Tim 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 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.
Aaron joined Music Maker in 2011 and has enjoyed doing everything from booking performances, album production, managing intern projects, overseeing the audio and photo archive, to processing artist grant requests. Before joining Music Maker, Aaron founded the community outreach and workshops program at High Strung Violins and Guitars in Durham, North Carolina. In 2004 he spearheaded the multimedia arm of Daylight Community Arts Foundation, a non-profit documentary photography foundation. He has a BA in fine art photography from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Christelle is a New Jersey native who suddenly found herself enjoying some ‘southern hospitality.’ After getting her B.S. in Psychology from Delaware State University, she moved to North Carolina and earned her Master of Social Work from North Carolina Central University. Christelle has worked with clients of all ages who have experienced various life challenges. Christelle is passionate about getting down in the trenches with folks and supporting them on their paths to success.
Mollie received her B.S. in Dance/Kinesiology from Indiana University, where she quickly developed a passion for charitable work and spearheaded numerous community service projects. This resolve stuck with her beyond college, and after working for several years in arts administration, her desire to directly support artists and vulnerable populations brought her to Music Maker in the summer of 2018. Mollie works to help deepen the resource base of Music Maker through annual giving, special events, and community involvement.
Born and raised in Dyersburg, TN, Jed graduated from Yale University in 2018 with a B.A. in the Humanities. While in New Haven, he studied ethnographic theory and fieldwork, with a focus on musicology in the Southern U.S. His other studies included the history of the American South from the Civil War through the Civil Rights Era. Jed learned about Music Maker while researching summer opportunities for studying blues and folk music, and he joined Music Maker as an intern in the summer of 2017. After completing his thesis on the historical relationship between academic folklore and commercial blues in the U.S., Jed returned to Music Maker with the intention of working closely with its partner artists to bridge the gap between popular and institutional appreciation of the blues and folk traditions.
Karen joined our office staff in 2016 after spending 3 years as a volunteer with us. Karen holds a BA degree and comes to us after many years’ experience as a business manager with an Atlanta sound studio. She is also a founder of a small business supporting self-taught visual artists. As our finance coordinator, Karen works part-time handling accounts payable and receivable, and maintaining financial records.
Hailing from Chicago, Cornelius has a B.S. in Sustainable Development & Agroecology from Appalachian State University. He met Tim at the Hoppin’ John Fiddlers Convention in 2012 and began part-time at Music Maker shortly thereafter. Cornelius’ position evolved over time and he now handles Music Maker’s communications. His passion for filmmaking has led to the creation of 80 videos for Music Maker.
With 3 decades as drummer, musical directer and award winning producer for the Music Maker Relief Foundation, this veteran has performed the most prestigious venues around the globe proving ‘the more you give, the more you get!’
Mark Austin was born in High Point, North Carolina, in 1952. He began working as a photographer at age seventeen. At twenty-five he went to sea, taking along his Leica and documenting the lives of commercial fisherman of the East Coast and Alaska. Austin’s photographs of blues musicians have appeared in Bikini, Esquire, Living Blues and Rolling Stone. Learn more about Mark Austin’s Photography here.