A Friend So Kind

Album: Burning like the Midnight Sun (2010)
  • songfacts ®
  • This song is about Tom Howard, who was a popular piano player and musical arranger that died of a heart attack on January 29, 2010. Steve Hindalong, who plays drums for The Choir and writes their lyrics, told us: "I knew Tom when we lived in Southern Cal. I was intrigued that he had played keys in Larry Norman's band. He was part of that whole '70s 'Solid Rock, Street Level' scene with Daniel Amos, Randy Stonehill, Mark Heard and all. I admired those guys – especially Mark Heard, who I became fairly close to. Mark died of a heart attack at 40 in '92. Tom was just shy of 60 when he died this past winter.

    A lot of us Californians migrated to Nashville in the early '90s hoping to 'make a better life.' Kinda like the dust bowl Oakies of the '30s only in the opposite direction! We became like family, some of us, sharing holidays and building our own traditions.

    My musical relationship with Tom began when he arranged strings for At the Foot of the Cross Vol 2 - The Seven Last Words of Christ, for which he composed stunning orchestration. Over the next 15 years I hired Tom to arrange strings any time the budget would allow. Listen to the orchestra on 'God of Wonders.' Brilliant!

    One on one, Tom was the kind of friend every one of us needs. He was a passionate counselor and a lover of souls. Yeah, and he was a hilarious character. After I got the shocking news of his passing, I pretty much just sat alone in the dark for three days. On the third day I wrote the poem that served as the lyric for 'A Friend So Kind.' Ah, I've got some stuff I need to talk to Tom about right now. But he's gone."
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