When thinking of Larry Sparks, the one word that comes to mind is soul. It’s a word that not only sums up his crooning vocal tone and his lead guitar playing, but it encompasses who Larry is as an artist, as well as his newest release, It’s Just Me, on Rebel Records. Fulfilling a request made by many of his fans over the years, Sparks has recorded an album that puts those soulful qualities on even greater display.
The title of this project holds very much a literal meaning as the recording is centered around Sparks’ voice and guitar. On some tracks Sparks is joined by his son Larry “D” Sparks on bass, but for the most part it’s purely Larry. The opening track, Long Way To Denver, was penned by Marshal Warwick and tells a somber tale of a man longing for lost love.
Don’t Neglect The Rose is one of two tracks that Larry re-recorded for this project. The song first appeared on his 1988 release, Silver Reflections, while Great High Mountain was originally recorded on Sparks’ iconic 1980 album John Deere Tractor. While it would be unfair to compare the new renditions of these songs to the originals, Larry presents them in a way that provides even greater depth to their lyrics.
Mom and Dad’s Waltz and She Thinks I Still Care are both from the classic country canon. The former was first recorded by Lefty Frizzell in 1951, while the latter was recorded by George Jones in 1962. Both of these songs were made for Sparks’ voice and suit him to a T.
Sweetheart was written by Wyatt McCubbin with Sparks specifically in my mind. Performed as a ballad this song tells a sweet story about the joys of romance and the feelings which surround it.
Mama’s Apron Strings by Gerald Ellenburg and Shawn Lane is a song that looks back on easier and happier times. It’s another one of those pieces that is hard to imagine anyone but Larry Sparks singing. His emotion is felt loud and clear on this track.
The recording closes with The Scarlet Red Lines, a gospel song penned by Daniel Crabtree. With a message of remembering God and what he can do for you in trying times, Larry’s delivery on this track is spellbinding. It’s one of the tracks where you feel compelled to grab on to every word that he’s singing.
It’s Just Me is an idea that Larry Sparks has had for many years and, as mentioned earlier, has been asked for by legions of fans. I think I can safely speak for all of us when I say that we’re grateful this concept finally came to fruition. It brings together everything we love about Sparks and his music directly to the forefront.