John McCutcheon | Nelson Town Hall

Nelson Town Hall
$18/$15(senior, youth or advance purchase)
Info: 603-352-8616

Raised in Wisconsin, he hitchhiked the Appalachians armed with a backpack, a banjo, and a healthy measure of youthful curiosity. In the process he discovered a new home, both musically and geographically. Learning at the knees of some of the great traditional masters, McCutcheon mastered the banjo, guitar, fiddle, autoharp, mountain dulcimer, and jaw harp. He became a knowledgeable and powerful singer of traditional material, with a wry wit and ear for a good story. But his real mastery was in his uncanny ability to see the meaning in the mundane, to lay out the horizons in one’s own backyard. “The Wendell Berry of folk music” is how one writer described him. The praise for his song writing—rich in detail and still broad in scope—has put him in the forefront of contemporary singer-song writing. But his determined inclusion of traditional material in his performances is what truly sets him apart. “No one is able to blend traditional music and original material with the ease, grace, and power of John McCutcheon.”

Critics reserve their most lavish praise for McCutcheon’s mastery of the hammer dulcimer, an instrument on which he is widely recognized as a world master. He has pushed the bounds of the instrument, exposing it to country, rock, and jazz audiences. His recent successes showcasing the dulcimer in symphonic settings have brought this ancient instrument … the inspiration for the invention of the piano … full circle back to classical audiences.

Equally at home in the recording studio, John has recorded twenty-five albums, all meeting with both critical and popular acclaim.

McCutcheon’s concert audiences join together professionals and factory hands, folk music veterans and novices, children and grandparents alike, who find his blend of song and story, humor and pathos, contemporary and traditional an exhilarating celebration of Americana. “The pithy insight of Will Rogers, the understated delivery of Garrison Keillor, the song leading ability of Pete Seeger, and the virtuosity of an orchestra … John McCutcheon is a national folk treasure!” exclaims a Bay Area newspaper. “Little feats of magic,” declared a Midwest concert reviewer. “The most overwhelming folk performer in the English language,” lauded an Australian reviewer.

Whether singing for an auditorium of children, playing as a featured artist with a symphony, leading a festival crowd in song, or entrancing a concert hall with a story about small town life, John’s sense of his audience, where they are and where they can go is unparalleled. And where those audiences tend to go is back to whatever concert hall John McCutcheon appears in.

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