Tending the roots of American Music

Welcome to the Music Maker site


Music Maker meets the day-to-day needs of the artists who create traditional American music, ensures their voices are heard, and gives all people access to our nation’s hidden musical treasures.

What We Do



Grants to our partner musicians help them keep roofs over their heads, food on their tables, instruments in their hands, and help them weather crises.


We book our artists’ performances—everywhere from venues in their hometowns to stages around the world—and provide them with CDs to sell in their communities.


We create books, release recordings, and curate exhibitions that tour museums across the United States, creating cultural equity for our partner artists.

Meet the Artist & Discover the Music

Hermon Hitson


Hermon Hitson’s guitar playing is funk, soul and psychedelic rock magically rolled into one. He comes by it honestly, having played with the likes of Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Joe Tex, Bobby Womack and Wilson Pickett.

Lena Mae Perry & the Branchettes


Lena Mae Perry, Ethel Elliott, and Mary Ellen Bennett formed the Branchettes almost by accident. But their old-time gospel sound touched hearts around the world

Discover the Sacred Soul of North Carolina


The jubilee quartet style has roots going back to the 17th century — and branches into life in the 21st. This music influenced the formation of rock ’n’ roll, soul, and rhythm & blues.



Photo by Zoe van Buren.

Discover “Hanging Tree Guitars”


Sculptor and art guitar maker Freeman Vines’ revelatory “Hanging Tree Guitars” project — now an acclaimed book and exhibition featured on NPR and in Rolling Stone — reveals an unspoken American history and gives voice to those silenced.

Harvey Dalton Arnold


A former member of the Outlaws, part of the 1970s wave of Southern Rock bands, Harvey was playing stadium gigs while he was still a teenager. Today, he still plays slamming electric blues but also turns out some great acoustic work.

Johnny Ray Daniels


Johnny Ray Daniels is a pioneering figure in the sacred soul music of eastern North Carolina — a powerful solo artist whose high notes send chills through the spines of his audience and a founding member of the Glorifying Vines Sisters.

After Seven Decades, it’s Johnny Ray Daniels’ Season


“The Blues Was Always In New Orleans”