Personnel: John Hartford (vocals, guitar, banjo); Norman Blake (vocals, guitar, mandolin); Tut Taylor (vocals, dobro); Vassar Clements (vocals, guitar, violin, fiddle, viola, cello); Randy Scruggs (vocals, bass).
Recorded at Glaser Sound Studios, Nashville, Tennessee and Electric Lady Studios, New York, New York. Includes liner notes by Sam Bush and John Hartford.
Released originally in 1971, AEREO-PLAIN is an essential classic. Hartford had already been recording for a good part of the previous decade, and his song "Gentle on My Mind" had become first a hit and subsequently a standard. This album is a perfect combination of his love for traditional music and a hefty dose of his own idiosyncratic and endearingly friendly personality.
A romantic through and through, Hartford sings clearly and poetically about not just lost love, but also lost cultural guides and trends (such as on "Steamboat Whistle Blues," "First Girl I Knew," and "Back in the Goodle Days"). The players on this album are sympathetically matched and include some of the leading lights of the modern bluegrass world. AEREO-PLAIN was followed the next year by the equally praise-worthy MORNING BUGLE.