We are the


The Music Maker Relief Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit, was founded to preserve the musical traditions of the South by directly supporting the musicians who make it, ensuring their voices will not be silenced by poverty and time. To mark their 20th year the Music Maker Relief Foundation is releasing a book, curating a photo exhibit and producing a compilation album.
Stay Connected with us to find out the latest on all three projects.


The Book


AMERICA TELLS ITS STORIES THROUGH SONG. Consolation to the lovelorn, courage to the oppressed, warning to the naive or a ticket to the Promised Land, a great song can deliver the wisdom of ages directly to our souls. Deeply personal and implausibly universal, the blues, jazz, gospel and old time music of the American South form a deep aquifer that contemporary musicians all around the world drink from daily. The music is constantly expanding and morphing into country, rock, rap and soul, but trace the origins and you will find yourself standing squarely in the South. In the pages of We are the Music Makers, we present portraits of these artists: fathers and mothers, uncles and aunts, daughters and sons, grandparents and neighbors, who continue to lovingly stir the South’s musical stew and feed American culture.

TimTim Duffy has been recording and documenting artists since the early age of 16, when he became interested in ethnomusicology. After earning a BA from Friends World College and MA from the Curriculum in  Folklore at the UNC, Tim and his wife Denise founded Music Maker in 1994 to assist traditional musicians in need. Tim works very closely with partner artists on a daily basis while also overseeing program  operations. For his work with Music Maker, Tim was recognized by ABC Evening News as the “Person of the Week” in April 2004 and was voted Living Blues Producer of the Year in 1999. Tim has also received  honors from National Resophonic Guitars and the NC Folklore Society. Since Music Maker’s founding he has produced more than 151 albums, produced two films, and has presented dozens of traditional Southern musicians at prestigious venues around the world.


Denise-thumb-image1-74x74Denise has a BA from Hampshire College and joined husband Tim in managing Music Maker after leaving a successful career in the fashion industry. Denise’s business experience is invaluable to Music Maker as  she wears many hats within the organization – she is responsible for operations, financial management, government compliance, and strategic planning. Denise finds bringing people of diverse backgrounds together in musical celebration the most rewarding aspect of her work at Music Maker. She finds inspiration in these bold senior artists launching new careers and blazing new trails around the globe. She and  Tim have two children.

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The Exhibit

We are the Music Makers! will educate and engage viewers in the cultural history of Southern traditional music. We are the Music Makers will feature photo and audio documentation of Southern Roots musicians active in the past 20 years, all photographed and recorded by Tim Duffy in his quest to preserve Southern traditional music by partnering with the artists who make it. The multi-media materials will highlight questions of how poverty, geography and age have limited the exposure of these artists, causing the widespread idea that the musical traditions they perform have “died out.”

The ArtsCenter


Carrboro, NC
October 1 – 31, 2014

BB King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center


Indianola, MS
October 23 – November 20, 2014



The Album

MMCD166_COVER002_EM1Two decades of sustaining America’s roots music – on this special 2-CD set!

The companion CD to Tim and Denise Duffy’s new book of the same name both compliments the book and stands entirely on its own. The two discs are packed with music showcasing the work we have done with artists over our 20-year history. We Are the Music Makers’ 20th Anniversary CD is something for everyone, from the most ardent music lover to newcomers to the MMRF mission.

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Track Listing

Disc 1

  1. Captain Luke – Freight Train Boogie
  2. Guitar Gabriel – A Living Past
  3. Etta Baker – Railroad Bill
  4. John Lee Zeigler – Going Away
  5. Cootie Stark – High Yellow
  6. John Dee Holeman – Chapel Hill Boogie
  7. Neal Pattman – Shortnin’ Bread
  8. Carl Rutherford – Old Rugged Cross
  9. Cool John Ferguson – No Hidin’ Place
  10. Essie Mae Brooks – Feel Like My Time Ain’t Long
  11. Mother Pauline & Elder James Goins – Old Time Religion
  12. Elder Anderson Johnson – My Lord and I
  13. Mr. Q – Cocktail Boogie
  14. Albert Smith – Big Belly Mamma
  15. Precious Bryant – If You Don’t Love Me, Would You Fool Me Good
  16. Big Boy Henry – Old Bill
  17. Drink Small – President Clinton Blues
  18. JW Warren – Looking For My Woman
  19. Dr. Burt – What Can An Old Man Do (But Sing the Blues)
  20. George Higgs – Greasy Greens
  21. Whistlin’ Britches – Clickin’
  22. Captain Luke & Cool John Ferguson – Tim Duffy Is A Good Ol’ Guy
Disc 2

  1. Samuel Turner Stevens –  Railroadin’ & Gamblin’
  2. Pura Fe – Pigeon Dance
  3. Clyde Langford – High Steppin’ Mamma
  4. James Davis – Fred, You Ought To Be Dead
  5. Beverly “Guitar” Watkins - Back In Business
  6. Carolina Chocolate Drops – Sourwood Mountain
  7. Guitar Gabriel – Let No Woman
  8. Macavine Hayes – Snatch That Thing
  9. Algia Mae Hinton – Cook Corn Bread For Your Husband
  10. Willa Mae Buckner – Peter Rumpkin
  11. Adolphus Bell – Child Support Blues
  12. Ironing Board Sam – Nothing But Your Butt
  13. Benton Flippen – Benton’s Dream
  14. Eddie Tigner – Route 66
  15. Jerry “Boogie” McCain – My New Next Door Neighbor
  16. Carl Hodges –  Flossie
  17. W.C. Minger IV – Home On the Range
  18. Boo Hanks & Dom Flemons – Keep On Truckin’
  19. Captain Luke & Cool John Ferguson – Old Black Buck
  20. Leyla McCalla – Manman Mwen
  21. Cora Fluker – Amazing Grace
  22. Cary Morin – Sing It Louder


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