Nashville in reference to the Tom T. and Dixie Hall song that became a linchpin for his 2006 release "Life Stories."

"We started to record something to follow up �Clinch Mountain Mystery' with, and I had been way overdue on a gospel album. So, I talked to Pinecastle," he says. "We got in the studio and started recording. When the �Life Stories' album was cut, it was to be an all-gospel album."

But after hearing more of the Halls' songs, the project changed direction. Read More.

Sunday Morning Revelations - Thankful
Posted on the Bluegrass Blog 3.16.08

Writer: Richard F Thompson

Larry StephensonLarry Stephenson “Thankful” (Pinecastle)
Pinecastle PRC 1161

Larry Stephenson is one of the best high lead / tenor singers in bluegrass today. He has a voice uncannily like that of Bobby Osborne's and there can't be any higher praise than that. Additionally,

Osborne is a big fan, readily praising Stephenson's contributions to the bluegrass genre.

'Thankful' is Larry Stephenson's fourth bluegrass Gospel release and his second for his current label Pinecastle Records. http://www.pinecastle.com/

In addition to Stephenson, playing mandolin, there are contributions from his band members Dustin Benson (guitar, and lead and harmony vocals), Aaron McDaris (banjo, and lead and harmony vocals), with guest appearances by Sonya Isaacs (harmony vocals), Warren Goad (bass vocals), Ben Surratt (harmony vocals), Missy Raines (acoustic bass) and Shad Cobb (fiddles).  Read More.


Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., All Music Guide

 “Since 1998, Larry Stephenson has recorded a long string of albums for Pinecastle, a label featuring solid roots music. As one might guess from the title, Thankful, Stephenson and his crack band have chosen to focus on gospel music. To be more specific, Thankful is bluegrass gospel, similar to the work of Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver. Stephenson's a traditionalist, and the music here harks back to a time when bluegrass pickers (and gospel singers) worried less about radio programming or the fact that they might sound too country or Southern. Instead, Stephenson, Dustin Benson, Aaron McDaris, Sonya Isaacs, Ben Surratt, Missy Raines, and Shad Cobb dig deep into country roots on songs like "Lord It's a Hard Road Home" and "How High Is That Mountain." The band has a number of good singers, allowing for a great deal of versatility with arrangements, and the instrumental work is crisp and spunky (it would have been nice to have a track-by-track breakdown of the vocalists). Lyrically, the songs center on fundamental Christianity, emphasizing the importance of living a good life despite trails and tribulations, and the importance of preparing for an even better life in the next world. For gospel lovers, Stephenson fans, and anyone who appreciates well-performed roots music, Thankful is an inspiring disc.”


Country Standard Time - Thankful Review
By Kevin Oliver, March 2008

Larry Stephenson grows "Thankful"Larry Stephenson has long been considered one of the finest singers in bluegrass, and gospel music has been an integral part of bluegrass since its beginnings. So, this new all-gospel bluegrass collection brings out the best in a set of songs ranging from well heeled classics to newly minted tunes destined to become standards.

The best of the latter is Dixie and Tom T. Hall's, “Lord It's a Hard Road Home,” while the former is well represented by the traditional, “Press On O' Pilgrim.” With this disc being released in the midst of the Easter season, “Washed In The Blood of the Lamb,” is another highlight.

Notable guests include Sonya Isaacs and Missy Raines, though the core band sticks firmly to the basic tenents of traditional bluegrass. The extra hands don't really stick out, allowing instead the message behind the tunes to resonate even clearer.


Larry Stephenson Band Plays Lucketts Saturday
Leesburg Today

Read Article here: http://www.leesburg2day.com/articles/2008/02/29/entertainment/cal931luckettsbg022908.txt


Larry Stephenson “Thankful” for new CD
By Travis Tackett Filed under: CD Release Tagged with: http://www.bluegrassjournal.com/2008/02/28/larry-stephenson-thankful-for-new-cd/

Larry Stephenson “Thankful” (Pinecastle)

Nashville, TN - Longtime bluegrass favorites The Larry Stephenson Band recently signed with GoodStuff PR Co. for exclusive PR representation for their upcoming gospel release, Thankful, as well as future band endeavors.

The album, which features guest appearances by Sonya Isaacs, Missy Raines, Warren Goad, Shad Cobb and Ben Surratt, hits the streets on March 18th through Pinecastle Records. Thankful comes on the heels of the highly successful Life Stories released in 2007 that featured a collection of emotional tales with a common human thread.Larry Stephenson “Thankful” (Pinecastle)

Stephenson has been called “One of the best and most influential of high lead/tenor singers in recent years,” by Bluegrass Now Magazine and “One of the finest voices in Bluegrass today” by Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine.

Stephenson was recently inducted into the 2007 Southern Legends Entertainment & Performing Arts Hall of Fame.

In other news, Josh Williams will join The Larry Stephenson Band for their Thankful 2008 Tour and beyond in addition to playing the already scheduled dates with his own group, the Josh Williams Band. Williams will replace Ben Helson on guitar and Larry wishes Ben the best of luck in his new endeavors.

Williams is a multi-instrumentalist, perhaps best known as the guitar player for the top ranked Rhonda Vincent & The Rage in their grueling 300 days per year touring schedule from December 2003 through September 2007. He is also known by some as the excellent mandolin/fiddle player formerly with Special Consensus.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (Ratings)

You might also like to read these related news items:

bullet Larry Stephenson Band in Chicago area January 18th -- January 15, 2008
bulletNews From The Music Industry
Wed, 27 Feb 2008 21:39:59 -0800

Larry Stephenson ?Thankful? for new CD
Larry Stephenson ?Thankful? (Pinecastle) Nashville, TN - Longtime bluegrass favorites The Larry Stephenson Band recently signed with GoodStuff PR Co. for exclusive PR representation for their upcoming gospel release, Thankful, as well as future band endeavors. The album, which features guest appearances by Sonya Isaacs, Missy Raines, Warren Goad, Shad Cobb and Ben Surratt, hits the streets on March 18th through Pinecastle Records. Thankful comes on the heels of the highly successful Life Stories

bullet Larry Stephenson Band in Chicago area January 18th
By Travis Tackett Filed under: Bluegrass News Tagged:



"Stephenson is one of today’s top traditional-leaning bluegrass artists, and he reminds us all why on Pull Your Savior In. "
Bluegrass Today

"Pull Your Savior In’ and ‘Come To Jesus Moment’ are two sensational gospel songs. I mean, the lyrics, the singing are all great."
Jim Moulton
Jim’s Country Reviews & No Depression

More quotes here regarding this collection of songs...
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