Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Going Back to Indiana

Not Michael Jackson, not Howard Hughes, but Larry Sparks. And he already went in 2004.

Rustic tones of banjos, fiddles and mandolins will herald the first days of autumn as the Bill Monroe Memorial Music Park presents its 30th Annual Uncle Pen Days Festival from September 22nd–25th....

The Uncle Pen Days Festival is one of the park’s flagship events, commemorating Bill Monroe’s Uncle Pendleton Vandiver, a fiddle player who inspired Monroe to play music. The park grounds are home to Uncle Pen’s Cabin, the one-room cabin where Vandiver lived. The historic cabin is open to the public and admission is free to festival attendees.

This year’s Uncle Pen Days Festival coincides with the induction of Larry Sparks and the Lonesome Ramblers into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame, which Monroe founded nearly 20 years ago to recognize important and influential artists in the field of bluegrass music. Sparks’s induction ceremony will take place on Friday the 24th, and will include a special reunion of the band with original members Wendy Miller and Mike Lilly, on mandolin and banjo respectively.

Sparks performed with Ralph Stanley and The Clinch Mountain Boys in the late 1960s before forming the Lonesome Ramblers in 1969. Wendy Miller and Mike Lilly, esteemed for their flashy playing, were in this early incarnation of the Ramblers. Today Sparks is regarded as one of the greatest of all the second-generation bluegrass artists.


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