We approach this task of producing a documentary about the life and musical achievements of John Hartford mindful of the wide variety of his talents, and with great appreciation and admiration for his music. We’d like to create a show that reflects his joy, his creative genius, irreverence and wit. So, who the heck are we and why do we want to do this?
Our interest in John Hartford came in part from our contact with him at Mark O’Connor’s fiddle camp, as fiddle students, where we were lucky enough to sit with him while he fiddled on the front porch.
By profession Marcy is a graphic designer, animator, and editor from the Virginia side of the Washington, DC area with a 20-year freelance career in print and television. She worked for PBS both at their DC affiliate, WETA, and at their national headquarters in Alexandria, VA. Later she wound up in television, working for Fox and CBS in DC, for CNN and America’s Most Wanted. She’s had her fill of network tv and is eager to work on something “funner”. That’s where the idea for this film came from. She currently fiddles in a band called Dead Men’s Hollow.
Sheila is a photo-journalist, event photographer, musical archivist and old-time fiddler from Louisville, Kentucky (that’s mile marker 604 on the Scenic Ohio River), and fiddles in the Big Muddy String Band there with her bandmate, fiddler/banjoist Bill Ray, who is himself a riverboat pilot. Sheila first met John Hartford at IBMA in Owensboro, Ky. during the 80’s where he was performing and teaching a fiddle workshop with his son Jamie. She has been a student and a fan of John’s ever since. Sheila shares John’s love of old time music and paddlewheelers, and her band performs, among other places, on the Steamer Belle of Louisville, at barge launchings and at Riverboat Museums.
Sheila apprenticed under master fiddler Art Stamper after applying for and winning him a grant from the Folk Arts Department of Kentucky. She did the photography for Art Stampers “Darlin Corey” CD, and she photographed Art’s five string fiddle for the engraving on his monument.
In addition to her musical interests, she brings to this collaboration her remarkable creativity, her skills as a researcher and photographer, videographer and archivist, her boundless energy and her “downhome” people skills. Her photography of John Hartford’s memorial is now displayed in the collection at the Museum of Appalachia. Her photography of various other artists and events has been published in various magazines and publications, CDs and instructional DVDs.
We are presently in the production stage, writing, interviewing, and seeking public funding for post-production. For the purpose of the documentary, and for the larger purpose of preserving and furthering folk and oldtime music, we have formed the AereoTwang Musical Preservation Project, a nonprofit corporation.
We are pleased to be finding so many of the people who knew John to be interested in, and enthusiastic about, participating in this project. We appreciate the input from those who knew him well or whose lives were touched by him.
Thank you for your interest in the project. We value all the input, tips, resources, and financial support that comes our way. We hope that this will be, in the end, a creative and enduring record of John Hartford’s presence for present and future generations to know.
Marcy Cochran & Sheila Nichols, Producers