In 1963, 35 years after making his last recording, Hurt was rediscovered near Avalon, Mississippi, by folk musicologist Tom Hoskins. He had correctly guessed Hurt’s location from geographical clues in his 1920s recordings. Hurt was coaxed out of retirement and played the 1963 Newport Folk Festival. After that, he was back in business, which led to a new recording contract.
Just after his rediscovery, Hurt was booked to play the Gaslight club in Greenwich Village. Young singer-songwriter Tom Paxton watched and was greatly influenced by the master. Later on, Paxton recorded Did You Hear John Hurt?, a song he still does today in concert. Paxton told me about Hurt’s amazing influence on his life and music in this interview.