After completing his master’s degree in Folklore at the University of North Carolina, Tim Duffy set out to Winston-Salem to find a musician by the name of Guitar Gabriel. After following some local leads, he finally heard the elusive blues guitarist and was moved to “introduce Gabe and his music to any possible audience.”
Realizing there were many other traditional artists like Guitar Gabriel whose work was going unheard and whose livelihood was compromised as a result, Tim and his wife Denise Duffy founded Music Maker Relief Foundation in 1994 with the mission statement of preserving “the musical traditions of the South by directly supporting the musicians who make it, ensuring their voices will not be silenced by poverty and time.”
With the help of Music Maker Relief Foundation, Guitar Gabriel would go on to perform at the Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and at music festivals worldwide. He passed away in 1996 and is buried in Winston-Salem with his guitar.