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Upcoming Book of John's Original Fiddle Tunes, New CD Release

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Headin' Down into the Mystery Below & Slumberin' On the CumberlandWhile going through John's archive, the family has discovered over 60 handwritten music journals he had been using to compose fiddle tunes since the early '80s. Katie Harford Hogue tell us, "There are hundreds of tunes in these journals; it's fascinating to look through them. Dad amassed a lot of research and he was a prolific creator. One of the interesting challenges we've had over the years is figuring out how to take his unfinished projects and ideas and develop them into 'new' material to continue his legacy. The fiddle book idea has been bouncing around ever since we discovered the journals."

These fiddle journals date from 1983 until early 2001, a few months before John passed away, and most of the tunes are original. They also contain arrangements on traditional fiddle tunes, tunes he learned from friends, and several he transcribed from his research on Ed Haley— but only his original tunes will appear in this book. Katie says the book will be "nice enough to display, accessible enough to carry to the coffee shop, and large enough to hold 150+ tunes plus narrative, interviews, photos, and John's own drawings". There's also a plan to offer a smaller, spiral-bound version of the tunes that will fit into a gig bag.

The anticipated release of John Hartford's Mammoth Collection of Fiddle Tunes is summer of 2018. It will be available to purchase at, and will also be available wholesale to booksellers and music stores. Follow the book's progress on Facebook: Hartford's Mammoth Collection; Instagram: @JohnHartfordFiddle, and Twitter: @HartfordFiddle

Headin' Down into the Mystery Below and Slumberin' On the Cumberland CD Re-release
We are excited to announce that on Tuesday, November 14th, we will re-release the never-before-on-CD albums Headin' Down Into The Mystery Below and Slumberin' On the Cumberland as a two-CD set. Producer Michael Melford, who also helmed Nobody Knows What You Do and the Grammy-award winning Mark Twang, spent a great deal of quality time with John back in the day; we were thrilled when Michael, now an attorney living in Boston, agreed to write the liner notes for the new compilation CD.

These notes add color and a mental visual into the life and times of John Hartford during the period in his life in which these two albums were recorded. "In a recording career spanning a third of a century, John Hartford released 35 studio albums of his own and numerous record projects with other artists. He experimented with a wide variety of album concepts, lyric themes, musical styles, and combinations of backup players and singers. During the years 1976 to 1981, I had the pleasure of producing around a dozen of those records. The two albums reissued here, originally released on Flying Fish Records as LPs and until now out of print, are each unique in their own way. Yet, taken together, they provide a snapshot of a time when John was completing a transition from his Hollywood years back to his roots in Middle America."

Originally recorded in 1978 at The Sound Shop in Nashville for Flying Fish Records, the eleven tracks on Heading Down Into The Mystery Below include: "The Mississippi Queen," "Mama Plays The Calliope," "See The Julia Belle Swain," "On Christmas Eve," "Natchez Whistle," "Kentucky Pool," "Miss Ferris," "Paducah," "Headin' Down Into The Mystery Below," "Beatty's Navy," and "In Plain View Of The Town."

Slumberin' On the Cumberland also has 11 tracks and was released in 1979 on Flying Fish. Besides Hartford, the album includes Pat Burton, Benny Martin, Buddy Emmons, Sam Bush, Roy Huskey, Jr., Henry Strzelecki, Hargus "Pig" Robbins, and Larrie Londin. The track list includes: "Slumberin' On the Cumberland," "Greenback Dollar"/"Careless Love," "Love In Vain," "If I Can Stay Away Long Enough," "Hillman," "Southern Moon," "I Can Read Between the Lines in Your Letter," "Blue Writin' On White Paper," "First Fall of Snow," "Fiddle Faddle," "Go Fall Asleep Now."

You can pre-order this two-CD set here.

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