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Freeman Vines, a Greene County native and long-time Fountain resident, is a blues musician, luthier, author and philosopher. Most days, he’s at work on another guitar at Music Maker East’s downtown Fountain workshop/studio.
Freeman came to the attention of Music Maker’s Tim Duffy by way of another Fountain musician, Lightnin’ Wells, who has worked with Music Maker and several of its legendary blues musicians for over 20 years.
Freeman has recently had published his first book, Hanging Tree Guitars, and his handmade guitars and wood sculptures were featured for several recent months at the Greenville Museum of Art.
Freeman is the brother of the legendary local gospel group the Vines Sisters, also known as the Glorifying Vines, who got their first European tour a couple of years ago through arrangements with Music Maker. Freeman almost got to England in 2020 to view the opening of the first gallery show that featured some of his guitars.
In addition to the local buzz over his show at the Greenville Museum of Art, Freeman has generated a lot of copy in the last year or so, with features in Rolling Stone, the Smithsonian, Our State, and on NPR, and he gets plenty of visitors. In early April 2020 the photographer Jeffery Minnish, who lives in Durham, stopped by and took several excellent pictures of him. A Goldsboro native, Minnish specializes in portraits of musicians, cowboys, street folk, and dancers, and his webpage is lots of fun to browse.
We don’t get to hear Mr. Vines perform often around here, but early in the pandemic, spring 2020, he was messing around with one of his newly constructed guitars, and I was able to capture this little tune: