One of the most respected musicians in Nashville history, John Hartford is well known for his songwriting, having been honored with four career Grammy Awards, including two for his 1967 recording of “Gentle on My Mind.” Still, few knew of his passion and academic approach toward the study of fiddle music in the later years of his life. After Hartford’s death in 2001, his family discovered over two thousand original and unrecorded fiddle tunes that he had been keeping in file cabinets under his desk. In time, an expansive idea of a project honoring his passion for the instrument began to take shape – first as a book, then as an album.
With decades of performance experience and reputations as stewards of tradition, Scroggins, Lynch Chowning, and Hurt bring this unexplored part of John Hartford’s legacy to life. Scroggins spent years working for the John Hartford Office helping to archive the last of John’s writing and as such became familiar with John’s work. Megan Lynch Chowning, who helped copy edit the accompanying fiddle tune book, is known for her expert knowledge of fiddle tunes and their histories much in the same way John was through his extensive note taking and interviews with masters. Though they never met, John surely would have been in awe of Adam Hurt who is one of the preeminent banjo players in the world. As both a banjo and fiddle player, John and Adam are connected by their deep passion for both preserving and innovating American traditional music. In that same paradoxical way, these three use their combined talent to present a show that is both fresh and familiar, historical and never before heard, and a way to relive the “Goodle Days.”
During the workshops, the members of the Fiddle Tune Project will teach two tunes from the recently discovered collection of John Hartford’s original fiddle tunes. Then all the participants will get together and form an awesome string band to play the tunes together!