Free Dirt Records & Service Co. Begins New Chapter

After 12 years of hard work and dedication to bringing you the best in American roots music, spoken word, and beyond, our fearless co-founder John Smith will be stepping down from his current role as General Manager at Free Dirt Records & Service Co. We’re sorry to see him go, but also very thrilled and proud to announce that on June 11, 2018, he’ll begin his new post as the Associate Director at Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, the non-profit record label of the Smithsonian Institution headquartered in Washington, DC.

Though John will be moving on to one of the most righteous, mission-driven record labels we know of, Free Dirt has no plans to slow down and welcomes an exciting new future! We’ve always considered ourselves a bit of a collective, and while we’ll dearly miss having John around to helm our sturdy little ship, Free Dirt is happy to have several veteran team members taking on bigger roles in moving John and Dr. Erica Haskell’s vision onward. We’ll continue to offer distribution, publishing administration, and label services for independent artists and organizations we love. And we can’t wait for you to hear the handful of releases still coming your way this year—including recordings from Frank Newsome, Courtney Hartman & Taylor Ashton, Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard, and more!  Big plans for 2019 and beyond are also in the works, with more new releases and projects to be announced soon.

After all, dirt is underrated. Without it beneath us we wouldn’t be able to move forward. It’s tough and enduring like the dedicated group of folks who have brought their passion and skills to Free Dirt over the years. After over a decade of groundwork, we’re really just getting started. There may be no such thing as a free lunch in this world, but Free Dirt is here to stay.


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