The John Hartford Memorial Festival Announces Songwriting Contest Winners

Eric Davis
Eric Davis

The John Hartford Memorial Festival Songwriting contest top five winners have been selected and will perform in a main stage showcase on June 3rd at the festival. Songwriters were challenged to write a song using John Hartford song titles. The contest was cut off at 25 entries. 1st place went to Eric Davis from Boulder CO., with his Zen Blues acoustic finger picked song, ”John and His Full Moon Mind”.

2nd place went to Jim Clark from rural southern IL- “Driftin’ on the Hartford Sound”
3rd went to Jan Bell-Brooklyn NY, “Stream of Mountain Girls”
4th- Mike Ichniowski- Ft. Smith AR, for his song “Weekend in Indiana”
5th- David Frye- Peoria IL, “Where the Best Days Begin”

Eric Davis, a stone mason, is 37 and has been playing guitar since 8th grade. About the influence of John Hartford on his music;

“John Hartford’s music hit me like a 6 o’clock train. As a young adult guitar and banjo picker, I was immediately influenced and forever changed when, by genuine luck, I found ‘All in the name of Love’ on vinyl at a garage sale. My first Hartford album! With one listen It was crystal clear how special John was so I commenced buying all the records. He quickly became one of my musical heroes and the more I learned about him the more I dug his music. I see his whole approach as the benchmark for any artist. He was wildly gifted while equally as cool and humble which just speaks for itself and is something to aspire to as a human being.”

Eric’s winning song, “Full Moon Mind”, in his words, refers to John’s ability to reveal that perspective, mystique and creative spirit that others don’t see in the shadows. “Much like the full moon illuminates a night landscape revealing all that would otherwise not be seen in the night. It’s that expansive sensation I get from John’s creative approach. I also suggest in the lyric that The Full Moon Mind is a special rare thing that John alone possesses.”

Eric currently performs with his Colorado band “The Whale Tales” an Alt-Roots, Americana, Rock band and his solo act “Feathered Mason”, in the Denver area and beyond when possible. Learn more about Eric Davis at

You can hear Eric’s winning song, and the top ten entries, as well as the top ten from  the past three previous contests at

The 6th Annual John Hartford Memorial Festival will be held at the Bill Monroe Music Park, Bean Blossom IN, June 1-4th and features such artists as Sam Bush, Leftover Salmon, The Travelling McCourys, Rodney Dillard, over 40 entertainers, workshops, and kids activities and a banjo and fiddle contest. Tickets are on sale at the website and will increase in price at the gate.