John Hartford - Aereo-Plain LP
Label: Real Gone
Bone vinyl edition of 1,000.
After penning the Glen Campbell mega-hit "Gentle on My Mind" and appearing repeatedly both on Glen's weekly variety show and on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, John Hartford could have taken the show biz glide path to financial security and ease. Instead, the singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist (and steamboat enthusiast) moved back to Nashville from L.A., signed a contract with Warner Bros., and proceeded to create one of the most influential and groundbreaking albums not just in bluegrass but in modern country music as a whole.
1971's Aereo-Plain assembled a veritable supergroup consisting of fiddler Vassar Clements, dobroist Tut Taylor, guitarist Norman Blake and bassist Randy Scruggs to play a set of mostly original tunes that were unlike anything the staid bluegrass community had ever heard before. Fresh, irreverent, funny and always — except for the hilarious Dr. Demento favorite Boogie — tuneful, and played by an absolutely scintillating band, the songs on Aereo-Plain pointed to a new stylistic direction for bluegrass, one quickly coined "newgrass;" as Sam Bush of the New Grass Revival says, "Without Aereo-Plain, there would be no 'newgrass' music." We're reissuing this essential album on LP for the first time in 50 years; it includes lyrics and liner notes by John Hartford expert Skip Heller.