Larry Gillis  comes from a little town called Soperton, located in
southeast Georgia.  He was raised on backwoods music and was
especially influenced by his father to play the five string banjo.  He
developed a style reminiscent of Don Reno and Ralph Stanley,
although plainly it is Larry’s own sound.  One half of the legendary
Gillis Brothers, Larry continues with his music career in bluegrass.
A world renowned banjo picker, and one of the few who still plays the
old claw hammer style.  He definitely has a traditional style of his
own.  2016 will mark thirty-six years in the business for Larry and truly
justifies the title "Dr. Swampgrass Gillis".

This powerful ensemble of talented musicians can only be described
as a hard-core, hard-driving, straight-up, traditional bluegrass band.  
With a sound that comes from the deep south, and the admiration of
the legends of bluegrass music, their style is one of a kind.

A style of originality that can only be tagged as the “Gillis sound” just
flows out and leaves the audience with a lasting impression few ever
forget.  Tom Henderson of Tampa, Florida and DJ of the syndicated
radio show, “This Is Bluegrass” on WMNF, said a phrase went
around a few years ago about rating other hard driving bands by
“The Gillis Factor”. . . few others measure up!
Larry Gillis
For Booking Info contact Kristi Gillis or Larry Gillis:  478-697-6162  
166 Truckers Trail, Soperton, GA 30457
I just finished reviewing Bobby Bare, and it couldn't be better than to have Dr. Swampgrass, Larry
Gillis, come up next with his amazing style of bluegrass and traditional country sound.  Larry Gillis
does two things with his music.  He keeps the traditional bluegrass sound in all that he does, but at
the same time he adds a very 'original' Larry Gillis sound to the mix, not only hard to do, but
incredibly authentic in the evolution of old-time acoustic music in it's many disguises.  Larry has no
less than five original songs on this CD, all of them right in the scope of anyone who likes authenticity
at the same time they like newness.  That is a combination hard to beat, especially since Nashville
has abandoned the 'crown' of authentic and traditional country music.  Where to find that?  Easy, it's
down in Georgia where Larry Gillis and the Swamp Folk abound.  Larry is the driving force behind
his own music, and he's also the driving force on his 5-string banjo sound.  He carries it full circle, for
instance the very folk-like sound of Stanley, to the hard driving sound of Scruggs, add Gillis himself
to it and you have an astonishing 'new' banjo sound, bluegrass sound, original music sound, BUT it's
still within the definition of the genre.  Add to the mix Alex Leach on guitar, beautifully picking note for
note what Larry does (especially on Swamp Leach), and mandolin, and then add the fiddle of Ella
Naiman Warde, a young woman who plays the fiddle rough and ready like a swamp man.  Rafe
Waters on bass with some additional help on that instrument from Kristi Gillis who is also Larry's
wife.   Larry has mellowed his voice a bit since my last listen, and it sounds just right, perfect for this
music, perfect for the story songs he does, perfect for the lovely gospel songs he includes.  Add the
typical tight harmony of nearly all good bluegrass bands, and you can begin to realize how very good
Dr. Swampgrass is.  He's authentic and original, I doubt you could take that out of him, but more
importantly, he has a great respect for good bluegrass music, authentic and traditional, as well as
original and fun.  Here's a nice surprise, on "Sad Swamp Man" one of the best songs on this CD,
Larry plays what I believe to be an open-back banjo, but it sounds just like a powerful lap dulcimer.  
What an absolutely beautiful original sound coming from this very masculine swamp man from
Georgia.  Gentle, sweet, sorrowful, story telling, absolutely stunning.  His vocalization on this song
gives me shivers, it's remarkable. The entire CD is chock full of great songs from the past, and those
five brand new ones from Larry, creating a listening experience we don't get much anymore, and
need more of.  This is the real deal, the soul searching and response to the music so transparently
missing in country music today from Nashville.  Larry Gillis is not only carrying the heavy load of
'tradition' he also has on his other shoulder 'originality' and boy does he blend them well.  This CD
goes immediately to the Rural Roots Music Commission.  Larry won "Traditional Bluegrass CD of
the Year" in 2014.  The Commission sure has it's work cut out for them.  Congratulations to my
favorite Southern bluegrasser.
Lifetime Acheivements
1996 Olympics - Atlanta, GA

Wolf Trap Performing Arts - Washington DC

National Folk Festival - 1) Johnstown, PA (twice); 2) Bangor, ME

Dollywood - Pigeon Forge, TN

Central Canadian Bluegrass Awards, Host Band - Huntsville, ON

Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Celebration - Rosine, KY
(Aired on RFD-TV & Rural TV from 2009 - 2018)

2014 Rural Roots Music Commission Traditional CD of the Year - Swampgrass

2015 Rural Roots Music Commission Traditional CD of the Year - Swamp Folk

2016 IBMA Filmfest - featured DVD Whippoorwill Cry

2016 Georgia Country Music Awards Top 5 Finalist