Melzer, Ashley. “Proud to call him Lumbee: Willie French Lowery, 1944-2012.” Indyweek.com Monday, May 7, 2012.
Willie French Lowery passed away May 3, 2012 at the age of 68. His musical legacy includes more than 40 years of psychedelic rock, children’s music and more.
Lowery was born in Robeson County in 1944 and, as a young man, played in a traveling carnival. From there he wrote commercial jingles and more, before fronting two bands. His sound was a southern swamp-psych sound. After pursuing rock-and-roll glory, he turned his focus to the community. Lowery taught arts and culture to young Lumbee kids. He even recorded a children’s folk album called “Proud to be a Lumbee.”
Attempts to reissue some of Lowery’s best albums are in the works as labels and family members alike try to honor the legacy of a great man. Lowery was a cultural figurehead for the Lumbee people. He inspired many Lumbee tribe members through music and his outspoken nature.
Lowery left a mark on the community over the years, and, since his passing, the people are trying to honor him in the same way.