Inductee 2018

Larry Stephenson

Larry Stephenson Band

Highly regarded as one of bluegrass music's finest high lead and tenor vocalist, Larry Stephenson has been headlining concerts for over 25 years. He formed the Larry Stephenson Band in 1989 while living in his home state of Virginia, and since that time, they have toured widely, recorded frequently, all the while nurturing their distinctive sound.


Larry’s crystal clear and easily recognizable tenor voice has provided a musical home for some of the finest sidemen in contemporary bluegrass history. Many appearances on the Grand Ole Opry and RFD TV have made the Larry Stephenson Band a fan favorite all across the US and Canada. The line-up includes Larry Stephenson (Lead Vocals & Mandolin), Kenny Ingram (Banjo & Vocals), Kevin Richardson (Guitar & Vocals), and Matt Wright (Upright Bass & Vocals).


While Larry Stephenson is best known as a touring musician whose voice sets a standard of melody, clarity, and storytelling, he has had an active and well-awarded recording career. He recorded with Webco Records and then spent 18 years with Pinecastle Records, releasing 18 albums during that period. Signature songs in Larry Stephenson's vast catalog include "Patches," "Yes, I See God," "Clinch Mountain Mystery," "Many Hills Of Time", "The Knoxville Girl", "The Knoxville Boy," "The Pretty Blue Dress" and "The Violet and the Rose." Another Stephenson fan favorite is his version of Bill Monroe's classic "Mule Skinner Blues," often performed as an encore and showcasing his flexible and reliable tenor voice. These songs, always delivered with commitment and conviction, are often requested at his live performances at festivals, concerts, and other appearances.


Stephenson’s songs have achieved radio chart success including his "Clinch Mountain Mystery" reaching #1 in 2004. This veteran performer continues to deliver new and fresh material while never straying far from his deep traditional roots.


Throughout his 25 year career fronting his own band, and almost forty years as a major touring performer, Larry Stephenson has been well-recognized and awarded by fans and his peers in the recording industry. In 1996, Stephenson was inducted into the Virginia Country Music Hall of Fame by the Virginia Folk Music Association. Since that time, he has garnered numerous other awards including being named Contemporary Male Vocalist of the Year by the Society and Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America (SPBGMA.)


His 2010 award winning release, 20th Anniversary on his own label Whysper Dream Music, included guest performers like Ricky Skaggs, Connie Smith, Marty Stuart, Del McCoury, Dale Ann Bradley, Dudley Connell, and Sonny Osborne. The track, "Give This Message to Your Heart" with Dailey and Vincent, won the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Recorded Event of the Year the same year.


In 2011, he signed a recording contract with Compass Records delivering one of the finest albums of his career, What Really Matters, co-produced by Stephenson and Ben Surratt. Standout tracks included Jimmy Martin’s "Beartracks", the title track and a spirited reworking of "Philadelphia Lawyer" featuring Sam Bush on fiddle and harmony vocals. The following year, Larry was honored with the 2012 SPBGMA Mandolin Player of the Year Award.


In 2014, the Larry Stephenson Band released their all-gospel album, Pull Your Savior In, on Whysper Dream Music, celebrating the band’s 25th anniversary. The album won the 2015 SPBGMA Album of the Year Award, was featured on Sirius XM Radio’s "Gospel Train" show, and on the syndicated Solid Gospel Radio Network. Gospel, Bluegrass, and Country music fans have certainly been enjoying songs written by Donna Ulisse & Rick Stanley, Larry Stephenson along with traditional favorites by the Louvin Brothers, Earl Scruggs, Randall Hylton.


The Larry Stephenson Band kicked off their 2015 tour by hosting the Ernest Tubb Midnite Jamboree in Nashville and are set for major concerts and events around the country.


More on Larry Stephenson (Lead/Tenor Vocals & Mandolin)


Larry has been a touring bluegrass musician since he played with his Dad beginning in the mid ‘70s. Born in Harrisonburg and raised in King George, his Dad started him on the mandolin at age 5 and by the age of 13, Larry had cut this first record. He credits the rich music scene of Virginia for much of his musical success, having seen and heard the first generation bluegrass performers at festivals, shows, and on the radio.


After high school graduation, he worked and recorded with Cliff Waldron and Leon Morris while soaking up the Washington, D.C. rich musical scene, which included cutting edge bands like The Country Gentlemen and The Seldom Scene as well as traditional bluegrass and old-time music. In 1979, Larry began touring and recording with Bill Harrell & The Virginians where he stayed over four years. In 1983, he joined the famed Bluegrass Cardinals performing and recording with them for over five years. That band configuration is often referred to as one of the "classic lineups of the Bluegrass Cardinals."


In 2008, the IBMA Recorded Event of the Year was awarded to the album, Everett Lilly & Everybody and Their Brother, featuring Everett Lilly, Bea Lilly, Charles Lilly, Daniel Lilly, Mark Lilly, Marty Stuart, Rhonda Vincent, Billy Walker, Ronnie McCoury, Rob McCoury, David Ball, Charlie Cushman, Larry Stephenson, Joe Spivey, Eddie Stubbs, Jason Carter, Dickey Lee, Freddy Weller, Mike Bub, Rad Lewis, Andy May, Darrin Vincent, Marcia Campbell, Clay Rigdon, Eric Blankenship & Bill Wolfenbarger. The album was produced by Charles Lilly & Bill Wolfenbarger, Swift River Music.


Larry lives on the outskirts of Nashville, TN with his wife Dreama, an accomplished child photographer and hairdresser, and their long-awaited and much-loved daughter.