The producers of a documentary about musical free spirit John Hartford are among the latest bluegrassers to raise money for their project through Kickstarter, which allows fans and supporters to make on-line donations in amounts large and small in return for special mentions on CDs, autographs or other favors.
Co-producers Sheila Nichols and Mary Cochran are trying to raise $15,000 to help cover the cost of editing, mastering and licensing for their project, titled Oh Yeah. By mid-day Monday, they had passed the $2,000 mark after just a few days of pitching. They don’t get any money unless they reach the goal by Nov. 15. But they can offer a benefit most other Kickstarter campaigns can’t – a tax deduction, because the Aero Twang Musical Preservation Project was set up as a non-profit organization. (The tax deduction is based on the amount of your gift, minus the value of any premium you receive in return).
The documentary includes interviews with Earl Scruggs, Ronnie McCoury, Doug Dillard and members of the John Hartford String Band. Also featured is Glen Campbell, whose version of Hartford’s Gentle on My Mind is the best known of many recordings of that song. Gentle is atypical of the lighthearted, edgy material the late picker is best remembered for, but as one of the most-recorded songs in any genre, it paid a lot of bills and provided the financial cushion that allowed everything else that made him a character.
The producers, working with the assent of Hartford’s family, won’t lack for material.And now, with Kickstarter and a $3,000 grant from the Foundation for Bluegrass Music, they might be able to finish soon and get the words and music of this towering icon in front of even more folks in the months ahead.
More information about the documentary and the Kickstarter campaign can be found online.