As a DJ at WRAS, the Georgia State radio station, Lance Ledbetter was unable to find early gospel recordings on CD or LP. In 1999, he began to seek out collectors of old 78 RPM records, listening to hours upon hours of tape, amazed at the wealth of sounds virtually unheard by modern listeners. A project took shape as Lance made plans to share this music with others.
While most record labels might start out with a modest release — a CD or even just a 7-inch single - Lance’s project grew more ambitious over the next four-and-a-half years. In 2004, Dust-to-Digital Records, the Atlanta-based imprint run by Lance and his wife April, released Goodbye, Babylon, a six CD set of gospel music recorded between 1902 and 1960. Hand-packed with raw cotton in cedar boxes, the set received accolades from critics and musicians alike and earned two Grammy nominations for the fledgling label.
Since then, Dust-to-Digital has gone on to restore and reissue numerous historically and culturally significant recordings. Among the most recent is The Art of Field Recording, a collaboration with retired art professor and field recording enthusiast Art Rosenbaum, which earned the label two more Grammy nominations.
Our story joins Dust-to-Digital as they prepare the release the Art of Field Recording Volume II, wait for Grammy fortune to shine on Volume I, and embark on a new project with local gospel master Rev. Johnny L. Jones.
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