LARRY SPARKS, “Almost Home,” Rounder. 12 tracks.

In 1963, the year he turned 16, Larry Sparks hit the road with the Stanley Brothers, playing lead guitar.

As Carter Stanley’s health deteriorated, Sparks’ role in the band increased. And when Carter died in December 1966, Ralph Stanley hired Sparks as lead singer for his new band, Ralph Stanley & His Clinch Mountain Boys.

Six years later, Sparks made his national debut with “Ramblin’ Bluegrass.” He named his band, The Lonesome Ramblers, and his reputation as one of the best vocalists in bluegrass has continued to build.

“Almost Home” is a collection of songs with themes that Sparks’ fans have come to expect — a lot of lonesome and a lot of rambling.

The title cut finds a man sitting on his front porch in a rocking chair, enjoying nature — in his mind, while his body is at work in the city.

“Lines On The Highway” is about a rambler with diesel in his blood and highway lines painted on his soul.

“Momma’s Apron Strings,” “Momma” and “There’s More That Holds The Picture” are nostalgia songs about family.

“Gunfighter’s Revenge” is a story song about a Texas outlaw whose Mexican lover is murdered.

“Picture Me There” finds a man leaving home for work on the road, reassuring his wife that however long it takes, he’ll be home when work is done.

“Bring ’Em On Back” finds the singer nostalgic for classic country music, the Grand Ole Opry, Momma’s chicken dinner, summer hayrides and watermelons.

The album also includes the bluesy gospel of “Somebody Touched Me” and a bluesy version of Hank Locklin’s 1957 country hit, “Send Me the Pillow You Dream On.”

Can’t find it in stores? Try www.Rounder.com.

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