Gentle On My Mind - Billy Bragg & Joe Henry

from the album Shine A Light: Field Recordings From The Great American Railroad (2016)

John Hartford was a Nashville singer/songwriter who started his music career in the mid-1960's.  Although he may seem obscure to many, his impact on American music was profound.  In particular, his 1971 album Aereo-Plain infused a new generational vibe into bluegrass music (they called it new-grass), seeding the soil in which today's Americana music scene flourishes.

However, John Hartford is best known for writing and recording the song Gentle On My Mind, which soon after was covered by Glen Campbell and won him two 1968 Grammy Awards for his songwriting.  That same year, he played alongside Gram Parsons on The Byrds classic album Sweethearts Of The Rodeo.

I dig how some songs live on long after their writers are dead and gone.  Thank you to Billy Bragg and Joe Henry for shining a light and helping to preserve the memory of the great John Hartford.

Click Here to listen to Billy Bragg and Joe Henry perform Gentle On My Mind.


  1. Gentle on one’s mind are the roots that we all have, and to receive a gentle reminder to pay homage to those roots in this tribute is a deep affecting moment. The past is not just so much history, but the time through which the difficult path of life was forged by people equally inadequate as we all are at one time or another; in that, the scholar, the poet, the musician and the mathematician were all without the ability to release their emotions in these vehicles at one time. But the roots to the past, the cognizance of the present, and the hope for the future bring out the best in us all, and reflections such as this will keep that light shining brightly for the human spirit.

    1. Thanks Jaba B !!!

      When artists create, they are often reflecting on the people and experiences that have moved them. This influence does not always manifest itself literally, but is there.

      When John Hartford wrote Gentle On My Mind, who on his mind? And how does that relationship effect and influence the relationship of a listener nearly fifty years after the song was written?

      My last trip "back home" I drove past the house I grew up in and saw a large hydrangea bush in full bloom. I remember the day when I helped my dad plant it many, many moons ago. I think of the family that lives their now, and imagine them taking a picture in front of it.

      It is all about creating lasting beauty.


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