John McCutcheon and Si Kahn, 1983
800 W University Pkwy Orem, Utah, United States
David Holt and John McCutcheon at Timpanogas Music Festival, 2008
John McCutcheon at Timpanogas Music Festival, 2008
1105 W 9th Ave, Winfield, Kansas, United States
John McCutcheon and Tommy Emmanuel, Winfield Festival
New York, United States
John McCutcheon & Mike Seeger, Old Songs Festival.
1130 W Bridge St, Wausau, Wisconsin, United States
John McCutcheon graduated from Newman Catholic High School.
850 Abbey Plaza, Collegeville, Minnesota, United States
John McCutcheon is a graduate of Saint John's University in Minnesota.
(This adaptation of McCutcheon's song commemorates the day...)
This adaptation of McCutcheon's song commemorates the day when a child joins an adoptive family. Complete with musical notation, these verses reassure adopted children they are special.
(Young Drasko is happy working with his father in the Sara...)
Young Drasko is happy working with his father in the Sarajevo market. Then war encroaches. Drasko must run the family flower stand alone. One morning, the bakery is bombed and twenty-two people are killed. The next day, a cellist walks to the bombsite and plays the most heartbreaking music Drasko can imagine. The cellist returns for twenty-two days, one day for each victim of the bombing. Inspired by the musician’s response, Drasko finds a way to help make Sarajevo beautiful again. Based on real events of the Bosnian War, award-winning songwriter and storyteller John McCutcheon tells the uplifting story of the power of beauty in the face of violence and suffering. The story comes to life with the included CD in which cellist Vedran Smailović accompanies McCutcheon and performs the melody that he played in 1992 to honor those who died in the Sarajevo mortar blast.
John McCutcheon attended Saint James Grade School and graduated from Newman Catholic High School. He is a graduate of Saint John's University in Minnesota.
Like thousands of others in the '60s, McCutcheon taught himself how to play a mail-order guitar and joined the folk scene in his local community. 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.
When McCutcheon became a father in the early 1980s he found most children's music "unmusical and condescending", and sought to change the situation by releasing a children's album, Howjadoo, in 1983. Originally, he had only intended to do one children's record, but the popularity of this first effort led to the production of seven additional children's albums. He has also written three books for children.
McCutcheon started a new series of children's albums in 1995 with the release of Summersongs. The album featured several tunes about the daily life of kids, with songs like "Power Mower" and "Haircut." Later that same year, Rounder released the second album in the series, Wintersongs. The recording featured several cuts about the common joys of winter, including "Soup" and "Hot Chocolate." The most popular song on the album, however, was the easily imagined "Tommy Don't Lick That Pipe," written by McCutcheon and his longtime friend Si Kahn. Wintersongs was nominated for a Grammy in 1996. Storied Ground followed three years later. The time between albums reinvigorated the singer/songwriter, and in 2001 he followed it up with Supper's on the Table... Filled with more socially conscious lyrics, the album had the look and feel of an old-time folk record.
The next year, a more contemporary-minded McCutcheon put out The Greatest Story Never Told on Red House Records. Self-released in 2003, Hail to the Chief! took a distinctively political and topical bent, as did his 2004 follow-up, Stand Up! Broadsides for Our Times. Released in 2006, Mightier Than the Sword was a literary effort, featuring collaborations with contemporary poets and fiction writers such as Wendell Berry, Rita Dove, and Barbara Kingsolver. McCutcheon also came out with a children's audio book that year called Christmas in the Trenches, which went on to garner a Grammy nomination in the children's spoken word category. Still a regular touring act, McCutcheon somehow managed to produce a new album every year through the decade's end, including the baseball-themed Sermon on the Mound (2008) and the double album Untold (2009), which devoted an entire disc simply to storytelling.
Joe Hill's Last Will Returning to the sound of his roots, McCutcheon teamed up with an all-star folk band of mandolinist Tim O'Brien, fiddler Stuart Duncan, bassist Bryn Davies, and singers Kathy Mattea, Suzy Bogguss, and Mollie O'Brien to record the 2010 Appalachian set Passage. Released in 2013, 22 Days united him with cellist Vedran Smailovic, while 2015's Joe Hill's Last Will was a tribute to the early 20th-century labor activist and songwriter. In between his next two albums, Trolling for Dreams (2017) and Ghost Light (2018), McCutcheon published another children's book, Flowers for Sarajevo.
Much of McCutcheon's work focuses on writing politically and socially conscious songs for adult audiences. One of his most successful songs, "Christmas in the Trenches" (from his 1984 album Winter Solstice), tells the story of the Christmas truce of 1914. In his performances, McCutcheon often introduces his music with a story. He has become known as a storyteller and has made multiple appearances at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee. He is married to children's author and storyteller, Carmen Agra Deedy.
In 2011 McCutcheon portrayed IWW organizer and songwriter Joe Hill in Si Kahn's one-man play Joe Hill's Last Will, produced by Main Stage West in Sebastopol, California.
Quotes from others about the person
“"The most impressive instrumentalist I've ever heard." - Johnny Cash
“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”
John McCutcheon married Parthy Monagan (an AIDS worker) on August 11, 1978. They have two sons Will and Peter.