Jerry smiling widely holding a ukulele.

Great God A’Mighty!

The Dixie Hummingbirds: Celebrating the Rise of Soul Gospel Music

The venerable Dixie Hummingbirds stand at the top of the Black gospel music pantheon as artists who not only significantly impacted that genre but, in the process, also influenced emerging American pop music from Rhythm & Blues and Doo-Wop to Rock ‘n’ Roll, Soul, and Hip-Hop.

Through interviews with founding members and drawing from the historic record, Great God A’ Mighty! The Dixie Hummingbirds tells the story of the group’s evolution across more than nine decades. Their roots as an a cappella quartet with ambitions to rise above and overcome segregation in the rural South. Their success during the war years on records, radio, and on the stages of urban night clubs. The emergence of their guitar-driven soul sound that led to Sixties collaborations with artists such as Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon. And in the end, the challenges of keeping the Birds legacy going into the 21st Century.

Great God A’ Mighty! The Dixie Hummingbirds is richly illustrated with photographs along with an online discography and a companion website with additional color photos and ephemera.

Learn More
Book cover showing the Dixie Hummingbirds.

How They Got Over

Gospel Quartets and the Road to Rock & Roll

How They Got Over documents the story of post WW2 Black gospel quartets whose trailblazing vocalizing¬† influenced emerging R&B and Rock ‘n’ Roll, and as part of the soundtrack of the Civil Rights Movement helped break down racial barriers in 1950s America.

How They Got Over features vintage performance footage of the Dixie Hummingbirds, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the Fairfield Four, the Consolers, the Blind Boys of Mississippi, the Sensational Nightingales, the Davis Sisters, the Mighty Clouds of Joy, the Soul Stirrers, and many more. The film features interviews with some of the greatest names in gospel from Ira Tucker and Isaac Freeman to Otis Clay, Clarence Fountain, and Dennis Edwards of the Temptations as well as leading scholars including Opal Nations, Robert Marovich, and Jerry Zolten.

The film, in addition to screenings at festivals worldwide and select movie theaters nationwide, has been featured on Turner Movie Classics and is currently streaming on HBO Max and Prime Video.

Learn More
How They Got Over movie poster.

Chimpin’ The Blues

with Jerry Zolten & R. Crumb

The blues is one of America’s greatest legacies to the world. In that spirit and in celebration, this album captures the erudite and entertaining conversation between two fanatic collectors of 78 RPM records – legendary underground cartoonist Robert Crumb and author/producer/roots music historian Jerry Zolten – as they spin favorite tracks from their personal collections. Chimpin’ the Blues they call it. “Just chatterin’ record collectors,” says Crumb, “sittin’ and talkin’ about stuff they’re interested in … monkey chatterin,’ chimpin’.” The result, as one critic put it, “an offbeat, off-the-cuff, one-hour excursion into the blues, pre-blues, gospel, and jazz of the 1920s and 30s …seasoned with plenty of yuks, anecdotes, and trivia. Chimpin’ is as revealing about Crumb and Zolten as it is about the 13 tastefully restored rare tracks featured on the album.

Learn More

Ballad of the Dreadnought

A Musical Icon Turns 100

In homage to creating the first dreadnought in 1916, Martin Guitars commemorated the 100 year anniversary with a documentary film, The Ballad of the Dreadnought.

Narrated by actor Jeff Daniels, The Ballad of the Dreadnought traces the rise of the Martin Dreadnought from selling only a few dozen guitars for its first 20 years to becoming the musical companion played in almost every musical genre in every corner of the world.

The film features history-making dreadnought moments, such as Crosby, Stills and Nash performing at Woodstock, plus interviews with artists Rosanne Cash, Roger McGuinn, Steve Miller, Vince Gill, Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson, and Del McCoury along with Chris Martin, company archivist Dick Boak,  and music historian Jerry Zolten .

Watch Now
Ballad of the Dreadnought movie poster.

Time to Lay it Down

The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War

Time to Lay It Down — The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War is a two-part public radio documentary that explores the music created during the Vietnam War, which expressed the deep divisions in the U.S., and provided a life line for GIs in Vietnam, as well as a source of healing when they came home. Part One covers the experience of music on the home front; Part Two the experience of soldiers on the war front.

Listen Now