Sarah Hagerman has a a great interview with Tut Taylor up on the Steam Powered Preservation Society web site.
Entitled Snapshots, Tapes and Broken Strings, the article includes a career overview of the noted resonator guitarist who has performed and recorded with John Hartford, Norman Blake, and Clarence and Roland White. Hagerman also touches on Tut’s reputation as a luthier and his association with George Gruhn and Randy Wood.
She also covers the time when Tut teamed up with Hartford, Blake and Vassar Clements to create one of the seminal albums in the history of Americana folks music, John Hartford’s Aereo-plane in 1971.
In the midst of this thriving Nashville scene, Hartford, Blake and Clements decided to form a band – The Aereo-plain Band. The resulting album, Aereo-plain, was a ground breaking record. Steering old time traditions down a freewheeling river, with four great musicians at the helm (who were joined by Randy Scruggs on electric bass in the studio), the album organically and lovingly re-examined Americana with quirkiness and warmth, dancing over the boundary lines between heritage and evolution. Often the best things come when you don’t force them, and the work they did on Aereo-plain is certainly evidence of that, still sounding juicy today when that needle hits the vinyl. The relaxed demeanor of the project was inspired by Hartford’s hands-off bandleader approach.
“John was a creative person,” Taylor describes. “He was creative in writing, I don’t know how many books he wrote, but he did write some books. Creative in his music, completely different. He had more rhythm in his soul than any person I’ve ever known. And he was a very free spirited individual. When we got The Aereo-plain Band together, he just told us to play what we felt – if we felt like playing a song to play, if we didn’t feel like playing, not to play. If we wanted to create something or add something to the song, we had liberty to do that. So I think that was one of the reasons that The Aero-plain Band CD has over the years become such sought after music. Because actually, [although] we didn’t know it at the time, we broke the barrier, we broke the mold. What we were playing was different than anything anybody else had ever played. It was a forerunner of the so-called newgrass movement. We didn’t know that then, that was not in our attention.”
“When all four of us got together we kind of played off of each other,” he continues. “One of us inspired the other and would inform another to play better or to play different or to be inventive, to just let the bars down and go for it. [Hartford] was very enjoyable to work with and it was a great experience. The only sad thing about it, he recorded back then on Warner Brothers, and Warner Brothers never did push the album, it never got out there in the marketplace like it should have been. But even then, over the years it’s gained a lot of notoriety.”
Read the full piece at spps.org.