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  John Hartford Tribute
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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.

7/15/2005 Setlist
Set I

(Sam solo)
The Julia Belle Swain (banjo, vocal, feet)
Don't Leave Your Records In The Sun (banjo, vocal)
The Lowest Pair (vocal)
I Would Not Be Here (guitar, vocal)
Good Old Electric Washing Machine (guitar, vocal)
Little Cabin Home On The Hill Waugh Waugh (vocal)
Long Hot Summer Days (fiddle, vocal, feet)
Tater Tate And Allen Mundy (fiddle, vocal)
Skippin' In The Mississippi Dew (fiddle, vocal, feet)

(add Herb Trotman and Leo McDermott. From here: Sam, guitar/vocal, Herb, banjo, and Leo, fiddle, unless otherwise noted)
Let Him Go On Mama
Gum Tree Canoe
Cuckoo’s Nest
All in the Name of Love (Herb and Leo, background vocals)
In Tall Buildings
Get No Better (Leo, background vocals)

Set II

(complete performance of CD Aereo-Plane)
Turn Your Radio On (guitar, all three vocals)
Steamboat Whistle Blues
Back in the Goodle Days
Up on the Hill Where They Do the Boogie (Herb guitar, Sam mandolin, Sam and Leo vocals)
Boogie  (Sam solo vocal)
First Girl I Loved (Herb mandolin, Sam guitar and vocal, Leo fiddle)
Presbyterian Guitar (Sam solo guitar)
With a Vamp in the Middle
Symphony Hall Rag
Because of You (Sam solo guitar and vocal)
Steam Powered Aereo Plane
Holding (Sam guitar and lead vocal, Leo flatpicked fiddle and vocal)
Tear Down the Grand Ole Opry (band, with all plus Dorsey Cox on vocals)
Leather Britches (Herb and Leo instrumental duet)
Station Break (Sam solo vocal)
Turn Your Radio On (guitar, all three vocals)

I Wish We Had Our Time Again
Gentle on My Mind
Old Time River Man
Steam Powered Aereo Plane (instrumental reprise)


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Last modified: 03/29/13