Local Wire

Lonnie Holley: Keeping a Record of It Documents The Artist's Unique Power

Lonnie Holley's art begins with troubled times.

The 63-year-old's first artistic project was carving headstones for his sister's two children, who died in a house fire in Alabama in 1979. Since then, his found-object assemblages, paintings, and collages have endeared him to the fine art world -- they have even been displayed in the Smithsonian and the White House -- in part due to the patronage and care of Atlanta art collector and historian Bill Arnett.

He's always sung, too, recording crude cassettes full of impressionistic melodies. In recent years, Matt Arnett, Bill's son, has helped expose Holley's musical work. In 2012, Georgia folk label Dust-to-Digital released Just Before Music, featuring Holley's first professional recordings, and on September 3, the label will release Keeping a Record of It, a new album featuring contributions from Deerhunter's Bradford Cox and Cole Alexander of the Black Lips.

Lonnie Holley is scheduled to perform Friday, August 23, at Crescent Ballroom.

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.