Music » Local Music News

Brother Ely raised from the grave

Dust-to-Digital pays homage to Brother Ely; 4-IZE gets Ignorant



After a hefty schedule of CD, LP and DVD releases, Dust-to-Digital has managed to squeak out one final offering before the year draws to a close. This time it's a book, titled Ain't No Grave: The Life and Legacy of Brother Claude Ely, written by Ely's nephew, Macel Ely II. From the early part of the 20th century all the way up to his death in 1978, Brother Ely was a religious singer/songwriter and a Pentecostal Holiness preacher from Kentucky. Nicknamed "the Gospel Ranger," Ely penned the song "There Ain't No Grave (Gonna Hold My Body Down)" in 1953, which went on to become something of a country hit in 1953, and later inspired the title for Johnny Cash's sixth posthumous release for American Recordings in February 2010.

The book is an oral history culled from recorded interviews with more than 1,000 people in the Appalachian Mountains who knew Brother Ely. For decades he was revered as the fiery long arm of the Lord, but until now, not much has been known about his early life spent in the military and working in Virginia coalfields.

In related news, Dust-to-Digital's inaugural Goodbye, Babylon compilation of obscure gospel recordings from the early 20th century, released in 2003, landed on Brian Eno's "Best sounds of 2010" list for the Guardian. Never mind that it's seven years after the fact — a nod from Eno is a nod from Eno, no matter how you slice it.

The brainy and bespectacled ATL/Chicago rapper 4-IZE dropped his latest mixtape, Professional Ignorant (Upstairs Studio), last week. The recording features 22 brand-new 4-IZE cuts and boasts appearances from B.o.B, De La Soul, Gucci Mane, MF Doom and several others rhyming over beats by Morgan the Mexican Garcia. A slew of produces are on board, including C-Note, Rasta Root and Cash Hole. A download is available via

On the new releases front, A Hawk and a Hacksaw, featuring Jeremy Barnes (Neutral Milk Hotel) and Heather Trost, have a new album, Cervantine, due out March 8 on the group's self-owned label, L.M. Dupli-cation. Hello Ocho has been recording material for a forthcoming album with Jaz Dixon at Two Story Studios, which should materialize sometime in January. Finally, Roman Photos "Decline" b/w "These Arms" 7-inch is out now on Double Phantom Records.

Registration for Atlanta's Ladies Rock Camp 2011 is now open. The program puts musical instruments in the hands of young ladies (19 and younger) and teaches them how to play, write songs and finally perform them for an audience at the Five Spot in Little Five Points. The three-day program begins Feb. 18 and continues through Feb. 20 at Atlanta Charter Middle School, and it has instruments to loan if you don't have your own. Registration forms can be downloaded at Ladies Rock Camp is a fundraiser for Girls Rock Camp organization, so tuition costs a minimum contribution of $350. LRC is also looking for volunteers, so if you're already schooled in the ways of rock, but would still like to be involved, everything that you need is on the website.

Add a comment