"Music used to be a God to me. Now it is a gift. So every night when I go on stage it is not like a job. It is like unwrapping new gifts every time I start a new song. Without sounding weird, I feel like it is a reward God is giving me." Larry Howard
"Larry Howard has made numerous musical statements in his life. Now he is celebrating his 35th anniversary in the recording business. He has created some of the most personal and passionate records ever. His recordings touch on a gamut of styles that Howard has worked with throughout his career.
Everyone knows records this good don't happen by accident. They come from years of hard work, playing anywhere, focus, playing everywhere and surviving the long and lonely roads of the rock and roll life."
Devlin Donaldson "Compassion International"
From the Beginning
Larry Howard's life has been spent learning, playing, and recording music. He began his recording in 1967, a full 35 years ago. but his lifetime of music began long before he entered his first recording studio. "In my early years I played a lot of big band swing music," Howard says recounting his early years. "When I was 14 I had the opportunity to play with Count Basie at the University Of Miami music school for six weeks. I love that style of music.
I did my first recording for a production company in 1967," Howard continues. "Then I did some regional stuff in Florida. Then I hooked up with Dru Lumbar (guitar and vocals), Joe Dan Petty (bass) and Ricky Burnett (drums). Together we formed Grinderswitch. We were a southern rock and blues band and we toured with most if not all the great southern rock and blues bands, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers, Charlie Daniels Band, Marshall Tucker, BB King, Freddy King, Papa John Creach, and many more.
We signed with Capricorn Records in 1972," Howard says recalling his history. "We did six records before we broke up in 1979. Most of the Grinderswitch albums were with Capricorn and some were with Atlantic/Atco Records."
In 1979 Grinderswitch had run their course and the members went off in separate directions. "In 1980 I became a Christian," Howard states matter-of-factly. "I came off the road for four years and worked a job. I devoted my time to being in church and being under sound preaching and studying the Bible. People kept telling me I needed to record an album but I kept telling them what I needed was get my family and my life together."
In 1984 Howard had the chance to meet Christian Music pioneers Bob MacKenzie and Ray Nenow who owned Refuge Records. "Bob heard a song I had written called 'I Gave Jesus My Blues'. Bob said, "Anyone who can use the words Jesus and blues in the same sentence is going to do a record for me."
"In 1984 I started recording again," Howard continues, "I did two records with Refuge Records, 'Shout' and 'Sanctified Blues.' Radio stations are still playing a song off 'Sanctified Blues' called "Cool Rain". That came out in 1986."
From 1987 until 1995 Howard released six albums. The first, "Into The Light" ended up being a European only release. Then Howard signed to Forefront and released the studio album 'Redeemed' followed by a live album, 'Larry Howard's Cornerstone Blues Jam.' Howard finished up his time with Forefront with the release of 'Bright Side of the Blues.'He also recorded several more releases including "American Roots" featuring Charlie Daniels, Jimmy Nalls,and The Charlie Daniels Band, and "Into The Night" a live trio recording with Glen Kasier and Darrell Mansfield.
All of the work, the ups and downs, the good times and the bad times have paid off in numerous ways, not the least of which is a recent honor bestowed on Howard. "The Georgia Music Hall of Fame is in Macon,GA," Howard explains. "One thing that I am proud of is that they featured not only Grinderswitch in the museum, which is an honor to me, but also my solo projects. There, featured in the gospel section, are 'Redeemed' and 'Sanctified Blues'. We had a private reception there and they have already added the 'American Roots' exhibit. They also did a 90-minute interview with me that is in the archives there which deals with my past musical career and my present musical career and the contrast between them. That means a lot to me."
Howard continues to record, produce, and engineer for his "Omega Arts" studio in Macon,GA.
He is currently working on his new recording "Wood and Steel" and producing the second project for Jimmy Bratcher.
He produced a live five hour 2002 Easter project at Louisiana State Pen at Angola, LA. featuring Chuck Colson, himself and several inmate bands, Aron Neville, Charlie Daniels,and more.
Howard has plans to record two Russian bands in Russia in 2003 as well as a 1,000 voice male choir in a Zambian prison.
"Got to keep it interesting" smiles Howard.