The Arhoolie Foundation’s Robert Stone Sacred Steel Archive consists of over 150 recorded interviews and over 6,510 photographic negatives documenting the Sacred Steel gospel music tradition. Folklorist and preeminent Sacred Steel historian Robert Stone donated these materials in 2020. 

Beginning in the early 1990s, Stone worked with Chris Strachwitz and Arhoolie Records to produce several Sacred Steel CDs and a documentary film celebrating the past and present of this vibrant living tradition. Together with the Campbell Brothers, Willie Eason, Aubrey Ghent, The Lee Boys, and other active sacred steel musicians, Stone and Arhoolie helped introduce this extraordinary vein of gospel music to a worldwide audience. 
Here you will find a selection of streaming interviews and scanned photographs. More will be added as we continue to digitally preserve this important collection. 

Sacred Steel Interviews

Sacred Steel Projects

Robert Stone has published a new book from the University Press of Mississippi, which the Arhoolie Foundation was honored to sponsor for publication through a grant. The book, Can’t Nobody Do Me Like Jesus! Photographs from the Sacred Steel Community, is now available for pre-order! 

You can order it here.

The Arhoolie Foundation, in cooperation with the Documentary Arts Foundation, produced this documentary film under the direction of Robert Stone. Sacred Steel shows the development and use of the steel guitar in assisting the services and leading the “praise music” in the House Of God denomination of these Holiness-Pentecostal churches. Featuring the Campbell Brothers with Katie Jackson, Elder Maurice “Ted” Beard, Calvin Cooke, Willie Eason, Elder Aubrey Ghent, Rev. Glenn Lee, the Lee Boys, Robert Randolph, historic footage of Henry Nelson, and much more.

Watch the complete film here

The first in-depth look at a unique sacred music tradition.

In this book, Robert L. Stone follows the sound of steel guitar into the music-driven Pentecostal worship of two related churches: the House of God and the Church of the Living God. A rare outsider who has gained the trust of members and musicians inside the church, Stone uses nearly two decades of research, interviews, and fieldwork to tell the story of a vibrant musical tradition that straddles sacred and secular contexts.

Buy the book here

Statement on the passing of Chris Strachwitz

Arhoolie Records Founder
July 1, 1931 – May 5, 2023

We celebrate the life of our founder, friend, and great record man Chris Strachwitz. He died peacefully at home in Marin County, CA, surrounded in his last days by dear friends and family. Over his 91 years, Chris captured the music that represents the best “down home music” the world has to offer.

He was at the forefront of nearly all the roots revivals over the last 60 years including blues, zydeco, Cajun, Norteño and Tejano music. His drive to document traditional music helped introduce the nation to our diverse musical heritage. He had the foresight to save music that might have otherwise been lost to obscurity and played a role in strengthening cultural traditions through his records, films, and most recently the Arhoolie Foundation. He cared for those around him, fought for royalties and recognition for Arhoolie artists, and provided counsel to countless musicians, writers, film makers, and academics.

Plans for a public celebration of his life will be announced in the coming weeks. Today we’re thinking of all that Chris brought to our lives and the lives of the musicians and fans with whom he shared his passion.