From Scott D. Rosenbaum The Award Winning Director Of SIDEMEN
Born in 1953 amidst the oppression and abuses of the Jim Crow South, Larry Brown reflects on his life that led to a murder conviction, subsequent 34-year prison sentence and the salvation that a mother's love and the guitar provided.
On April 10th, 2020, nearly two years-to-day after his release from prison, Larry was admitted to Nassau University Medical Center.
Sadly, on April 20th, 2020, Larry Brown passed away from complications due to the novel coronavirus. He was 66.
The music of the late Larry Brown lives with a new all-star collaboration benefiting the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Larry Brown was born in 1953 in Forsyth, Georgia, where he lived in his grandparent's sharecropper shack along with 15 other children. Forsyth was a town steeped in the nearly century-old statutes of the Jim Crow laws and-as Oprah Winfrey's 1987 show highlights-one of the hotbeds of unbridled racism in America. By age nine, Larry had already suffered countless acts violence and unspeakable horrors, including repeated torture and abuse at the hands of Forsyth's townspeople. At eight-years-old, he was tied to a tree by five white men while he was beaten and used for "target practice." During this incident, he was shot in the face but somehow survived. The incident left him with a bullet embedded in his cheek and severe trauma which caused a stutter so severe that it rendered him unable to speak for years.
At age 13, after defending himself against yet another vicious attack, Larry was forced to leave Forsyth and move to Long Island to live with his mother and father, who had relocated to Long Beach in search of employment opportunities not available to them in the south. It was into this foreign land that Larry would receive his first pair of shoes and be forced to adapt to an alien culture. He is quick to admit that he became a "bad kid" and was eventually drawn to a life of juvenile crimes. Although the guitar had seemingly always been around his home, impatient and frustrated with his abilities, Larry paid the instrument little mind despite his mother's constant encouragement to "stick with it."
Larry's life would take a disastrous turn when at age 29, an argument with his boss led to a physical altercation. Tragically the conflict led to the death of his employer and Larry was subsequently sentenced to 33 1/3 years to life. He began his incarceration at New York's Sing Sing maximum-security prison in 1985. It was in Sing Sing that Larry turned to music for solace. The penitentiary made a "state guitar" available for the prisoners to sign out and use. The need to share the guitar led to an altercation with another inmate and-fearing her son would destroy any chance for parole-Larry's mother immediately brought him his guitar, "raising holy hell" with the prison brass to make sure her son would receive it. The guitar became Larry's salvation over the next 34 years, across seven different prisons and five parole denials.
In 1991, his mother died having never heard her son's fully realized talents on the guitar. In the spring of 2018, Larry was granted parole and on April 12, 2018, he was released from prison into a world of smartphones and uneven sidewalks; even today he trips often since every surface in prison is perfectly level. He recently found his mom's burial site and performed several songs by her graveside including, "Judgement Day," a song he wrote for her in prison. On the one-year anniversary of his release, Larry fulfilled another one of his "bucket-list" items, performing for the first time in front of an audience outside of the penitentiary. Performing at New York's legendary Iridium, he played a brief set as the opening act for a packed house of 200 people.
Scott is an independent writer/director/producer based in New York. He founded Red Hawk Films in 2006. Scott is a graduate of The George Washington University with a B.A. in Journalism.
Scott has written, directed and produced feature films, commercial spots, corporate and music videos.
His feature films include "THE PERFECT AGE OF ROCK 'N' ROLL," which stars Peter Fonda, Jason Ritter, and Taryn Manning and the award-winning documentary "SIDEMEN: LONG ROAD TO GLORY," about the lives and legacies of three former Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf musicians, Hubert Sumlin, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith and Pinetop Perkins.
James has had a career both in front of and behind the camera as an actor and producer in Hollywood. Over his career he had roles in blockbuster films such as PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN and James Cameron's TITANIC, has voiced the number one video game franchise CALL OF DUTY along with having a recurring role on America's oldest running soap opera GENERAL HOSPITAL to name a few.
Moving to behind the camera with a desire to tell meaningful underdog stories, Emmett has produced 10 films to date, his most recent being 40 YEARS OF ROCKY: THE BIRTH OF A CLASSIC with Sylvester Stallone.
Other highlights include John G Avildsen: KING OF THE UNDERDOGS, a documentary highlighting the unsung Academy Award winning director of ROCKY and THE KARATE KID.
A SHOT IN THE DARK an inspirational story of a champion blind wrestler; STALLONE (Frank That Is), a documentary on the multi talented Grammy award winning artist that knocked Michael Jackson off of the top spot but who still struggles for recognition purely as he's the younger brother of Sylvester. DENNIS AND LOIS music's biggest and quirkiest superfans, OTHER MUSIC documenting the final days of new york's legendary record store and SIDEMEN: LONG ROAD TO GLORY detailing Muddy Waters and Howlin Wolfs group of extraordinary unsung musicians.