Our Nation Has the Blues
Amplifying the voices of unheralded roots musicians is what Music Maker is all about. After 28 years, our mission remains the same: to support and document our partner artists’ music to pass their wisdom and courage on to the next generation of Americans grappling with this confounding and often difficult world.
We will release eight new titles in 2022. You can keep up with all the music and support this effort by joining our Listener’s Circle. We are publishing “Deep in the South: A Music Maker Songbook” with tablature and transcriptions to give young musicians greater access to the inner workings of their musical heritage while our museum exhibits continue to tour the country. Live performances are beginning to come back, but the public health environment continues to be challenging for travelers over the age of 65. To keep our artists in the cultural limelight, we are expanding our digital storytelling capacity and seeking more broadcast opportunities for their performances.
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Our deepest thanks for all of your support and encouragement. We are honored to continue doing this important work.
With much gratitude,
Tim & Denise Duffy
Our nation undeniably, unequivocally has the blues, it may be the case we can learn something from a blues people.
The best four questions a bluesman has ever had is; How does integrity face oppression? What does honesty do in the face of deception? What does decency do in the face of insult? What does courage do in the face of brute force? And that’s the blues!
B.B. King steps up with his guitar and says, ‘Nobody loves me but mamma and she might be jiving too!’ Playing with Lucille, you hear echoes of Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith and Robert Johnson and Lightnin’ Hopkins. B.B., how do you do it? Where did you get that smile? Where do you get that style? Don’t you realize you are in the face of catastrophe? We know you come out of gut bucket, Jim Crow, Mississippi but you still got that hope in you, but you do not talk about the hope, you enact the hope and it’s in your music. That is the blues! It is a narrative of a catastrophe lyrically expressed but does not let the catastrophe have the last word. That love train still flowing, the empathy train still flowing, the justice train still flowing, not because it has a high chance of winning. It is not all about being on the side of the winner. That is the sign of profound insecurity and an adolescent mind and very much like a childish and not a child-like disposition for the world. B.B. is an adult, he is grown up, he is not Peter Pan. Mature. He has been educated, not in college, but colleges have gone through him in terms on how he is holding onto integrity, honesty, decency and his is just one voice amongst others.
– Dr. Cornel West