Episode 3 • "A Spiritual Eye" feat. Freeman Vines
In the summer of 2021 I spoke with North Carolina musician, luthier, and spiritual philosopher Freeman Vines (b. 1942). Vines is best known for his sculptures made from the wood of a tree that was used to lynch an innocent black man near his home in Fountain, NC--an area known to have had one of the strongest concentrations of KKK adherents in the region. While the imagery on his hand crafted guitars bears the symbolism of occult magic, featuring snakes, dewclaws, numerology, sacred geometry, and more--for all of which, Vines says, a "spiritual eye" is required to see properly. It was following a mystical auditory experience that he began to actively experiment with guitar construction. After decades of playing with bands in clubs, shothouses, and churches, Vines concentrated on seeking to rediscover this enigmatic sound. Though arthritis eclipsed his guitar playing some years ago, his visual art and luthier work have continued unabated. Vines' art has been suppoorted and documented by photographer Timothy Duffy and the Music Maker Relief Foundation, through which the exhibition, book, and cd, "Hanging Tree Guitars," has been making its way across America over the last two years.
In our talk, originally hosted by Music Maker Relief Foundation on their Youtube channel, Freeman discusses his religious upbringing, the symbolic imagery in his art, the "spiritual eye," his early experiments with the founders of Wicca, and his endless search for "the tone."
Several of the songs included in this episode are from the Music Maker Relief Foundation compilation, "Hanging Tree Guitars." Special thanks to Music Maker for their support.
Photo by Timothy Duffy