Artist J. B. Keith was born in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1933. He attended Hinds Junior College, Mississippi College, and Mississippi State University.
Throughout his life, Keith held a variety of different jobs including a bellhop at the King Edward Hotel, a messenger for Western Union, an employee for the State Board of Health, and at the State Tax Commission. In 1960, he married Virginia Ward, with whom he had two sons.
Keith began making hammered and mountain dulcimers by hand in 1962 and exhibited at the 1984 World’s Fair in New Orleans. He crafted over 3000 dulcimers in his lifetime.
Keith was a member of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi and served as past president. Keith was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi.
He lived in Clinton, Mississippi. Keith died in 2015.