Track of the Day: I almost hate posting this track right now, because I think the album its off of merits an album of the month dissection. I’ll revisit this feeling though, and just touch on this great track called “Steam-Powered Aereo Plane” by John Hartford. A lot of this has to do with my empathy with the man himself. John is such an interesting character, he was actually a licensed steam boat conductor, an insanely good banjo and fiddle player who played in countless important country sessions, and a honest proponent of what Americana as an ethos could be (in terms of style, temperament, and difference).
A lot of us who are into less city-folk stuff like to think we’re thoroughly modern in our own way. John was that in spades. He was a long-haired, bearded guy who knew so much traditional Appalachian, bluegrass music but wasn’t the least bit interested in venerating it in his own recordings. His own recordings stretched the idea of what mountain music was. Here was a guy who perfectly captured the laughter, joy, and downright quirk that this great country inspires. I say this, because as a first generation Mexican-American, from the desert Southwest, who is honestly looking at traveling down a river boat as a cool thing to do…but thought twice about doing so…then remembered this great song by John…then decided hell, that actually would be a great thing to do just because of it, speaks to the true power of John’s beautiful bluegrass music. Its bluegrass music that can exist outside of the physical plane.