Much Further Out Than Inevitable: A Fiddle and Banjo Tribute to Some Music of John Hartford
This here’s a mighty fine tribute to the legendary John Hartford. It is arranged and played by Chris Coole on banjo and John Showman on fiddle. The Canadian duo have picked twelve of their favorite Hartford tunes spanning over thirty years of his career, including cuts from Hartford’s Mark Twang, Aereo-Plain and Good Old Boys albums.
If you’re a veteran of country, folk and bluegrass then John Hartford needs no introduction. To the newcomer it’s important to mention that he is one of the luminaries; a distinguished writer, composer and recording artist. His songwriting is clever, heartfelt, and heavily steeped in the lore of the Mississippi River. Most folks who were alive in the sixties remember his hit song “Gentle on My Mind,” which won two Grammy awards in 1968.
Needless to say, Showman and Coole have big shoes to fill, and fill them they do. Coole’s unique voice on the clawhammer banjo gives a strong presence over the entire album. He offers a soulful rendition of “Long Hot Summer Day,” which Hartford originally recorded on fiddle.
John Showman is certainly no spring chicken himself, it’s clear right off the bat with his playing on “Don’t Leave Your Records in the Sun.” The two make a strong display of skills that any listener will appreciate, especially those seeking the classic bluegrass feel. As the two artists mention in the linear notes of the album, Hartford is a huge inspiration of theirs and you can sure hear it on this record.
John Showman and Chris Coole have been frequently touring through the US and Canada, as well as other parts of the globe. Presently they make up two thirds of Lonesome Ace Stringband, accompanied by Max Heineman on standup bass. Coole, in addition to this album, has also released his third solo album The Old Man and the C Chord. It’s also worth checking out A Field, which is again a selection of duets by Coole and Showman. Coole plays a rare six string banjo and a down octave banjo he calls “Lower Boy.” Showman has also founded other groups such as Creaking String Quartet and Foggy Hometown Boys.
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