John Hartford (#406)

A multi-talented musician blends folk and modern country.

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Grammy Award-winning performer and songwriter John Hartford was a fixture on the American music scene for 40 years, from his 1960s spots on the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour to his appearance on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. Hartford played a variety of stringed instruments and was an author and riverboat captain. This episode of Jubilee offers music lovers a chance to appreciate the late musician’s talents once again.

Hartford, who recorded more than 20 albums, penned the classic “Gentle on My Mind” and appeared regularly on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and later on The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour. Among his most notable recordings were his 1980 rock ’n’ roll-meets-bluegrass reunion with the Dillards, Permanent Wave, and Shel Silverstein’s The Great Conch Train Robbery.

In the late 1980s, Hartford began performing with his son Jamie and got involved with the Opryland theme park, where he helped launch an old-fashioned steamboat ride. On June 4, 2001, he lost a long battle with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and died in a Nashville hospital at the age of 63.