Sunday, June 5, 2011

Gentle On My Mind

This weekend I went to the First Annual John Hartford Memorial Festival in Bean Blossom, Indiana.

John Cowan Hartford (December 30, 1937 – June 4, 2001) was an American folk, country and bluegrass composer and musician known for his mastery of the fiddle and banjo, as well as for his witty lyrics, unique vocal style, and extensive knowledge of Mississippi River lore. Hartford performed with a variety of ensembles throughout his career, and is perhaps best known for his solo performances where he would interchange the guitar, banjo, and fiddle from song to song. He also invented his own shuffle tap dance move, and clogged on an amplified piece of plywood while he played and sang.

He was a cool guy and I saw him perform several times at the Appalachian Homecoming Festival in Norris, Tennessee. He played "Newgrass", a blend of nontraditional county and bluegrass style music. He wrote the song "Gentle On My Mind", made famous by Glenn Campbell and recorded by many.

This is a picture of my little campsite. It was not far from the stage area, so I could lay in my tent at night and listen to the music.

This group call themselves "The Freight Hoppers" and played old-time. They were from Bryson City, North Carolina. They were quite popular.

The top billing for the festival was Tim O'Brien, one of my favorite artists. This is a picture of his set on the stage at Bean Blossom. I especially like the big sign at the top - Back Home Again in Indiana!

There were quite a few young hippies at the festival.

And old hippies, too. I saw lots of people wearing tie-tyed clothing.

Here is a better picture of Tim O'Brien.

And here I am, another old hippie, during Tim O'Brien's set.

There were lots of John Hartford aficionados there. This guy hailed from Wisconsin and did a perfect imitation of John Hartford.

And at the end of the concert I got to meet Tim O'Brien and get his autograph.

It's knowing that your door is always open

And your path is free to walk

That makes me tend to leave my sleeping bag

Rolled up and stashed behind your couch

And it's knowing I'm not shackled

By forgotten words and bonds

And the ink stains that have dried upon some line

That keeps you in the backroads

By the rivers of my mem'ry

That keeps you ever gentle on my mind

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