Freeman Vines Book of Guitars Confronts Racial Terror

Musician, artist and master luthier Freeman Vines has released his art book debut, Hanging Tree Guitars. The book is a collaboration between Vines and photographer Timothy Duffy, as well as folklorist Zoe Van Buren. It was published by Bitter Southerner in association with Music Maker Relief Foundation.

According to an official statement, for over 50 years, Vines has transformed materials culled from a forgotten landscape in his relentless pursuit of building a guitar capable of producing a singular tone that has haunted his dreams. This pursuit is ongoing and this book showcases guitars he created from the wood of a mysterious stack he acquired from the site of lynchings.

Aside from showcasing Vines’ artwork, Hanging Tree Guitars exposes lingering prejudices and unspoken boundaries in rural eastern North Carolina, uncovered during an investigation of the region’s history. Dr. William R. Ferris called it “a grim reminder that race defines both Freeman Vines’ life and our own.”

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