NPR’s Best Books of 2020 Selects Hanging Tree Guitars by Freeman Vines, Zoe Van Buren, and Timothy Duffy

Folklore Works, Folklorists in the News

Hanging Tree Guitars by Freeman Vines, Zoe van Buren, and Timothy Duffy has been selected as one of the year’s best books by NPR’s editorial staff. Zoe van Buren is a member of AFS and the current Folklife Director at the North Carolina Arts Council.

NPR’s National Desk correspondent Debbie Elliott reviewed the book: “Part memoir, part photo essay, Hanging Tree Guitars is the story of North Carolina luthier Freeman Vines. He crafts guitars from found materials and hunks of old wood, including some from a tree once used for a lynching. Vines, 78, explains how the wood talks to him, and he reflects on growing up in a sharecropper’s family under Jim Crow. “I had learned that the white man was what controlled the code,” he says. Timothy Duffy’s tintype images of Vines and his guitars are stunning, including one where Vines is sitting in a field with his guitars strung on a frame overhead.”

You can access the book’s profile and the full list on NPR’s website.

Debbie Elliott, “Hanging Tree Vines,” NPR (December 2020).–jvEpfi5IpOikBUwTi-fAY1HKBjCjZ7hODzm5rwA#year=2020&book=233

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