Why no news is good news:
True we’ve been under the radar for a good while, but when you don’t see us it’s because we’re working hard. When you don’t hear from us it’s because we’re focused on editing rather than promotion, staying home from festivals and time-consuming distractions. We’ve missed the frequent contact with our friends and fellow Hartford fans, but the way the doc is coming together at the end of 9 years of interviewing and amassing archives is incredibly rewarding. We’re getting excited about sharing it with you.
Despite caretaker commitments with elderly parents, in Marcy’s case a father who broke his back last January and in Sheila’s case a mother in dementia care, over the course of 2013 we managed to make major progress - finishing writing the script and filling in much of the imagery. Marcy has been hand-drawing titles, animating chapter intros, and constructing the raw edits of all the chapters while Sheila has been busily organizing photos and video from huge archives, collecting the last of the missing photos/video/audio resources and finishing up those final transcriptions. We incorporated most of these into the script chapter by chapter. We continue to coordinate our efforts via Skype from our respective offices in the hours available to Marcy after a 30-hour-a-week day job. After months of less sleep and office-bound weekends - We are happy to say: it’s gettin’ there.
We are shooting to have raw edits together by end of the winter, so we can dig into refining them and adding our audio /video resources. While Marcy has been in the office with the editing equipment, Sheila has been busily gathering the remaining KEY loose ends. She was finally able to interview Brandon Kirk, John’s co-author on the Ed Haley project, who shared some great stories, photos and memorabilia with us. She has interviewed Captain Doc Hawley on the Natchez in New Orleans; spent hours at the Howard Steamboat Museum courtesy of Keith Norrington scanning photos and Hartford-related steamboat resources; and in Nashville, she visited again with Opry photographer Les Leverett to scan photos he kindly offered to share from his Opry archives. She interviewed Laura Carter Cash, taped video/audio voice-overs by Jamie Hartford, filmed cover material at John Hartford’s former Madison house, filmed the Cumberland and Mississippi Rivers, collected photos and cameo audio and video bits from surprise guests, and spent more time at the Hartford.org HQ scanning and photographing the Hartford Office archives. We are very grateful to Eric and Katie and the Hartford Estate for all of the help with chronology and history, photos and resources, and the permissions they have both given us and acquired for us in moving this project forward.
It has astonished both of us how great everyone has been about helping us with this grass roots project, and how generous people have been with their photos, videos, recordings,
memorabilia, memories and stories - it is obvious that John’s wacky sense of humor has left him with a legacy of humorous stories. We think it is a big indicator of just how much we all love and miss John and how much we want the ‘JOHN fun and music’ to continue, that this film has become the musical equivalent of “stone soup.” We owe many thanks to all those who have contributed time, music, and fruits of their labors (both professionals and hobbyists).
We think John would have been proud and very pleased to be so fondly and passionately remembered. We’d especially like to thank some of the unexpected contributors of time and resources; cartoon artist Jim Scancarelli of Gasoline Alley for some beautiful and relevant artwork and photos; Dan Martin of the St. Louis Dispatch for contributing artwork; photographer Allen Hess for much needed photos of John on the Julia Belle Swain, and many more who have come through for us recently with pieces of the puzzle.
We’d also like to thank one of the Pioneers of Bluegrass - Banjoist/Fiddler Tony Ellis and Colin O’Brien (a talented musician, songwriter and Hartford tribute artist), for performing a benefit concert in an old Plantation home for Aereotwang in Louisville in late March of 2013. It was well-attended, with many friends and VIPs in the audience, all of whom we thank for being there.
SO now it’s back to the grindstone so we can be able to say: COMING SOON: John Hartford “OH YEAH.”