John Hartford, Gone Clear

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Posted by Derek from GRITZ on May 31, 19102 at 15:16:41:

Howdy folks. We are coming up on the first anniversary of the passing of John Hartford. While I did not know him as well as a bunch of folk out there, I was lucky enough to be able to spend some interesting and fun time with the man. He was an innovator, made a difference in bluegrass and new acoustic music,(remember that "Steam-Powered Aereo-Plain came out in 1971 and was way ahead of it's time), and I knew him from both his music side and his riverboat Captain side. I have, in recent times, gotten to know friends of his from both of those sides of his life. From katie Laur to Cap Don Sanders. And it is no secret to Earl Scruggs fans that Earl and Louise were very good friends of John.
If you have seen the "Down FRom The Mountain" concert video, and it is hard to believe that it was recorded over two years ago, you will see one of the last performances of John. If his solo fiddle take on 'Man of constant Sorrow", that he plays as Alison and the choir walk off behind him, doesn't get to you than I don't know what to say. It is simply beautiful. And it was so cool to see Jerry Douglas dedicate his new CD "Lookout For Hope" to John and Marie Hartford. Very Cool.!
The first article that I had published at GRITZ magazine was about John. Because of his influence on my strange thinking , and because all of what has happened to me since can be traced back to that article on John, I have offered his article for free to anyone in the world that wants to print it. As a result it has been published in the British Bluegrass News magazine in England, as well as in Australia, and others. I also printed out copies of it and have hand delivered it to those that knew John. From Jerry Douglas to The Whites to JD Crowe to Ricky Skaggs, Katie Laur and many others. The response has been unreal. But John is the reason for it. He was just an interesting and innovative dude.
We in Cincinnati are working on a John Hartford Tribute for the ,once every 5 years, Tall Stacks Steamboat Festival in 2003 here in Cincinnati that John was a big part of since the first one in 1988. Tall Stacks was a perfect combination for him of music and riverboats.
In the mean time the Hartford article can be found online at; It is in the features section at
If you were a Hartford fan in any way take a minute to drop a line at his message board at That board, with over 2000 posts on it, has many great stories about him for those of you out there that are not all that familiar with John Hartford. He passed a year ago on June 4th.
Thanks to David Schenk for his help with that original Hartford article at GRITZ. Derek Halsey

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