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Oh Yeah, the John Hartford Movie Needs Your Help

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 Oh, YeahJohn Hartford's 30 year long career was nothing short of fascinating. He has performed with legends such as Chet Atkins. He has had his songs covered by the likes Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin. He has been nominated for and won several Grammy Awards. He has written movie scores and written for the likes of Glen Campbell. His music has taken him across the country from St. Louis to Nashville to Los Angeles and beyond. And in "Gentle On My Mind" he penned one of the most popular songs of all time.

Away from the spotlight, he was a husband and father, an artist, a dancer, a steamboat pilot, a historian, and a disc jockey. Yes, it is safe to say that John Harford (the 't' was added later to make Hartford) led a very fulfilled life. However it is the banjo that he is perhaps best known for, fast becoming a mentor and mystic for generations of aspiring pickers. He also famously played a Deering banjo and we are honored to have had the opportunity to work with him.

For the last seven years, a greatly anticipated documentary about John's life has been in the making. Filmed, produced and edited entirely by two women, Sheila Nichols and Marcy Cochran were granted permission from John Hartford's Family to complete film and with the help of funding and contributions, the pair find themselves in the final stages of production and now, they need your help to complete it!

The total amount required to complete the film is $15,000 and pledges equal to or greater than this amount must be received in order to receive any further funding. At this stage, the film has a little over $12,000 in pledges which means they still need another $3,000 minimum in order to take advantage of the generous donations and complete their 7 year journey.

This is where you come in. The duo are looking for any donations they can to reach their target and a Kickstarter page has been set up to allow you to donate to the cause and also provides more details on how the donations process works as well as some additional information about this exciting new project. No pledge is too small!

Deering Banjo Company stands behind this project and will do everything we can to support it, but we would also like to offer any fans of John to offer their support to this fantastic cause!

The Aereotwang Musical Preservation Project, a non-profit organization, began the Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to complete the film, John Hartford 'Oh, Yeah'. The campaign is running now through November 15th. The project covers the life and the music of one of America's symbols - John Hartford. Fiddler, Banjo Player, Songwriter, Riverboat Captain, and more. John Hartford was a legend and a significant influence on America's Roots music of today.

This documentary is unique on many levels. John Hartford was one of the most [fascinating and unconventional] characters to roam this earth and was considered by many to be a modern day Mark Twain. John was in the music industry since he was a teenager. His journey took him from playing in dance halls and deejaying at radio stations in his native Missouri to Nashville as a songwriter, then on to writing for the Smothers Brothers and Glen Campbell in California, and back to Nashville to be close to the river again and to continue his progress as one of the most charismatic musicians and talented writer/performers in the music business.

"Gentle on my Mind", one of the most-covered songs in recorded music, empowered him financially to be stylistically independent and true to himself in ways that big record labels would never have permitted. He was a poet, humorist and lyricist. His songs had a depth and wit that spoke to audiences on a very personal level, and which generated a loyal following wherever he performed.

This documentary is being filmed, produced and edited entirely by two women, Sheila Nichols and Marcy Cochran. Both fiddlers and fans of John Hartford's music, we obtained permission from John's family and began our journey nearly seven years ago. We formed a registered non-profit corporation, the AereoTwang Musical Preservation Project, in order to complete the film. All contributions to this project are therefore tax deductible (minus the face value of any of the rewards we offer donors on Kickstarter). The producers have produced the film as a labor of love and without a corporate budget until last year when the Foundation for Bluegrass Music provided them with a grant of $3000.

The purpose of this film is to encompass John's life for his family and his fans, and to open a door into John's World for those who did not know him. The film has been flavored with the spirit of John's whimsical sense of humor, and emphasizing John's influence on the evolution of grass roots music. They have interviewed Earl Scruggs, Marty Stuart, Tommy Smothers, Glen Campbell, all the former members of the Hartford String Band, Ronnie McCoury of the Del McCoury band, and Doug Dillard of the Andy Griffith show, David Holt, Cowboy Jack Clement, Pete Wernick and Mike Seeger just to name a few of the dozens of folks who have shared their stories about John.

The project has reached the point where they need funding for final editing, mastering, licensing, and manufacturing. Upon completion it will be available from the project's website and other on-line vendors, at music and film festivals, and at locations such as the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Ernest Tubb's Record Shop, the Appalachian Musuem in Norris, TN, and the International Bluegrass Museum in Owensboro, KY. Screenings are being arranged at many of these locations and more, including the Kentucky Derby Museum in Louisville.

The way kickstarter works is that your individual pledge is held until we reach our fund-raising goal of $15,000. So whatever your donation, large or small, it will make a big difference to us and it will be essential to the success of the project.

For more information about this film or about Aereotwang, go to We invite you to help celebrate the memory of a one-of-a-kind entertainer who redefined each genre of music he touched as he traveled through all the "long, hot summer days" of his life. From a colorful character who wore derby hats, vests and dancing shoes to an incomparable recording artist, an unrivaled solo performer, songwriter, river boat pilot, humorist, and historian of music and all things river, came a humble man who embraced all that he did in life and all of those that he met. We miss you, John. Thank you for your interest and support..."Oh Yeah."

Deering Banjo Company and Aerotwang contributed to this story.

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