The wonderful works of the Music Maker Relief Foundation are well documented, as is the foundation's story. (If you need to catch up, visit www.musicmaker.org/history.) At its heart is Tim Duffy's love for Southern musical traditions and, even more so, his love for the musicians who, in turn, have been at the heart of that tradition for decades. When Duffy talks about the artists who are performing at the soul revue-style Music Maker Relief Foundation Showcase, it's like he's announcing the starting lineups for the Piedmont blues championship game. "Boo Hanks is the purest Blind Boy Fuller stylist alive today," says Duffy. "Taj Mahal says every note Captain Luke sings is a hot chocolate one." He continues, "Whistlin' Britches clicks his tongue as loud as a snare drum rim shot." You get the idea.
Joining those three are seven others, including harp player and guitarist extraordinaire George Higgs and drummer Bubba Norwood, who got his big start anchoring the rhythm section for Ike and Tina Turner at age 16. And, of course, Cool John Ferguson and John Dee Holeman will be part of the mix, as will Ron Hunter, Tad Walters and young player Sol—who, like Duffy, is doing his part to preserve musical traditions. —Rick Cornell