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The Larry Stephenson Band

On Fire – 1998 (Pinecastle)

Reviewed by George Hauenstein

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CDs by The Larry Stephenson Band

This is Larry Stephenson's finest recording in the 10 years since forming his own bluegrass band. A former member of Bill Harrells' Virginians and the Bluegrass Cardinals, Stephenson put together a nearly flawless combination of song selection, vocals and instrumentation.

Most songs here are covers, including many country classics like, JackClement's, "I Know One," Merle Haggard's, "I've Got a Yearning," the Louvin's,"Knoxville Girl" and "Nothing Can Stop My Loving You," a hit for George Jones. The band does a nice job with Jim Lauderdale's, "What Am I Waiting For?" and"Wild Irish Rose" is an on-the-money instrumental. The best is Stephenson's tribute to his idols, the Osbone Bros, "The Sound (That Set My Soul On Fire)." Sonny Osborne produced the record and sings on one cut. Stephenson's distinctive tenor and mandolin power the music, but band members Kristin Scott (banjo), Booie Beach (guitar) and Mickey Harris (bass) make superb contributions throughout.

There's nothing too flashy or overpowering here. Just a very pleasantcollection of material.