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My Memories of John Hartford

My Memories of John Hartford

By Bob Carlin
Series: American Made Music Series

Hardcover : 9781496851383, 162 pages, 17 b&w illustrations, April 2024
Paperback : 9781496851390, 162 pages, 17 b&w illustrations, April 2024

Table of contents

Preface and Thanks

Chapter One: I’mGlad You Didn’tKnow Me Back Then

Chapter Two: The Master of High Laconic

Chapter Three: We Just Got Back from Japan

Chapter Four: I Could Always Do This Show Without You

Chapter Five: You Certainly Are Easily Entertained, and for That, I Am Eternally Grateful

Epilogue: Afterlife: When It’sOver, It’sJust Over

Selected Bibliography

Selected Discography: John Hartford and Bob Carlin


A touching tribute to life on the road and in the studio with the inventor of newgrass music


My Memories of John Hartford is a memoir about author Bob Carlin's years working alongside singer, songwriter, banjoist, and fiddler John Hartford (1937-2001). Throughout his short life, Hartford was a hit tunesmith, festival headliner, and godfather of newgrass music. He also made contributions to the film and television industry as a star in The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour and helped create the soundtrack for O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Carlin and Hartford first met when Carlin interviewed the entertainer for Fresh Air with Terry Gross. From this first meeting over microphones developed a sixteen-year affiliation. Six years into their friendship, a working collaboration grew between the two. Carlin first accompanied John Hartford on several albums, eventually becoming his project manager for audio and video recordings. Finally, Carlin was recruited into John Hartford's last Stringband, for which he also served as the de facto road manager and right-hand guy.

My Memories of John Hartford opens with an overview of the years before Hartford and Carlin's friendship, then details the last fifteen years of John Hartford's life. Included are in-depth descriptions of Hartford's lifestyle, as well as his philosophies about music, performing, recording, and living as he expressed them to the author or to those around him, with some road stories thrown in for good measure. And, those last fifteen years of his short life, while tempered by available information, are viewed here through the impressionist lenses of the author's own experience.


"In this engaging book, Bob Carlin offers a unique, insider’s take on the life and music of John Hartford."

- Jeff Sellars, coeditor of Rags and Bones: An Exploration of The Band

"No true fan of Hartford’s will want to miss this book."

- Bluegrass Today, John Lawless