category: Music photography




Music Photography: Larry McCray in the House of Blues

My family is blessed to attend Lake Forest Church, which has a creative staff that works to make messages innovative and relevant.

Music plays a vital role in our worship and the annual series Hope in a House of Blues brings in amazing artists to perform with our band.

Through a bit of luck and a connection with Lake Forest guitarist JB Eanes, the church brought in bluesman Larry McCray for an inspiring performance.

McCray has toured with such notables as The Allman Brothers, Buddy Guy and BB King, and his performance did not disappoint.

Bluesman Larry McCray at Lake Forest Church

Bluesman Larry McCray at Lake Forest Church

Larry McCray plays with the band at Lake Forest Church

Larry McCray plays with the band at Lake Forest Church

McCray plays a powerful rendition of "Soulshine"

McCray plays a powerful rendition of "Soul Shine"

McCray has opened for blues greats Robert Cray and the Allman Brothers among others

McCray has opened for blues greats Robert Cray and the Allman Brothers among others

Lake Forest band member JB Eanes works his guitar

Lake Forest band member JB Eanes works his guitar

McCray has a powerful voice to accompany his amazing guitar work

Blues is McCray's business, and, as the song says, business is good

The stage set added great atmospher for the House of Blues series

The stage set added great atmosphere for the House of Blues series

Lake Forest Worship Director Kyle Dillard leads a song

Lake Forest Worship Director Kyle Dillard leads a song

Vocal Director Reeve Coobs sings a solo

Vocal Director Reeve Coobs sings a solo

Dillard leads a song of worship

Dillard leads a song of worship

Lake Forest Pastor Mike Moses talks about "Doubt in the Ruins" as part of the House of Blues series

Lake Forest Pastor Mike Moses talks about "Doubt in the Ruins" as part of the House of Blues series





Redemption Song: Mike Farris at Lake Forest Church

Mike Farris' song is one of redemption.

Farris performed Sunday at our family's church home, Lake Forest Church in Huntersville, as part of a series titled "Hope in a House of Blues."

Nearly dead from an accidental overdose of pills and alcohol before he turned 21, Farris moved in with his father.  He recalls “I taught myself how to play the guitar, and I started writing songs, songs that were healing me.”

Farris continued to write and eventually formed the Screamin' Cheetah Wheelies, which had had some success including a rock radio hit. He also got to tour with acts such as ZZ Top, the Allman Brothers Band and Sheryl Crow among others. But he continued to struggle with drug and alcohol dependency.

The addictions continued to dominate his life even as he spent time with Double Trouble, the rhythm section of the late guitar legend Stevie Ray Vaughn.

After having an epiphany at a relative's  funeral, Farris became sober again with the help of his family and church. He now combines original songs with turn-of-the-century Gospel songs.

Having seen Farris at Lake Forest last year, I was glad I got the chance to take some pictures and once again hear his amazing voice.

Lake Forest Church lead pastor Mike Moses is heading up the Hope in the House of Blues series with musical leadership from worship director Kyle Dillard. The series runs through Nov. 1, when blues artist Larry McCray performs.

Farris' albums include Salvation in Lights, Goodnight Sun and Shout! Live.

Farris, in his his original song, "The Lonely Road", sings:

I was so blind
Till I saw your glory
The day you saved me from my fire
Will always be
The best part of my story
I ain't ever going back
to where I was before
No, I ain't ever going back - to the lonely road,
The lonely road can't lead me anymore.

Recording artist Mike Farris performs at Lake Forst Church

Recording artist Mike Farris performs at Lake Forest Church

Farris has an incredible voice along with an amazing story of redemption and recovery from a life of dispair

Farris has an incredible voice along with an amazing story of redemption and recovery from a life of despair

Farris joke with Lake Forest worship director about their golf outing. Apparently Kyle's game needs some work

Farris jokes with Lake Forest worship director Kyle Dillard about their golf outing. Apparently Kyle's game needs some work

"Just got to heaven and I can't sit down"

"Just got to heaven and I can't sit down"

Farris jokes with Lake Forest's singers

Farris interacts with Lake Forest's singers

Farris formed the Screamin's Cheetah Wheelies and toured with top bands but suffered through drug and alcohol problems

Farris formed the Screamin' Cheetah Wheelies and toured with top bands but suffered through drug and alcohol problems

Farris returned to his roots and his love of deep Southern inspired Gospel tunes

Farris returned to his roots and his love of deep Southern-inspired Gospel tunes

Farris looks skyward as he talks about his life and his musical journey

Farris looks skyward as he talks about his life and his musical journey

Farris connects with some of Lake Forest's staff backstage at the Huntersville church

Farris connects with some of Lake Forest's staff backstage at the Huntersville church

Lake Forest worship director Kyle Dillard is a talented singer and songwriter as well

Lake Forest worship director Kyle Dillard is a talented singer and songwriter in his own right

Dillard works his guitar

Dillard works his guitar

Dillard leads the congregation in a song of praise

Dillard leads the congregation in a song of praise

Lake Forest lead pastor Mike Moses leads the Hope in a House of Blues series

Lake Forest lead pastor Mike Moses outlines the Hope in a House of Blues series