Wisconsin native John McCutcheon (born August 14, 1952) is an American folk music singer and multi-instrumentalist who has produced over twenty-five albums since the 1970s. He is a graduate of Saint John's University in Minnesota, and now resides in Charlottesville, Virginia.
While in his 20s, McCutcheon travelled to Appalachia and learned from some of the legendary greats of traditional folk music, such as Roscoe Holcomb, I.D. Stamper, and Tommy Hunter. His vast repertoire also includes songs from contemporary writers like Si Kahn (e.g. Gone Gonna Rise Again, Rubber Blubber Whale) as well as a large body of his own music. He is regarded as a master of the hammered dulcimer, and is also proficient on many other instruments including guitar, banjo, autoharp, mountain dulcimer, fiddle, and Jew's harp.
When he 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 several additional children's albums. Much of his work, however, continues to focus on writing political 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. He also wrote a song entitled Hail to the Chief consisting entirely of malapropisms attributed to George W. Bush
- McCutcheon and fellow hammered dulcimer player Malcolm Dalglish were born on the same day (within half an hour of each other).
- McCutcheon wrote and played music for Dalglish's wedding ("If I Were a Featherbed"); Dalglish was the best man at McCutcheon's wedding.
- McCutcheon and Dalglish both learned hammered dulcimer from folksinger Guy Carawan.
- McCutcheon was once on Car Talk.
- McCutcheon once hosted a home video teaching hammered dulcimer for Homespun Video.
- McCutcheon delivered the graduation address at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC.
- How Can I Keep From Singing? (June Appal, 1975)
- The Wind That Shakes The Barley (Rounder, 1977)
- Barefoot Boy With Boots On (Rounder, 1980)
- Fine Times At Our House (Rounder, 1982)
- Howjadoo (Rounder, 1983, family album)
- Winter Solstice (Rounder, 1984, with Trapezoid and Washington Bach Consort)
- Signs of the Times (Rounder, 1986, with Si Kahn)
- Step By Step (Rounder, 1986)
- Gonna Rise Again (Rounder, 1987)
- Mail Myself to You (Rounder, 1988, family album)
- Water From Another Time (Rounder, 1989, retrospective)
- What It's Like (Rounder, 1990)
- Live at Wolf Trap (Rounder, 1991)
- Family Garden (Rounder, 1993, family album)
- Between the Eclipse (Rounder, 1995)
- Summersongs (Rounder, 1995, family album)
- Wintersongs (Rounder, 1995, family album)
- Nothing to Lose (Rounder, 1995)
- Sprout Wings and Fly (Rounder, 1997)
- Bigger Than Yourself (Rounder, 1997, co-written by Si Kahn)
- Doing Our Job (Rounder, 1997, with Tom Chapin)
- Autumnsongs (Rounder, 1998, family album)
- Springsongs (Rounder, 1999, family album)
- Storied Ground (Rounder, 1999)
- Supper's on the Table (Rounder, 2001, retrospective)
- The Greatest Story Never Told (Red House Records, 2002)
- Hail to the Chief (self-published, 2003)
- Stand Up! ...Broadsides for Our Time (self-published, 2004)
- Welcome the Traveler Home: The Winfield Songs (self-published, 2004)
- Mightier Than the Sword (Appalsongs, 2005)
- This Fire (Appalsongs, 2007)
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