A multi-talented musician recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts as a national treasure, Howard "Louie Bluie" Armstrong was frequently cited as the nation's last black string band musician. A Tennessee native whose large immediate family included 11 children, Armstrong displayed his musical prowess early on when, as a child, he strung horsehair on a good box to form a working violin. Armstrong refined his natural musical talents by performing with his family band, and by the time he was a teenager he was playing with some of the biggest names in the Knoxville scene. Breaking the rules of segregated "race music catalogs" to perform music of all persuasions, Armstrong hit the road in 1930 and found increasing exposure. The subject of the PBS documentaries Louie Bluie and Sweet Old Song, Howard "Louie Bluie" Armstrong died in late July of 2003 as a result of a previous heart attack. He was 94.