Dec. 30 ought to be John Hartford’s 75th birthday.
It’s not, though. The bummer is that Hartford died in June 2001, at the age of 63. . . .In Hartford’s mind, classic triumphs by Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs and others were to be revered but not emulated. The way acoustic music sounded in 1945 wasn’t the destination; it was an artfully crafted tool for the journey.
That mindset was a gift to those who followed, including Bush, Jerry Douglas, Bela Fleck and new century mavericks such as Chris Thile and Old Crow Medicine Show.
All of that informs “Aereo-Plain,” which Real Gone Music has just reissued on CD, in a two-disc set that includes previously unreleased tracks and Hartford’s 1972 triumph, “Morning Bugle.” The latter includes a most enjoyable Nashville history lesson called “Nobody Eats at Linebaugh’s Anymore,” for anyone who wants to hear what Lower Broadway was like in blighted days.