Tim Duffy has devoted the last two decades of his life to the Music Maker Relief Foundation, a non-profit that helps musicians in the South that have fallen on hard times. In late 1995, around the time the organization launched, he found himself in a New York brownstone with Eric Clapton. "Eric noticed the 1930 Martin 00-18 sitting in the corner," Duffy says. "When Eric began to play, it was spellbinding and among the most amazing musical moments of my life. I picked up my guitar and quickly tuned it a half-step up to match his and began to play some back up guitar licks that I learned from Guitar Gabriel."
The duo recorded a cover of "Mississippi blues" by Willie Brown that Duffy has recently dug up to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Music Maker Relief Foundation. "Music Maker is a fabulous project," says Clapton, "real evidence that the music I have always loved is alive and well."
A museum exhibit entitled We Are the Music Makers celebrating 20 years of the foundation will be on display at the New York Public Library from July through August of this year. A book and two-CD set, also called We Are the Music Makers, will hit stores this September. The book features more than 65 photographs of musicians taken by Duffy, and the CD will include music by Taj Mahal, Etta Baker, Guitar Gabriel and many others.