Larry Howard 1950-2017

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Monday 13th March 2017

Blues singer/guitarist Larry Howard dies aged 66

THE SINGER and guitarist called by The Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music "a pioneer of Christian blues," Larry Howard, died on 10th February in Lakeland, Florida, aged 66. Larry was born in Winter Haven and grew up listening to his father's bluegrass band, studied classical music and received trombone lessons from Count Basie's Jazz Clinic before turning to guitar. Throughout the '70s he played in the Southern rock band Grinderswitch, toured with rock icons the Allman Brothers and with country man Charlie Daniels.

In 1986 he recorded a groundbreaking album of electric gospel blues 'Sanctified Blues' with Refuge Records with the Muscle Shoals horn section. Despite critical acclaim the album failed to get US Christian radio support. A second album for Refuge, 'Shout!', also failed to sell. In 1989 Dutch label Spark released Larry's 'Into The Light' album. In 1991 after accompanying CCM star Eddie DeGarmo on the song "There's Something About That Name" Larry was signed to major Christian label ForeFront who released the album 'Redeemed'. The following year Larry was one of the featured artists on the album 'Cornerstone Blues Jam' recorded at the Cornerstone Festival with artists Margaret Becker, Mark Farner and Jessy Dixon. In 1984 blues singing pastor Glenn Kaiser produced Larry's album 'Brighter Side Of The Blues' and the following year Active Arts Records issued 'American Roots' where Larry returned to his Southern rock style.

For the last 10 years Larry was playing regularly with prison ministry singer/evangelist Tony Loeffler. Said Tony, "Larry toured with me for almost 10 years. We started performing together in 2008. Just prior to his getting his hands operated on around 2014/15, we were performing 150 to 180 concerts a year in the prisons. At one point, we were doing three performances in a unit per day, then drive to the next location and do it all again. It was a VERY heavy schedule but very fruitful as well. Thousands came to Christ and Larry was just wonderful to work with. He was one of the most easy going people, with great passion for the lost that I ever knew. He performed in Russian prisons quite extensively prior to our connecting on the Shooting Stars Prison Tour. We had talked on the phone for years about doing a tour together and once we started, we couldn't stop. The only slow down was when he got ill. Even then, it was almost impossible to keep Larry down. He loved the prisoners and loved his Lord and never forgot where he came from. His testimony song tells it all. I will never forget the first time I heard him perform it. I knew, 'This man really FOUND OUT'."

Continued Tony, "Larry also performed with me in Cuba with legends like Bobby Carcasses and others. Larry enjoyed the Cuban people and wanted to return but his health started to slide. He always wanted to produce an album for me but the same sliding health was a problem. Larry invited me to the Sturgis Bikers Stage in South Dakota and we performed together on that stage for several years until he couldn't make the trip any longer. I can't wait to see Larry again in glory. He is one of the greatest blues players who ever shared the stage. He was a great man of God, good friend and lover of God." CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

Reader Comments

Posted by Terry Weatherwax in Shiprock, NM @ 06:30 on Jan 25 2020

I remember when Larry and Peggy came down to the Navajo reservation to share their testimony and music. I was sad to hear of his parting but I know he’s rejoicing with all the saints in heaven.

Posted by George Bradshaw in Michigan @ 06:41 on May 13 2019

I remember when Larry Howard went to my church Harvest Cathedral in Macon Georgia. My parents have had enough of Me by that time I was deeply into drugs and alcohol. Larry took me to Kentucky Fried Chicken Andover lunch he gave me his testimony about how drugs almost took his life. I have never seen someone so serious as he cried and held my hands and pray with me that I would be delivered. My Deliverance did not come right away, but here I am in the year 2019 and I I am delivered. I thank God for Larry Howard and his life and for the life he was able to impart to me. The night he died I had a dream that he had died and then the next day my parents told me that he had passed on. God bless you Peggy

Posted by Glenn Bertone in Bethlehem, PA @ 03:18 on Oct 4 2018

I’ve been blessed by Larry’s playing song writing singing his ministry going back to Grinderswitch I really like sanctify blues and my favorite is redeemed specially the last song makes me cry all the time “Seeds of ictory”!!!seems to be his testimonial song to me it’s very very very powerful keep sowing seeds of victory!✝️🦅💨🙏🏼 🎼🎸🥁☝️

Posted by Tim St Clair in Indiana @ 19:17 on Aug 31 2018

It was Larry Howard's God given music, message and genuine love in his actions that helped a guy like me that struggled in darkness to see the Light of God from a different lens that I could relate to.

Posted by Mark Davidson in Canada @ 18:48 on Jul 3 2018

I first heard Larry Howard at Cornerstone Festival in Illinois in 1996. He was a refreshing surprise when introduced by Glenn Kaiser. His unpretentious testimony and passionate playing were compelling and engaging. Subsequently, I followed his music on the internet. Im working on "It's Only You" for presentation tomorrow night for the glory of God. SDG.

Posted by Rich Noble in West Virginia @ 01:29 on Apr 27 2018

I just came upon this and had no idea Larry had passed on. I discovered his first release "Sanctified Blues" on a cassette tape in the mid/late 80s and played it until it wouldn't work any more. It was my fave. What a man, a testimony, and thank God for his life he spent ministering to the lost. He's now in glory.

Posted by Alma neeley in Atl @ 19:28 on Sep 13 2017

Larry Howard was such a blessing to me back in the day.The lord lead him to allow me to be one of his background singer.,and tour along the eastern coast,.by doing this it was a grand opportunity to be on platform with larry.It was an exciting and anointed tour singing with bgv Charles Jones of macon ga .After the greatest experiences singing before thousands of views . i was quicken in my heart to continue to sing and en🎵courage to become a soloist(psalmist ministering in the gospel).RIP larry. Thank you Lord for allowing me to be a part of that vision. The lord has open many doors for me. Praise ye the Lord ........Alma E Neeley.reording artist 2ss''srecords.🎵"jesus has the power".bless you Peggy.

Posted by Jimmie Bratcher in Kansas City @ 17:32 on Mar 14 2017

Thanks for the article on my friend Larry Howard. Larry was an inspiration in life and ministry producing my first two albums and helping me get started in national prison ministry. He was always ready to reach out to those who many thought were beyond reach. The world is a better place because of Larry & Peggy Howard.

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