John McCutcheon is an essential folk singer, among the most versatile and best loved. This internationally revered, multi-Grammy finalist is down-to-earth. Known as a virtuoso on hammer dulcimer and banjo, he plays a dozen different traditional instruments. Johnny Cash dubbed him “The most impressive instrumentalist I’ve ever heard.” He covers all the bases: traditional story songs and original ballads that sound old and lasting, kid’s songs, nonsense ditties, and hard-hitting songs with social and political themes. His songwriting and storytelling have the “richness of fine literature” (Washington Post), but go straight to the heart, simple and immediate. Among his hundreds of compositions, there isn’t a clunker: standouts include Water from Another Time and Christmas in the Trenches.
McCutcheon has spent most of his life (when not performing around the world, from grand concert halls to festivals, schoolrooms to picket lines) in the hills of eastern Kentucky and Virginia. There he has learned songs and tunes from coal miners and church choirs, organized at union halls, and played tunes for square dances. From people he has met in his travels, he has absorbed not technique alone, but a deep commitment to homemade music, community, and global activism. He has given back freely in his 40+ years of touring, 30+ recordings, and as a gifted teacher and author. McCutcheon takes the stage with grace, humor, and soul, having the rare gift to delight and inspire audiences of all ages and backgrounds. “John McCutcheon is not only one of the best musicians in the USA, but also a great singer, songwriter, and song leader committed to helping hard-working people everywhere to organize and push this world in a better direction.” –Pete Seegerhttp://www.cornellfolksong.org/>, and by mail: SASE to CFSS, PO Box 481, Ithaca, NY 14851. Info: 607-351-4763. $15 advance/$17 door; $3 rebate at door for members, seniors, teens. Children free. Cornell students $10/$12.
Tickets: Ludgate’s, Ithaca Guitar Works, GreenStar, Small World Music, Bound for Glory, online <