Wednesday June 8, 2022
“The most impressive instrumentalist I’ve ever heard.” – Johnny Cash
– Live and Onstage @ World Records Wednesday June 8
Folk music’s renaissance man —
master instrumentalist, powerful
singer-songwriter, storyteller, activist, and author
“John McCutcheon is not only one of the best musicians in the USA, but also a great singer, songwriter, and song leader. And not just incidentally, he is committed to helping hard-working people everywhere to organize and push this world in a better direction.”
— Pete Seeger
Bucket List, an 18-song feast, is McCutcheon’s 42nd release. “Having too many songs is a nice problem to have,” he jokes. “I love these stories and wanted to share what I found therein. We simply recorded song after song, only dividing them up into different releases when we realized they all couldn’t fit on a single CD. So, there you go.”
The result is the first of a series of new recordings, Bucket List. Filled with his well-known storytelling prowess, McCutcheon explores a small town in France that has harbored refugees for centuries, the piano that first played “We Shall Overcome,” his own musical mentors, moonshine, kids’ crayon art, the atonement of a former white supremacist, and even the World Lacrosse Games. Rich with character and detail, each song is wrapped in his warm baritone and the loving attention that only a master songwriter brings to his craft.
John McCutcheon (born August 14, 1952) is an American folk music singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has produced 40 albums since 1970. He is regarded as a master of the hammered dulcimer, and is also proficient on many other instruments including guitar, banjo, autoharp, mountain dulcimer, fiddle, and jawharp.
Known best for his prolific work in the field of children’s music, John McCutcheon has consistently produced both quality children’s albums and folk albums since the early ’70s. McCutcheon is first and foremost an instrumentalist. Like thousands of others in the ’60s, McCutcheon, a Wisconsin native, taught himself how to play a mail-order guitar and joined the local folk scene. His interest became more serious, however, when he sought to find the roots of this music.
McCutcheon headed for Appalachia and learned from some of the legendary greats of traditional folk music. Along the way, he became adept at a multitude of instruments, including fiddle, banjo, guitar, autoharp, jaw harp, and especially the hammered dulcimer. McCutcheon is considered one of the undisputed masters on the hammered dulcimer and adapts much of his music around the instrument.
Old People in Love
John McCutcheon’s first award-winning song was titled The Ponderosa No-Cream-in-My-Coffee Blues, penned at the greasy spoon of the same name in his Wisconsin hometown. He was all of 15 years old and it won him his high school talent show. “My best friend claims that he still has a cassette of the song,” McCutcheon recently disclosed, “and if we ever have a serious falling out it’s going right up on YouTube.”
Since those early creative days John McCutcheon has gone on to write hundreds of songs and garnered more than his share of accolades. His eclectic catalog of ballads, historical songs, children’s songs, love songs, topical satire, fiddle and hammer dulcimer instruments, and even symphonic works are among the broadest in American folk music. His forty albums have earned 6 Grammy nominations. His songwriting has been hailed by critics around the world; his song Christmas in the Trenches is considered a classic and was recently named one of the 100 Essential Folk Songs.
Christmas in the Trenches
“What sets McCutcheon’s songs apart is that he’s actually writing about something!” observed well-known folk music DJ Bob Blackman. Whether it’s a musical snapshot of a day in the life of an Alaskan salmon fisherman, a child’s pondering the loss of her first tooth, remembering a moment that was omitted from our history books, lampooning the latest foibles on the national political scene, or celebrating the joy of old love McCutcheon’s songs are always about something small and, at the same time, something much bigger. “All big things start with little things,” he observed, “the way in which a song is able to open up the universal from the personal is one of the great joys of writing.”
In addition to his own writing, John has collaborated with some of the major songwriting talents in the folk music world including Tom Paxton, Si Kahn, Holly Near, Steve Seskin, and Tom Chapin. In 2006 he released an album of collaborations entitled Mightier than the Sword, in which he co-wrote songs with some of his favorite authors, including Barbara Kingsolver, Wendell Berry, Rita Dove, Lee Smith, and Carmen Agra Deedy. He has worked in the Woody Guthrie Archives completing some of Guthrie’s unfinished songs and has composed musical settings of poetry by Pablo Neruda and Jose Martí.
Biggest Thing That Man Has Ever Done
With his deep roots in American traditional music, his approach to writing reflects both a simplicity and a layered complexity that creates songs that are always more than they seem. “He is a master at the difficult craft of the ballad,” touted the Boston Globe. “Storytelling with the richness of fine literature,” added the Washington Post. “One of our country’s best songwriters,” said Pete Seeger.
John McCutcheon – Live and Onstage
@ World Records Wednesday June 8, 2022!
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Where Music Matters Most since 1982