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Southern Music Pioneers Come To 'The Lawn' Thursday Night

American music can be traced back to the blues, jazz, and many more roots music. The legacy of these roots comes alive this Thursday, June 13, with a roundup of Southern roots musicians from the Music Maker Relief Foundation.

The Hillsborough nonprofit preserves the legacy of these traditions by helping struggling blues and roots music players stay on their feet.

The concert will feature five musicians who have worked with the organization for the “Music Maker All Star Revue.” The free concert is a part of the Back Porch Music on the Lawn concert series. It is open to the public and starts at 6 p.m. on the American Tobacco lawn in Durham. The musicians performing will be:

Eddie Tigner

Peewee Hayes


Albert White

Nashid Abdul


Ardie Dean

"The musicians we support are the great-great-granddaughters and grandsons of the people who created our American voice: the blues, gospel, Indian music, Dixie Land and bluegrass,” said Music Maker Founder Tim Duffy. “A lot of people forget about these people who are still living in the poverty belt throughout the South who hold dear to their ancestral traditions and keeping them alive.”

Music Maker provides several programs for musicians 55 years and older, including:

Musician Sustenance Program:

  • Provides monthly stipends for food, shelter and medical care
  • Supplies emergency aid for artists in crisis
  • Connects artists with government and non-profit resources

Musical Development Program:

  • Guides professional career development
  • In-house booking agency and tour management
  • Provides instrument, equipment and merchandise grants
  • Cultivates public relations and radio play

Cultural Access Program:

  • Brings live performances to underserved populations
  • Provides educational programming and free access to music
  • Maintains a permanent, multi-media archive for historic preservation


“We are a social justice organization crossing the lines of race and poverty, bringing musicians from working class communities at ground zero where this music was created out in the public for all of us to enjoy and nourish our hearts and souls,” Duffy said.

The American Tobacco Campus is located at 318 Blackwell Street in Durham, NC.

Here's a Google Map to help you find "the Lawn":

Charlie Shelton-Ormond is a podcast producer for WUNC.