The late great John Hartford has been a strong influence on my music. A spur of the moment "Hartford jam" at my house in June 2005 (on the anniversary of his death) led to the development of this tribute show.
The multiple-Grammy-winning John Hartford wrote one of the most recorded songs ever ("Gentle on My Mind") but also wrote such a wide variety of quirky songs that some called him the Frank Zappa of bluegrass. Then again, he was a licensed steamboat captain and wrote many classic songs about rivers and steamboats. Yet another side of John Hartford was the showman wearing a black bowler hat and vest who sang, played banjo, fiddle, and guitar, and often clogged while playing... he'd even aim a microphone toward the floor to capture the rhythm of his feet. He was truly an American original, and bands such as New Grass Revival, Leftover Salmon, Sam Bush Band, String Cheese Incident, and Yonder Mountain String Band owe a great debt to Hartford and have all covered his material.
In this tribute to John Hartford, I start out trying to re-create the feel of a solo Hartford concert, then am joined by Herb Trotman (banjo) and Leo McDermott (fiddle) to play some of Hartford's best-loved songs, including a complete performance of the ground-breaking album Aereo-Plain. We premiered this show at the Moonlight Music Café 7/15/2005, and have since presented it at the Acoustic Cafe May 2006 (in an abbreviated version), and back at the Moonlight Music Cafe and its successor venue Moonlight on the Mountain June 2006, August 2010, June 2011 and (upcoming) February 2013.
(add Herb Trotman and Leo
McDermott. From here: Sam, guitar/vocal, Herb, banjo, and Leo, fiddle, unless
(complete performance of CD
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