Arts

McCutcheon Loves Folk Music

John McCutcheon with hammered dulcimer.

Madison County – No one remembers when the neighbors started calling the McCutcheon’s to complain about the loud singing from young John’s bedroom. It didn’t seem to do much good, though. 

After a shaky, lopsided battle between piano lessons and baseball (he was an average pianist and an all-star catcher), he had “found his voice” thanks to a cheap mail-order guitar and a used book of chords. From such inauspicious beginnings, John McCutcheon has emerged as one of the area’s most respected and loved folksingers. As an instrumentalist, he is a master of a dozen different traditional instruments. Critics and singers around the globe have hailed his songwriting and his thirty recordings have earned every imaginable honor, including seven Grammy nominations.

Music in a Pandemic

In 2020, when all live music stopped, McCutcheon and his team explored ways to present live music. “It’s a challenge,” remarked Laura Boosinger, Executive Director of the Madison County Arts Council. “We have all had a lot of virtual experiences in 2020, including work and school to the continual news cycle. We wondered what would make this experience different from others? When John’s team reached out to us, we were excited to see a professionally produced show. Something high quality to offer our audience and in the safety of their own homes. John has been a favorite in Madison County since his early days of learning the music in the 1970s.”

McCutcheon recalls, “I came South in 1972 to find old-time banjo players. And I met loads of ’em: Roscoe Holcomb, Obray Ramsey, Ola Belle Reed, Will Keys, Byard Ray, ID Stamper, and plenty more. Through them, I met fiddlers, singers, storytellers, writers, and a host of characters that lived through amazing times and events. All that together informed how I think about music and its relation to community life. It not only taught me a truckload of instruments and songs, it taught me how to tell a story, how to write a song, how to make music mean something.” 

 “In this concert, I’ll do a blend of traditional songs and my own, especially those I’ve written in recognizable traditional forms. I’ll give a shoutout to those groups who continue to celebrate, teach, and honor traditional music and those that are shepherding it into our own lives and times. We’ll have a bit of a campfire Q&A after the music, just like we do in person. And, who knows? maybe we might even have a special guest or two!”

Special ticket pricing is available for single or household tickets as well as students and others. “John wants to make sure everyone can enjoy a night of quality entertainment. We are excited to partner with him to make this happen,” said a press release. To get your ticket, follow the link here: http://madisoncountyarts.com/events/john-mccutcheon-virtual-concert/

Call the Madison County Arts Council for more information: (828) 649-1301

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