Sacred Strings Records Inc.
Pioneers of The Steel Guitar Tradition
Willie Claude Eason (1921 -2005) "The father of Sacred Steel Music".
Willie was the tenth child born to Henry and Addie Eason. Willie’s elder brother Troman taught him to read music at the urging of their Mother. He was known as “Little Willie and his talking guitar” because he developed his own style, playing single notes as he mimicked the African American singing voice.
Willie became a consummate performer and church musician playing a tremendous role in the formative years of the Keith dominion steel guitar tradition. He is responsible for placing the steel guitar in a position of central importance in Keith dominion church worship services.
Willie also traveled with the Gospel Feast Party at the request of Bishop J.R. Lockley. Eason was multi- talented playing steel guitar and the piano. Eason was a great business man, landlord, booking agent, and gospel concert promoter. Willie made seven 78 –rpm records; four on the Queen record label, two for Aladdin, and one on the Regent record label. He recorded with the Soul Stirrers Quartet group, and the Gospel Trumpeters. Willie died of pneumonia in St. Petersburg, Florida on June 16, 2005.
Henry was born in Ocala, Florida January 10, 1930. Henry’s first encounter with sacred steel guitar music was through Willie Eason, who later became Henry’s brother-in-law. Henry learned Willie’s style and began to add his own touch to it. His praise music became the foundation of what is considered by many to be true House of God praise music. Henry’s up- tempo, driving one chord style is what aroused the church congregations to a state of spiritual ecstasy.
Henry enjoyed singing “Just a closer walk with thee” as he played his steel guitar while dazzling his audience in the process. He shared the stage with several gospel greats such as Rosetta Tharpe. Henry also played steel behind the legendary gospel great Mahalia Jackson, in New York at the Columbia recording studio. The song was titled “To me it’s so wonderful. He passed away April 8, 2001.
Lorenzo was born in Ocala, Florida, February 11, 1925 to Frank and Henrieta Harrison. He was the chief musician of the Jewell Dominion church for over forty years. His desire as a young man was to use his talent playing music for the Lord, while traveling with the Overseer, Bishop M.L. Jewell.
Lorenzo was influenced early in his music career by Willie Eason, Henry Nelson, and Fred Neal, just to name a few. He played his sacred steel guitar better known as Lorenzo’s Harp, with the skill of a surgeon often redefining what could be played on the instrument.
Using the Morley Wah Pedal, he created a sound and style of music never before heard in churches and changed the way most people perceived the steel guitar. People came from miles around to hear him play. Lorenzo traveled and recorded on the Nashboro Record label with the Jewell Gospel Trio playing the bass fiddle and steel guitar.
Bishop Lorenzo L. Harrison passed away in Indianapolis, Indiana December 26, 1986 and will be remembered as one of the greatest steel guitarist to ever grace the music world.