NASHVILLE, TN May 10, 2018 — There is a brand new, full-color book exploring the creative mind of the late John Hartford. StuffWorks Press, Inc. has published John Hartford’s Mammoth Collection of Fiddle Tunes, a sizable anthology containing 176 of his original compositions. Most of these tunes are previously unpublished and unrecorded, taken from Hartford’s personal music journals. Best known for writing the Glen Campbell classic “Gentle on My Mind,” and launching Newgrass music with his landmark album Aereo-Plain, Hartford was a prolific songwriter and composer. A central figure in the Nashville acoustic community, he championed old-time music with an emphasis on the fiddle, amassing a sizable archive of research before his passing in 2001.
Compiled and narrated by fiddler Matt Combs, John’s daughter Katie Harford Hogue, and musicologist Greg Reish, the book sheds light on Hartford’s creative process through original tune compositions, his own reflections on the fiddle, and interviews with family and fellow musicians, including Marty Stuart, Sam Bush, Norman & Nancy Blake, and Mike Compton. Tune titles range from the familiar—“Ohio River Rag,” “Delta Queen Waltz,” and a twin-fiddle arrangement for “Gentle On My Mind”; to the sentimental, even whimsical—“Howdy’s Uncle Bob,” “Saint Louis Waltz,” “Gallatin Road Breakdown,” “Bottomed Out Hornpipe,” and “Small Screw A-Missing.”
The book includes 60+ of John’s personal drawings—ranging in theme from steamboats and the river, to fellow musicians, home and everyday life—as well as several never before seen photographs. The cover artwork is masterfully drawn by St. Louis artist and John’s personal friend, Dan Martin.
“John Hartford has lived on in so many appreciative ears and hearts for his tireless, gleeful vocation—absorbing traditional American music and making it fresh and relevant for modern audiences. It might have been expected that he would have composed new fiddle tunes of his own along the way, but it’s certainly a great surprise to see how vast in number those creations were, and how meticulously saved, in his typically painstaking but light-hearted style, for future music makers and students. This is a mammoth treat.”
Barry Mazor, journalist/music critic
“This volume presents a selection of John Hartford’s fiddle compositions taken from his elegant personal notebooks, along with testimony from those who knew him well. His transcendent artistic spirit shines from every page.”
Neil V. Rosenberg, bluegrass historian
John Hartford’s Mammoth Collection of Fiddle Tunes will go on sale to the public June 4, 2018 (after a special early-release on May 31st at the John Hartford Memorial Festival in Bean Blossom, IN). It will be available for purchase at www.JohnHartford.com, Amazon, and other book & music retailers. For media kits, wholesale inquiries, and further info., contact Eric or Katie Harford Hogue at (615) 351-3102 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Hartford’s Mammoth Collection of Fiddle Tunes (June 4th, 2018/ StuffWorks Press, Inc., an imprint of John Hartford Enterprises / ISBN 978-1-7321190-0-0/ $34.95)
Additional information on contributors:
Matt Combs is a long-time Nashville fiddler, multi-instrumentalist, and composer who has recorded and toured with many of the world’s best musicians, with credits including ABC’s Nashville, the ACM and CMA award shows, and the Grand Ole Opry. As a member of the John Hartford String Band, he received a Grammy nomination for his work on the Memories of John tribute album.
Katie Harford Hogue co-manages the John Hartford Office archive, connecting with institutions dedicated to the preservation of music and the river. She enjoys opportunities to further her father’s rich legacy, and her family is also active in the John Hartford Memorial Festival in Bean Blossom, IN.
Greg Reish is a musician, producer, and musicologist who serves as director of the Center for Popular Music at Middle Tennessee State University. He has published widely on diverse musical topics, and is also the weekly host of Lost Sounds on Roots Radio WMOT.