NEM#160: John McCutcheon Learns the Lessons of Folk

John has released 45 albums since 1975 of original folk, traditional folk, children’s music (garnering six Grammy nominations for those), and instrumentals: He is fluent on guitar, banjo, violin, dulcimer, and more.

His songs very often tell stories, and we discuss several of those: “Atonement” from Bucket List (2021), “Soup” from John McCutcheon’s Four Seasons: Wintersongs (1995), and “Water from Another Time” from Gonna Rise Again (1987). We end by listening to “The Night John Prine Died” from Cabin Fever: Songs from Quarantine (2020). Intro: “Christmas in the Trenches” from Winter Solstice (1984). For more, see

Watch a short film made explaining and presenting all of “Christmas in the Trenches.” See a whole recent concert where he plays all his instruments to present traditional folk music. See him sing “The Night John Prine Died” from his living room. Here he is playing one of his best-loved kids’ songs. Watch a video made for his new track, “Bucket List.” See him make sweet noise on the hammer dulcimer and then as part of an instrumental quartet. Here’s John on stage with Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton et al, and here he is harmonizing with Tom Chapin and others.

Photo by Irene Young. Audio editing for the interview by Tyler Hislop.

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