Publishing a carefully curated collection of previously unrecorded tunes by the late John Hartford was the topic of a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program.
Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Greg Reish, director of MTSU’s Center for Popular Music, first aired May 22 on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and online at www.wmot.org. You can listen to their conversation above.
Reish, a music history professor and accomplished musician, compiled materials and wrote the text for “John Hartford’s Mammoth Collection of Fiddle Tunes” with former John Hartford String Band member Matt Combs and Hartford’s daughter, Katie Harford Hogue.
The trio selected the collection of 176 original fiddle tunes from more than 1,000 numbers Hartford had written in more than 60 music journals he had squirreled away in boxes before his 2001 death from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The derby-wearing Hartford is best known as the composer of the Glen Campbell hit “Gentle on My Mind” and for his late 1960s and early ‘70s television appearances on “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour” and “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.”
Reish said, however, that Hartford’s blend of traditional folk and bluegrass music with contemporary twists continues to influence musicians of various genres.
“There’s always something distinctive and original in John’s music, and that’s true of his instrumental tunes as much as it is of the songs with words,” Reish said. “His influence seems to be as big as it ever was.”
You can learn more about this book project and watch a video of Reish and Combs performing one of Hartford’s unreleased songs here.
To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com.
For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.