We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Willie French Lowery yesterday, May 3rd, 2012. Willie’s music and leadership have inspired countless people in his Lumbee community, across North Carolina, and beyond. It has been an honor and a privelege working with him over the past year to reissue some of his powerful and underrecognized recordings. Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones during this difficult time.

Willie described his faith in the sweet by-and-by in his classic song “Streets of Gold”:

I been told that the streets are gold in heaven
The angels sing when you’re resting there in heaven
There’ll never be a better place.


For those interested in Willie’s life, career, and influence, please visit his website for more info, or click here to read Lumbee folklorist and historian Jefferson Currie’s essay for our upcoming Plant and See LP reissue, scheduled for release on July 3rd, appropriately just in time for Independence Day. We sincerely hope that making Willie’s music more widely available will help his family, friends, and fans in their mourning and remembrance of an unforgettable American artist, activist, and leader.

Rest in peace, Willie. Sing on with that angel band.