04 June 2021

John Hartford, 1937-2001

John Hartford, one of the most influential, wide-ranging, and well-liked musicians of his generation in bluegrass and related music, died twenty years ago today. He made his first recordings as a bluegrass banjo-player, composed one of the most successful popular songs ever recorded ('Gentle on my mind'), qualified as a riverboat pilot, was featured in Trischka & Wernick, Masters of the 5-string banjo, has been proposed as a progenitor of 'newgrass' music, resurrected the music of the legendary old-time fiddler Ed Haley, and was a prolific composer of fiddle tunes. All this gives only a very bare idea of his career. He was inducted into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame in 2010.

Today Mountain Home Music releases 'Cumberland River shore', a new single by the Lonesome River Band, written by Billy Smith and Matt Combs as a tribute to John Hartford. You can hear the recording, together with details on the release, on Bluegrass Today. The artwork (right) incorporates the outline of the hat that became Hartford's trademark as a solo performer.

© Richard Hawkins



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