Emerging from the Stanley Brothers' Clinch Mountain Boys band, Larry Sparks carried on with the sounds created by bluegrass music's first generation. Sparks grew up in Lebanon, Ohio, with his Appalachian Kentucky-raised parents and a fiddle contest champion grandfather. When he was young, Sparks heard Cincinnati country star Wayne Raney on the radio and learned to play the guitar.
After sitting in as lead guitarist with the Stanley Brothers as they toured Ohio in 1964, bluegrass took first place among his musical interests. Larry played increasingly often with the Stanley Brothers and made his recording debut in 1965 on a small Dayton, Ohio, label. He spent three years as lead vocalist with Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys after Carter Stanley's death at age 41 in 1966.
Around the year 1970, Larry formed his own band, The Lonesome Ramblers. They recorded for various labels in the '70s and early '80s, moving to Rebel in 1982 for the Dark Hollow album. It was the first in a long string of recordings that sold steadily and won critical acclaim. Larry and The Lonesome Ramblers barely slowed down in the 1990s, releasing several albums over the course of the decade. His 2003 album The Coldest Part of Winter showed him in undiminished form. In 2004 he won the International Bluegrass Music Association's Male Vocalist of the Year Award. An album of duets with bluegrass and country singers entitled 40 followed on Rebel Records in 2005. In 2007, he released The Last Suit You Wear on McCoury Music. Since then, he has released I Don't Regret a Mile in 2008, I Just Want To Thank You Lord in 2009, and Almost Home in 2011.