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Taking a risk and using his own money to make it happen, Isaac Larrowe is bringing contemporary Christian recording artist and YouTube sensation Coffey Anderson to perform at First Baptist Church of Galax on Sept. 25.
“God has laid it on Isaac’s heart to bring him here,” said Sam Bartlett, pastor of First Baptist. “To bring an artist of that nature here is very rare.”
Anderson is a singer-songwriter from Texas, whose music incorporates a blend of pop, contemporary Christian, gospel and soul. He gained popularity through YouTube videos, with more than 2 million hits to some videos, and his appearance in the finals on “Nashville Star” on CMT.
He has since released four albums: “Southern Man,” “Me and You” and two Christian albums.
Bartlett said Anderson has taught many worship leaders to play guitar and has written and performed several Christian songs. And on the night of Sept. 25, he will perform acoustic contemporary Christian, gospel and inspirational music.
In addition to his acoustic performance, Anderson will lead the sermon at First Baptist Church that day.
A contemporary Christian band, made up of members from different local churches, will open for Anderson.
Galax native Larrowe, 20, said when Anderson made it into the top 12 on “Nashville Star,” he became intrigued with Anderson’s soulful voice and began researching his music on the Internet.
“I used to sit and listen to Coffey. And when I thought about bringing him here, I thought he would be too big to get, but I was able to work out a deal.
“After praying about it, I found that I had to bring Coffey here. And I wanted to make this free, just as the John Waller concert was last year.”
Contemporary Christian singer-songwriter Waller performed at the Rex Theater in downtown Galax last year, another concert organized by Larrowe.
Larrowe, who hopes to make contemporary Christian concerts an annual event in Galax, said he has enjoyed putting these events together, even though coming up with the money hasn’t been easy.
“I didn’t want churches to feel responsible,” said Larrowe, who has been sending out packets asking for donations.
Larrowe said bringing contemporary Christian artists to Galax is a new way to reach people and introduce them to Christ.
During the Waller concert, several people that night found faith and hope in Christ, he said.
“This is a free concert and [Larrowe’s] gift to the community,” said Bartlett. “With the recession, it is good for people to laugh, have a good time and receive hope.”
Larrowe began putting this concert together a couple of months ago, using the money he received as a gift from his high school graduation to bring Anderson here.
“While we have contemporary Christian artists that might come to Winston-Salem or Roanoke, it’s not something we get that often in Galax,” said Bartlett. “And with contemporary Christian stations in the area, this allows us to break through barriers to reach those that want to hear this type of music.
“We hope we can bring more creative artists to the community.”
Larrowe, who now lives in King, N.C., attends Cornerstone Community Church and First Baptist Church of Galax and loves music.
When he heard Waller’s song “While I’m Waiting,” Larrowe said the message spoke to him. That song was featured in 2008’s number-one independent movie, “Fireproof.”
Through donations, churches and business, he was able to bring Waller to Galax for a concert that packed the house.
Like the song says, Larrowe said he was just waiting for God to give him the next step in life.
Larrowe and his family moved to King his sophomore year of high school to participate in the school’s distinguished baseball team. However, his dream of playing professional baseball was taken away from him when he had to go through extensive surgery to repair both of his rotator cuffs, and he was told he would never play the game again.
Larrowe has worked at East Coast Wings and hopes to become a restaurant owner one day — that’s his next step in life, he said.