Larry Long (singer-songwriter)

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Larry Long Guitar Standing.jpg

Larry Long (born 1951 in Des Moines, Iowa) is an American singer-songwriter. His non-profit organization "Community Celebration of Place" encourages community building through music and intergenerational story-telling.[1] He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

An American troubador[edit]

Larry Long's work is rooted in the troubadour tradition. Throughout his long career he has written and performed hundreds of ballads celebrating community builders and history makers. He sang for Rosa Parks at the 45th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and organized the Mississippi river Revival, a decade-long campaign to clean up the Mississippi river.[2] In 1989, he assembled the first hometown tribute to Woody Guthrie in Okemah, Oklahoma, which today has evolved into the annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival with an array of established and upcoming artists.

Now a Smithsonian Folkways recording artist, Long has sung at major concerts and festivals throughout the United States and world. In May, 2009, he performed at Madison Square Garden with Joan Baez and others for Pete Seeger's 90th Birthday Celebration. PBS broadcast the concert nationally as part of its Great Performances series.

Elders' Wisdom, Children's Song[edit]

In 1989, while working with communities in rural Alabama, Long created an intergenerational process called Elders' Wisdom, Children's Song. The program brings community elders into the classroom to share their life histories. Based on these stories, the children create songs and lyrical work that celebrate the diverse and often unsung history makers of their community.[3]

Long organized Community Celebration of Place, a non-profit organization committed to intergenerational and cross cultural community building. Through CCP Long has organized dozens of community-school collaborations in Minnesota and across the nation. In song books and CDs Long has recorded the stories and music that have flowed from these collaborations.


Long has received numerous awards including the Bush Artist Fellowship (1995), the Pope John XIII Award (2001, Viterbo University) and the Spirit of Crazy Horse Award (2002, Reclaiming Youth International).

Discography (partial listing)[edit]

  • It Takes a Lot of People (1989, Flying Fish Records).
Okemah, Oklahoma's first hometown tribute for Woody Guthrie.
  • Troubadour (1993, Flying Fish Records)
Featuring a live concert and field records from throughout the United States.
  • Living in a Rich Man's World (1995, Rounder/Atomic Theory Recordings).
Anthology of Larry Long's work from 1976-1995.
  • The Psalms (1992, Stellar Records).
Original works inspired by the Psalms.
  • Hauling Freight, No Fences (1995, produced with Barry Kimm).
Documentary /music video.
  • Here I Stand, Elders' Wisdom, Children's Song (1997, Smithsonian Folkways).
Features original works and field recordings with youth and elders from rural Alabama.
  • Run For Freedom (1997, Flying Fish Records, produced by Marian Moore).
Songs from Long's work with children of the Lakota Nation.
  • Sweet Thunder (1997, Flying Fish Records, produced with Billy Peterson).
Integrates music and spoken word with themes and stories from Dakota traditions.
  • Well May the World Go (2000, Smithsonian Folkways)
Long is joined by a distinguished cast of fellow musicians to honor the immigrant cultures of the United States
  • I Will Be Your Friend: Songs and Activities for Young Peacemakers (2006).
A CD with accompanying activity book distributed by the Teaching Tolerance Program of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
  • Don’t Stand Still (2011, Cereus Records)

Songbooks and curriculum (partial listing)[edit]

  • New Folk Favorites (Hal Leonard Publishing).
  • Elders' Wisdom, Children's Song Guidebook (Sing-Out Publishing, 1999).
  • I Will Be Your Friend: Songs and Activities For Young Peacemakers (Southern Poverty Law Center, 2003).
  • Be Kind to All That Live: Elders' Wisdom, Children's Song. Songbook, Volume 1 (Community Celebration of Place, 2006)
  • Just Be Who You Are: Elders' Wisdom, Children's Song. Songbook, Volume II (Community Celebration of Place, 2008)


  1. ^ Kenney, 2003
  2. ^ Grue, 1995
  3. ^ Shelton, 2005


  • "Signing Out for Social Change," and "Larry Long, Pope County Blues," pp. 292 and 295 from Northern Lights: Stories of Minnesota’s Past, Jim Kenney. Minnesota Historical Society Press. 2003
  • Deep Community: Adventures in the Modern Folk Underground, Scott Alarik, p. 131. Black Wolf Press. 2003
  • "Four Part Harmony" p. 50-53 from The Compassionate Rebel: Energized by Anger, Motivated by Love, Bert E. Barlowe, p. 50-53. Triangle Park Creative Press. 2002
  • Powerline: the First Battle of American’s Energy War, Senator Paul Wellstone and Barry M. Caspar, p. 24. University of Massachusetts Press. 1983
  • "Mississippi River Revival," pp. 319–330, by Sandra Grue, from Ringing in the Wilderness: The North Country Anvil, edited by Rhoda Gilman. Holly Cow! Press Press. 1995
  • Featured interview with Larry Long, Sing Out! Magazine, V.33. No. 4, Summer 1988
  • Consequential Learning: A Public Approach to Better Schools, Jack Shelton, pp. 91–100, New South Books. 2005
  • Blue Guitar Highways, Paul Mesta, pp. 236–237. University of Minnesota Press. 2011

External links[edit]