Larry Stephenson

Thankful – 2008 (Pinecastle)

Reviewed by Kevin Oliver

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CDs by Larry Stephenson

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.

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 tenets of traditional bluegrass. The extra hands don't really stick out, allowing instead the message behind the tunes to resonate even clearer.