Renowned bluegrass singer and guitar player, Larry Sparks & the Lonesome Ramblers, return to Galax to play a concert at the Blue Ridge Music Center on Saturday, June 30th. Sparks has been at the forefront of the bluegrass scene for over 50 years, since he joined the Stanley Brothers in 1964. He was the first to sing with Ralph Stanley after Carter Stanley’s death in 1966.
During his time with Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys, Sparks performed on the original versions of now bluegrass-standards: Sharecroppers Son, Going Home to Live in Green Pastures and other notable songs. A few years later, Larry Sparks went on to create his own band the Lonesome Ramblers. Well known as a great songwriter, as well as an award winning vocalist/musician, Larry Sparks penned many hit songs over the decades including: John Deere Tractor, Blue Virginia Blue, I Want to Thank You Lord, A Face in the Crowd and others.
Larry Sparks has received several IBMA awards including Male Vocalist of the Year (twice), and Album of the Year / Recorded Event of the Year with his album “Larry Sparks 40,” featuring several artists such as Alison Krauss, Vince Gill, Ralph Stanley, Ricky Skaggs, Tom T. Hall. His brand new release “Almost Home,” on Rounder records, is currently nominated for Album of the Year. Sparks has also been honored with an induction into the Bill Monroe Bluegrass Hall of Fame. In Alison Krauss’ words, “Larry Sparks is bluegrass music’s Ray Charles, no one can touch him. He is an absolute original.”
Opening up the concert will be the Buckstankle Boys from Mt. Airy, North Carolina. Featuring Andy Edmonds on fiddle, Wes Clifton on guitar/vocals, Seth Boyd on banjo and Todd Hiatt on mandolin, the Buckstankle Boys are a vibrant traditional stringband who learned their bluegrass/old-time music from some of the best older generation players in the Blue Ridge.
The concert starts at 7pm, Saturday June 30. Seating opens at 5:30pm. Tickets are $12 or $10 for students and seniors. Children 12 and under are free. For info call (276) 236-5309 x112. Tickets are available at the Galax Visitor Center, online at www.BlueRidgeMusicCenter.org and at the gate. Come early and enjoy the free, new museum, the Roots of American Music.
Bring lawn chairs. Picnics welcome. Smokehouse BBQ available. The Blue Ridge Music Center is located at milepost 213 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The summer-evening concert series occurs every weekend through mid-September in the outdoor amphitheater at the foot of beautiful Fisher Peak (only 10 miles from Galax).