Larry Stephenson to SPBGMA Hall Of Greats

The Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America has announced Larry Stephenson as the 2018 inductee into their Hall of Greats.

The organization has chosen one artist or bluegrass personality each year for this career honor since 1984, when they selected Bill Monroe as the first member of the Hall. Since that time just about every important and seminal figure in our music has been included, with many more still to come.

Joking that he wasn’t sure he was old enough for such a distinction, Larry told us that he is both honored and humbled to be selected. The induction will take place on February 4 at the start of the 2018 SPBGMA Awards Ceremony in Nashville.

Next year will mark Stephenson’s 29th year fronting his own band. But even before that, he was active in our business with memorable stints as a member of The Bluegrass Cardinals, and with Cliff Waldron and Leon Morris. He started young, getting his first mandolin at age 5, and at 7 he recorded for the first time with a rendition of The Osborne Brothers’ Rocky Top.

Comparisons to Bobby Osborne have followed Larry all his life, given his powerful tenor singing voice and strong mandolin playing. SPBGMA has named him as their Male Vocalist of the Year five times, and once as Mandolin Player of the Year. They have awarded his band twice for Album of the Year, and they were Vocal Group of the Year in 2016.

Congratulations to Larry Stephenson for being elevated to the SPBGMA Hall of Greats!

As a follow-up to a story earlier this week… Avery Welter will not be joining The Larry Stephenson Band on guitar. Current member James Story will be staying on in that position.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.