Roots Musician Brother Dege of “Django Unchained” Dies at 56

Photo: Greg Miles

With his bluesy voice and resonator guitar, Dege Legg who went by the stage name Brother Dege combined strong roots influences from blues and country with swampy sounds heavily influenced by his home state of Louisiana. News came down on Friday, March 9th that Brother Dege died at the age of 56. No cause of death has been given.

Brother Dege rocketed to national stardom when director Quentin Tarantino decided to use his song “Too Old to Die Young” in a pivotal scene in the landmark film Django Unchained from 2012. The song and the rest of the soundtrack went on to be nominated for a Grammy Award for “Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media.”

“Too Old to Die Young” comes from Dege’s 2010 album Folk Songs of the American Longhair. Tarantino was once quoted as saying about the album, “Frankly, every track on the CD could have been in the movie. … Almost every song could be a theme song. It’s like a greatest hits album.”

Based in Lafayette, Brother Dege was getting ready to release his sixth full-length album Aurora on Friday, March 15th, and had numerous appearances scheduled for this week’s SXSW event in Austin, TX. After careful consideration, Dege’s label, Prophecy Productions, has decided to move forward with the release. “To the best of our knowledge that is what Dege wanted. We will honor his artistic legacy by making it available to the world,” the label says.

“Cinematic” is a great way to describe the music of Brother Dege, who put life and blood into his distinctly organic and earthen-sounding songs that rose to ghostly prominence through the evocation of mortality. Though his popularity in music swelled in the last 15 years, it was a lifelong pursuit for Dege Legg, who friends describe as a gonzo creative with a DIY attitude that never compromised.

Legg was the lead singer for the rock band Santeria for a decade before moving to Los Angeles in 2004 to pursue a recording contract. When that didn’t pan out, he returned to Lafayette and played guitar in the band of well-known Louisiana musician C.C. Adcock, as well as another band called Black Bayou Construkt. It was the Django Unchained opportunity that allowed Brother Dege to pursue his own music full time.

Along with music, Dege Legg was also known as a writer and journalist, while also working odd jobs to support himself. He worked for a period as a music journalist specifically, an also published four books, including Cablog: Diary of a Cabdriver in 2020 where he recounted wild experiences of giving people rides.

Born in Louisiana to parents in the Air Force, Dege moved often as a child, spending time in Northern California and Georgia as well. Unfortunately, Saving Country Music was unable to track down an official date of birth or location. His mother is reportedly in a nursing home, and he has no other immediate family.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

© 2023 Saving Country Music