All posts tagged: John Hartford

Long Hot Summer Days

This seemed like an appropriate tune to feature on a weekend when the temperatures have approached 100 degrees, and the heat index is off the charts. I’ve loved Sara Watkins’ version of this John Hartford tune since she released it on a solo album.  Here she plays it with her old band mates from Nickel Creek. If you want to hear Sara play this by herself, with a little Hartford-like foot-tapping rhythm thrown in, take a look here. Enjoy…and stay cool. More to come… DJB

Tut Taylor, R.I.P.

This week we lost the third member of the Aereoplane Band when “The Flatpickin’ Dobro Man” Tut Taylor passed away at age 91. Taylor, along with the late Vassar Clements, Norman Blake, and Randy Scruggs made up the Aereoplane Band that helped the late John Hartford record his ground-breaking album Aereo-Plain – which I once highlighted as my favorite album of all time.  (And yes, the name of the album is spelled differently from the title cut.  Hey, it was the 70s.)  I heard Tut play with Hartford’s band (Earl Scruggs opened for Hartford, if you can believe that) about 40 years ago, and I most recently heard him at MerleFest, where he was a mainstay. Much has been written about Taylor’s unique style of playing the Dobro with a flatpick, as opposed to the finger picks used by every well-known Dobro player from Uncle Josh Graves to Jerry Douglas.  Tut Taylor was unique, and his bluesy style fit well with the fiddling of Vassar Clements and the stellar guitar work of Norman Blake.  This …

Taking the Steam Powered Aereo Plane to that Desert Island

The last album in my review of top five albums to take to a desert island may be my all-time favorite.  I’ve long loved John Hartford’s quirky, hippy-bluegrass Aereo-Plain album.   So it was only fitting that last night, as I was returning from a dinner in Nashville with a long-time friend, I turned on Del McCoury’s Hand Picked show on XM Radio’s Bluegrass Junction and what was coming out of the speakers but Steam Powered Aereo Plane.  Damn, Del has great taste in music!  I was reminded all over again of why this album is on my list. What do I love about this album?  Let’s start with the cover. My mother hated this cover when I was a teenager and my wife hates it still.  I loved it so much that I had the father of a high-school friend who was a commercial artist do a charcoal drawing of Hartford with his shaggy beard and aviator glasses.  (My friend Judy’s father had a side business of doing spot-on drawings of photographs from 1970s record albums.)  …