John McCutcheon is a six-time Grammy-nominated folk singer from Wausau, Wisconsin. He came to Embry-Riddle on Wednesday, Feb. 7 to perform an array of songs for the incredibly packed auditorium full of students
and adults attending.
During his performance, he frequently told amusing stories about his life and experiences right before tying them into the following songs. An example of this was when he provided his Catholic background about learning the Bible. He described to the audience about how “Jesus hung around prostitutes and poor people,” Then sang a song about how he and Jesus would have been buddies. This context provided the audience with a passion and humor for the songs they heard, as they then knew the background to it.
To many, John McCutcheon is considered a master of the hammered dulcimer, a percussion-stringed instrument. On Wednesday, he started with the banjo and guitar, displaying his apparent proficiency in these additional instruments, before moving on to the piano.
Overall, the satisfied audience indulged in a peaceful, folk-filled night as John McCutcheon soothed their worries by telling them, “Whatever mountain of worries you brought in tonight, you may forget about them here.”
He then proceeded to sing a song about wishing he was a mole in the ground. John McCutcheon told the story about how he had heard the song as he was learning how to play the banjo for the first time. He mentioned that when he had learned it, McCutcheon found that the original writer and singer of the “mole in the ground” song, Basom Lamar Lunsford, founded the first folk-festival he was attending.
As he was about to perform that song on stage, he mentioned that he dedicated the song to the original late writer. About halfway through his tribute song, he had the misfortune to glance offstage, where he had seen the “White-suited, not late, Bason Lamar Lunsford. Original writer and singer of the song”. His embarrassment filled the audience the laughter, as he followed through with demonstrating the same piece he had embarrassed himself with almost forty years ago.