August 13

The Easter Brothers, Heavy Drunkards to Passionate Believers

The Easter Brothers
The Easter Brothers /

The name Easter Brothers will always play a significant role on the gospel music scene. They first appeared on the professional gospel music world in the 1950s at North Carolina when Russell, James, and Edd began playing a combination of bluegrass and gospel music. What’s common among these men, which they have also passed through their kids, is their hobby of spending a lot of time sitting on the same bus and riding from one gospel show to another. And with each day that they travel, the Easter Brothers spread a natural sense of inspiration and enlightenment.

An Inspirational Story Retold

The first generation of Easter Brothers are now in their 80s yet they show no sign of declining to gospel music. And though they’ve grown in age, their heart still energetically beat for their mission of sharing the love of God through their music. Their own life testimony is a powerful example of how God changes people, no matter who they were.

James and Russell Easter

James Easter co-wrote the song “Thank You Lord for your Blessings on Me” with brothers Russell and Ed. Now 86, James still cries sometimes when he sings the song. It reminds him of the man he was when he wrote it- a man recovering from alcohol addiction and a convicted felon fresh out of prison. After all that he’d done wrong, he still had a wife and a child to go home to.

Back when he was eight years old, their eldest brother Russell taught him how to play the guitar. And a few years later, they started playing in beer joints together. They became full-blown alcoholics before either of them could legally drive a car. Their addiction almost caused Russell’s death. Hadn’t James carried him to a doctor, he would have died from alcohol poisoning. Russell got away from the temptation of the bottle when he married his wife, who encouraged him to go to church.

James, on the other hand, stayed in Mount Airy and was associated with the “wrong crowd.” He started stealing cars with his buddies. That caused him to be sentenced to ten years in jail, he was found guilty of felony theft charges.

James Easter
James Easter/

Meeting the man of God

One day in prison, Rev. C.S. Grogan came to speak. His preaching centered on God’s love, that no matter who you are, and however grave is your sin, God is willing to forgive you because he deeply loves you. James’ heart started to seek God at that time but he didn’t convert to Christianity yet for several more years.

For his good behavior, he was released after 5 years in jail. He came back to Mount Airy, and Russel came to invite him to move to Danville where he and Ed lived. And, they finally found a new home there. They attended church together and began playing gospel songs. Some record labels offered them to do some love songs recording but they refused to say they are already singing the best love songs they could ever play.

Up to this date, the Easter Brothers’ members continue to grow larger as the family expands to a blessed multitude.

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Easter Brothers, James Easter, Thank You Lord for Your Blessings on Me

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