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Book Review ~ Shaped Notes: How Ordinary People With Extraordinary Gifts Influenced My Life and Career By Larnelle Harris with Christine Schaub

About the Book

“My dad was a bootlegger. Believe or not, bootleggers go to church. Drug dealers and cartel kingpins go to church. That doesn’t make them Christians. Mom was praying Dad into the faith…praying for a change in his life and a change in ours…”

The majestic tenor voice of Larnelle Harris has helped define a generation of contemporary Christian music. Most people know about Larnelle’s notable successes—his Grammy Awards, his Hall of Fame inductions, his #1 hit songs—but no one has heard the true story of how a little boy from the hills of Kentucky made his way to music’s most acclaimed stages and venues.

His journey—from the son of a bootlegger to being the first gospel artist inside the Kremlin after the fall of the Soviet Union—is chronicled for the first time in this heart-felt memoir. From watching his father handcuffed and taken to jail to battling racial tensions to losing his voice and not knowing if he would ever sing again, Larnelle shares the most painful and triumphant moments of his childhood and career. And behind it all, is the faith and perseverance of a boy soprano who kept singing for God in spite of his circumstances.






4.5 Stars


We often err in thinking our careers carry the most defining moments of our lives.

How untrue.

It is life’s experiences—small and big—from the time we’re young to the present, that ignite the special sparks which light the way. Some shift the earth under our feet, others change our minds about old beliefs, and still others inspire our hearts forever to live differently. It is these things, along with the people through whom we’ve encountered these experiences, that are the vessels through which we learn the secrets of success and true greatness that change our lives forever. This is the lesson Larnelle Harris makes known in his memoir, Shaped Notes: God used ordinary people with extraordinary gifts to influence his life and career, blessings for which he is most grateful. This is a man thankful for every experience, pleasant and unpleasant, that has taught, humbled, and given him wisdom for his path in life. His story turns on the light on many areas in life that one may have complacently ignored, causing a reader to pause and ponder beyond the normal boundaries of intellectual and spiritual reasoning in a defining and positive way.

The purpose of Harris’ Shaped Notes is to deliver a testimony with the hope that it will set people free to embrace life’s experiences, as well as the people we encounter through them, perceiving each as a torch God uses to light the way for His children to follow, a way that He’d prepared in advance for them.

A truly inspiring memoir!

*Though I offer this review to the public, it is my opinion and simply that. A ‘thank you’ to Gina Adams at AdamsPRGroup for a free copy in exchange for my honest review.


About Larnelle Harris

Described by CCM Magazine has having a “larger than life stage presence with impeccable vocal prowess,” Larnelle Harris has become the epitome of talent and integrity in a career that spans over four decades. He is the only person in history to be a member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame. Larnelle has garnered numerous accolades for his music, including five Grammy Awards, eleven Dove Awards (three of which were for Male Vocalist of the Year), and a Stellar Award, among other honors. He has garnered nineteen number #1 singles and countless top 10 hits. Songs such as How Excellent Is Thy Name, I Miss My Time With You, I’ve Just Seen Jesus, and his signature song, Amen, are now considered modern classics.

From the White House to the danger zone of the 38th Parallel, Larnelle has impacted dozens across the globe with his music and ministry. He was the first Christian artist to perform inside the Kremlin after the fall of the Soviet Union. He is one of a handful of celebrities to receive the Ad Council’s Silver Bell Award for Distinguished Public Service in recognition of his song, Mighty Spirit, as the theme music for the longest-running Public Service Announcement in television history. Larnelle was honored by his home state of Kentucky with the Governor’s Lifetime Achievements Award in the Arts, making him the first Christian artist to receive the honor.

Larnelle continues to tour worldwide, with recent dates at Carnegie Hall and in Paris, France. He not so long ago performed for the National Day of Prayer event in Washington D.C. in and sang for a gathering of Ambassadors to the United Nations.

Larnelle and his wife, Mitzy, reside in Louisville, Kentucky. Their son, Lonnie, and daughter, Teresa, have families of their own, which means the grandchildren visit often, much to their grandparents delight. Visit for more information.