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John McCutcheon

John McCutcheon became one of the best-selling and most-loved performers in family music by accident. "Honest! I didn't mean to!" he maintains. Already was an internationally known folksinger and recording artist, as father of a one-year-old son, McCutcheon recorded an album of songs for his son and figured that was that. Except for one thing: 1983's now-classic "Howjadoo" (Rounder Records) was different from the other children's albums out at the time. "I wanted to make an album that was very musical, fun, and absolutely adult-friendly. I wanted to be able to stand to listen to it again and again." And the rest is history.

"Howjadoo" became one of the best-selling children's folk music albums ever and John McCutcheon has become a favorite with families ever since. Now, five consecutive Grammy nominations later, he is coming to Romney August 7th for a concert at The Potomac Center. The show will start at 5PM and is appropriate for all ages, 4 and up.
What sets John McCutcheon apart is that he refuses to do what's classically known as "children's music." Opting instead to call his work "family music" John McCutcheon creates performances -whether in concert or on his recordings -that "transcend all age barriers" (Connecticut Post) and that one Oregon review noted, "appeal to folks of all ages -making his audiences a model of diversity." (Daily Barometer). The Chicago Tribune further noted that "John McCutcheon is a booster for all that is good in the human race. You can always count of his music to provide quality time for families."

An Australian newspaper further exclaimed, "the most overwhelming folk performer in the English language," while Johnny Cash called John "the most impressive instrumentalist I¹ve ever seen." A master of seven different instruments and an acknowledged world-master of the beautiful hammer dulcimer, the "international accolades are only erroneous in their understatement." (Cleveland Plain Dealer).

All this by accident? True, because John McCutcheon is one of very few family music performers who still performs primarily for adults. His catalog of over twenty-five albums includes recordings of traditional songs, topical material, instrumental works, and his own huge cache of original songs for people of all ages. He has played in major venues throughout the world from New York's Lincoln Center to London's Barbicon Theater to St. Petersburg¹s home of the Kirov Ballet. He has performed with a Who's Who of international folkmusic Š from Pete Seeger to Richard Thompson to Nancy Griffith to Inti Illimani -while recording with everyone from Paul Simon to Mary Chapin Carpenter. He introduced American and Russian audiences to the first international joint tour of a US and a USSR musician in the 1991 US/USSR Friendship Tour. He was named "Artist of the Year" by Australia's prestigious Port Fairy Folk Festival and has composed songs that have become classics in the folksong repertoire of the English-speaking world.

But it was on the heels of "Howjadoo's" unexpected success that John McCutcheon began to perfect his notion of "family music." He has released seven more family albums and produced five other anthologies of family songs and stories. These albums have garnered every imaginable honor in the family music world and helped promote a respect for children¹s musicality and intelligence. John McCutcheon's "Four Seasons" cycle is a staggering accomplishment of creativity and musicianship and has been called by many in the press as his "magnum opus."

Yet it is in concert halls, not in recording studios, that John McCutcheon feels most comfortable. His live shows have been hailed as "little feats of magic" (Washington Post) and "national folk music treasures" (Oakland Tribune). "Not only one of the best musicians in the USA, but also a great singer, songwriter and song leader!" is how Pete Seeger describes him.

Not satisfied being merely an entertainer, McCutcheon teaches his audiences how to make music themselves, in groups or all alone. He weaves tales as modern fables, rich in history and universal in scope. He introduces the many instruments he uses‹guitar, banjo, fiddle, autoharp, hammer dulcimer‹placing them in their historic and ethnic framework, all the while sketching a picture of our world that works like a great orchestra with each different element adding to the sound of the whole.

Whether live or on record, whether playing a quiet instrumental or leading a wild sing-a-long, whether mesmerizing a thousand children with a story or dashing with his fiddle up to the second balcony, John McCutcheon makes music the whole family can enjoy. His concerts are an exhilarating, joyous celebration of Americana.

This engagement of John McCutcheon is a Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Tour, funded by the Foundation in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program. Made possible through the generous support of The Bank of Romney with financial assistance from the WV Division of Culture & History and the National Endowment for the Arts with approval from the WV Commission on the Arts

At the end of the performance the audience will have opportunity to "Meet the Artist" and ask him questions about his instruments and songs


Hampshire County Arts Council, P.O. Box 624, Romney, WV 26757    webmaster e-mail address

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