This latest Blue Plate special from the popular Live From Mountain Stage series is a fine tribute to influential songwriter John Hartford.
This latest Blue Plate special from the popular Live From Mountain Stage series is a fine tribute to influential songwriter John Hartford. Far more than the typical tribute cover album, this project features a live, single-show recording from last September. It's a mutual admiration society of Hartford and such peers as Tim O'Brien, Kathy Mattea, John Cowan, Gillian Welch, Bela Fleck, and others. Mattea and O'Brien provide a smooth, easy-rolling rendition of the poetic imagery in Hartford's signature "Gentle on My Mind," and Welch's take on Hartford's white-collar lament "Tall Tall Buildings" is delicate and passionate. Bela Fleck and Pat Flynn paint a picture with strings on the instrumental "On the Road," and Hartford's son, Jamie, rocks with authority on "Who Cut Your Heart Out?" John Hartford himself takes center stage on the spritely "In the Heart of the Cross-Eyed Child" and whimsical "Watching the River Go By," and he is both appreciative and courageous on "Give Me the Flowers While I'm Living." Like Hartford himself, this tribute places the emphasis and love where it belongs—on the music. Contact: 615-742-1250.—RW