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