Fret Not Old-Time Gospel Band

Fret Not Old-Time Gospel Band

 Alameda, California, USA

We play old-time Americana roots gospel -- been at it for 20 years, playing festivals, funerals, churches, benefits, and in the chapels of a few of the State's finest Level 3 institutions. Once the prison chaplain even said we're "the inmates' favorite band inside San Quentin".


Fret Not plays boot-stomping old-time roots gospel, the way our grandmothers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers played it when they were homesteading this great country. Lead by Lori Arthur's fiery singing, with songs from the traditions of America's black and white rural churches, it's as if the Whitstein Brothers and Sister Rosetta Tharpe held a barn dance together. In fact, Lori's grandparents did just that on their New Mexico ranch during the Great Depression, with her grandmother, Eugenia, on rhythm guitar just like Lori is now, and her great-uncle, grandfather, and great grandfather on the banjo and twin fiddles. (You can see their picture in the photos.) Most everyone else in Fret Not also leads or at least plays lead in church worship bands, or fronts their own gospel bands of two-timing pickers, or teaches true and right music to kids. Fret Not brings the old-time roots gospel to the dispirited and disheartened of modern life, with most appearances in prisons, recovery missions, funerals, and at benefits. There is something in the old songs, borne out of suffering, of slavery and company towns, failing farms and untimely death, that prepares the heart to hear in the Word the only Uplifting Gospel there is.

Fret Not plays at no charge unless someone's paying, travels on its own dime, but does ask permission to sell CDs, with all proceeds given to prison ministry and other charities. Key recent gigs have included the Florence Winter Folk Festival, the Noe Valley Music Series, the San Francisco Bluegrass and Old-Time Festival, the American River Music Festival, Monterey Gospel Festival, Bidwell Presbyterian, Regeneration in Oakland, Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy, the Blue Star Moms Memorial Day Concerts, an MLK Benefit Concert, Abundant Life Christian Fellowship, San Quentin State Prison, Dublin Federal Womens Institution, and Christmas Benefit Concerts at BayMarin, Dolores Park Church in San Francisco, and St. Thomas More Catholic in Paradise.

We posted video and live audio here to show how we perform at a typical gig, where just some of our friends with handhelds were the video techs and sound crew.


Gloryland - American Funeral Songs (2006)
Mary Had a Baby (2003)
Hundredfold (2001).

Set List

We play sets of any length depending on the venue. Prison gigs often involve two sets. A typical set would be 45-60 minutes, songs mostly in the public domain, with some of our own:
1 - Glory Glory
2 - Scotland/Steal Away
3 - I'm on a Battlefield
4 - Soon and Very Soon
5 - That Home Far Away
6 - Beyond the Blue
7 - Ain't No Grave
8 - How About You
9 - Hallelujah I'm Ready
10 - Paul and Silas
11 - Way Down
12 - Why
13 - God's My Father Now
14 - This World's NotMyHome
15 - Let Me Ride