The five-time Grammy winner Larnelle Harris is the only person in history to be a member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, the Amateur Radio Hall of Fame and the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame. With more than 30 years in the industry, Harris released his 19th album in March. I talked with him about his career and his album.
Tell me a little bit about “Live in Nashville.” This is your 19th album correct?
“You know, I don’t know (laughs). It’s somewhere in there, but what an exciting project! We taped this at TBN in front of a live audience. Of course, I had a few friends of mine. I had Steve Amerson, fabulous singer Steve Green, who has been along probably longer than I have and Sandi Patty as well as a group called the Nashville Singers. It is one thing to know that you’re taping but to kind of put that aside and have a worship service and that and that’s really what we hope people will take from “Larnelle: Live in Nashville.”
Why do you think you have been able to have such staying power and respect in the world of Christian music?
“I hope I have all those things. I certainly know what the staying power is about and it really doesn’t have much to do with music at all. It has to do with when I made my commitment to Christ. When I made my commitment to Christ, it was serious. So my life with Christ is a long-term thing, in fact, it’s forever. So the backdrop of that is this; my prayer hasn’t changed over the years and that is ‘Lord, put something in my heart, teach me to give it away’ and He’s done that.”
You’ve sang so many songs over the years, what are some of your favorites?
“If I had to pick one I don’t know that I could do it. You know the problem that I have when I get ready to do a concert, we try to lay out, at least start with an idea of what we are going to do at a particular event. But it’s more like, ‘what can I not do tonight’ Is this a place where I cannot do ‘Were it Not for Grace’, no these people got to hear about grace. Is this a place where I cannot do ‘How Excellent is Thy Name’? No, we
have to do that tonight, because people need to understand that God’s name is great and that he is the rewarder of all that diligently seek and pant after him. So that’s the problem that we have. That’s a very nice problem because it means that over the years that God has laid upon my heart to be very, very careful about what I sing.
You have a tour coming up, the Big 3 Tour, tell me about that.
“We’ve actually finished the first leg of it and we did 7 dates in the Michigan, Ohio area. They have a choir that they put together in various cities of about 200 voices. My keyboard player was there and Sandi’s keyboard player was there and Dino, a fabulous communicator with the keys. Sandi and I are doing the duets that we’ve done over the years and it was just a really wonderful program. We are now headed to Florida.”
What can folks expect from this tour?
“It is a place where you are going to meet the Holy Spirit, really going to meet the Spirit of God, because that’s what we want to do. The Bible says when that is your intent and your heart is bent on that and you have supped after the word of God, then people are going to be blessed. So it’s a place of great blessing.
You and Sandi Patty have a long history of musical partners.
“The first time we did a duet I would love to say that we were smart enough to say, ‘hey we could do this and this is going to work.’ It didn’t happen that way. Lanny Wolfe, wrote a song called “More Than Wonderful.” So I got a call, Sandi got a call. We decided to go in and try to do this little song. We had never met. I mean I knew Sandi Patty. Who hadn’t heard of Sandi Patty? When we did the first recording of that we didn’t even do it together, we couldn’t mesh schedules. Next thing I knew this song is playing all over the country, all over the world.
Your new duet with Sandi Patty is “Then Came the Morning” You two seem to blend so well together musically, why is that?
“I just think Jesus came about and for some reason God joined us at the hip and you know what, that’s okay. That’s what he wants to do with the church. I hope that’s an example to the church, to Christians at large, that we are all part of the body of Christ, that he wants us to come together. If we come together, we can do and say and reap an amazing harvest.”