02 December 2020

Something good out of something bad

The assertion has been made that some tunes in old-time music should be 'cancelled' because of the words that have been set to them in the past, or other historical associations (see the BIB for 1 Oct.). The recent appearance of Hanging tree guitars, published by The Bitter Southerner online magazine in association with Music Maker Relief Foundation, seems relevant to this issue.

For fifty years North Carolinian Freeman Vines, 'an artist, a luthier, and a spiritual philosopher', has been using old timber from many sources, together with other materials, to build guitars. The title of the book refers to those he has made from the wood of trees that were used for lynchings. A video, 'Hanging tree guitars: the art of Freeman Vines', can be seen on YouTube. Full details of the book are on the website.

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