John Hartford Stringband Nominated Best Folk Album

MEMORIES OF JOHN (Red Clay/Compass Records), the 15-song tribute to the late, great John Hartford — the banjo wizard, guitar picker, vocalist, musical innovator and multiple GRAMMY Award-winning recording artist who penned the megahit “Gentle on My Mind” — that was recorded by members of his former band and special guests, has been nominated for a 2011 GRAMMY Award for Best Traditional Folk Album.

The John Hartford Stringband, the same group of musicians who appeared on Hartford’s last five Rounder Records projects and were his final touring band — Chris Sharp on guitar, Bob Carlin on banjo, Matt Combs on fiddle, Mike Compton on mandolin and Mark Schatz on bass — were joined by special guests Tim O’Brien, Bela Fleck, Alison Brown, Alan O’Bryant, George Buckner and Eileen Carson Schatz to make the album that commemorates Hartford.
The album features Hartford himself on several previously unreleased tracks recorded before his death in 2001 as well as voiced instructions to the band from previous rehearsal tapes. Renditions of hit original Hartford songs, traditional fiddle tunes (“Three Forks of Sandy,” the album’s opening track), country and bluegrass songs refashioned by Hartford (“The Girl I Left Behind Me,” “Love Grown Cold”), rarely heard Hartford originals (“You Don't Notice Me Ignoring You”) unreleased compositions (“Madison, Tennessee”), the story-poem “For John” and more fill the loving tribute to one of the most influential artists in American music. The album ends with Hartford’s own whistling song “Fade Out.”
“John Hartford is now in the clouds, but his spirit can rest easy,” says CountryChart.com. “His friends have honored his memory in the best possible way. They have created a remarkable album that breaks new ground while exploring the music of a legend.”
This fall, Hartford was inducted into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame, and in 2005, was awarded the Americana Music Association’s President’s Award. He received multiple GRAMMY awards and nominations throughout his career, including Album of the Year for the “O Brother, Where Art Thou” soundtrack and Best Folk Performance for his song “Gentle on My Mind,” one of the most recorded songs of all time. He also appeared on TV in the 1960s and ’70s, on “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour,” “The Johnny Cash Show” and “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.”
The John Hartford Stringband will tour in 2011; scheduled concerts include the International Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis in February, Merle Fest in North Carolina in April, and CBA Music Camp and the 36th Annual Father’s Day Bluegrass Festival in California in June.
The 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards will be presented Feb. 13, 2011. The full list of GRAMMY nominees is available here.
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