John Hartford Fiddle Tune Project in June

We recently got word that that Volume #1 of the John Hartford Fiddle Tune Project, produced by accomplished Nashville-based fiddler Matt Combs and John’s daughter Katie Harford, is available in vinyl and CD from the John Hartford website. The project is the followup to the book, John Hartford’s Mammoth Collections of Fiddle Tunes, and will be up on your favorite streaming service June 26.

The album was recorded in part at the legendary Cowboy Arms Hotel and Recording Spa in Nashville, home of the late Jack Clement, where Hartford recorded his 1984 album, Gum Tree Canoe.

Matt and Katie have enlisted a stellar lineup to pay tribute to John’s previously unreleased fiddle tunes and songs from the book including Matt Combs, Brittany Haas, Tim O’Brien, Megan Lynch Chowning, Kate Lee O’Connor, Forrest O’Connor, Sierra Hull, Mike Compton, Tristan Scroggins, Ronnie McCoury, Dominick Leslie, Jan Fabricius, Alison Brown, Shad Cobb, Noam Pikelny, Chris Eldridge, Chris Sharp, Jordan Tice, Mark Howard, Rachel Combs, Paul Kowert, Dennis Crouch, Mike Bub, and Kristin Andreassen.

The Hartford family saw the project as a new way of showing John’s musical genius and enchanting personality, and Matt spent months sifting through John’s journals to find the most compelling material. Matt put it this way:

“We knew we had to bring these tunes to life and record them so that others can learn and play them. John felt a great sense of accomplishment when his tunes were accepted into the fiddle tune vernacular, and his greatest hope as a composer was that they would get mixed in with all the old tunes that he loved so much. This record is our attempt to do just that.”

It’s no secret that Katie and the Hartford family have invested a lot of time and effort in continuing John’s significant musical legacy. As executive producer, Katie Harford Hogue observed:

”What I love the most about this record is that each artist’s DNA comes through, and Dad is the unifying spirit that brings it all together. He pulled inspiration from every moment, every sound, every sight he encountered, and his journals were a place to explore all of his ideas.”

Details of the following CD track origins can found in the book.

  • Tennessee Politics
  • Calhoun County
  • Old Beveled Mirror 
  • Running Board Waltz
  • Little Country Town
  • Don Brown And The Boys
  • John Rice
  • On Guitars, The Ends Of New Fingers Get Sore
  • Long White Road
  • The Old Man’s Drunk
  • Heartache What To Do
  • How Can We Love
  • Just Enough Room To Turn Around
  • Every Hour On The Hour
  • The Half-Price Hornpipe
  • Over At The Side Of The Road
  • Evening Farewell

Here’s a Hartford gem capturing the spirit of this release.

Copy Editing by Debbie Benrubi

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About the Author

Dave Berry

Dave Berry is an avid mandolin picker, singer and songwriter who writes an interview column for the monthly California Bluegrass Association (CBA) members publication featuring California regional and national artists who tour California. He grew up in bluegrass country on the Ohio River right between where the Big Sandy and Big Scioto Rivers dump into the Ohio. The columns are also featured on the CBA website at www.cbaweb.org.