Dust-to-Digital presents the Blues and Gospel films of William Ferris


In the 1960s and 1970s, filmmaker, audio recordist, and folklorist William Ferris toured his home state of Mississippi, documenting the voices of African Americans as they spoke about and performed the diverse musical traditions that form the roots of gospel and blues. The archive of recordings that he created and the documentary films that he had a hand in producing have served for decades as invaluable records of the people and the culture of the Deep South.

In 2018, the Atlanta-based record label Dust-to-Digital issued a 4-disc set that includes three hours of audio recordings and two hours of films from the Ferris Archive. The box set has received critical acclaim and has been recently reprinted for a third edition. A DVD of Ferris’s earliest films, as well as a vinyl edition of the “Voices of Mississippi” set were released in late 2018. In early 2019, the box set received two Grammy Awards — one for Best Historical Album and another for Best Liner Notes.

To celebrate Ferris and the recent reemergence of his work, we host this program of his peerless, deeply illuminating, and vibrant documentary films.

“Bill Ferris is a profound historian. I am his biggest fan!!” – Quincy Jones

“The combination of William Ferris and Dust-to-Digital is so important in preserving the cornerstone of our musical American history, and this collection is extraordinary.” – Lucinda Williams

“No one has done more to preserve, protect, promote, and respect the voices and images of the South, in particular the Mississippi Delta, than William Ferris. His depth of knowledge and his meticulous research, combined with his reverence for his subject matter, is humbling and inspiring. Those of us who care about this culture, this music and these people owe him a great debt.” – Rosanne Cash

Curated by Lance Ledbetter & April G. Ledbetter (Dust-to-Digital).

For more info about Dust-to-Digital and its William Ferris releases, visit: www.dust-digital.com.