In a special appearance benefiting the ongoing maintenance of the Historic Grove Theater, music lovers will have the opportunity to witness the artistry of John McCutcheon on Friday, September 28, at 7 p.m.
The concert will take place in the large auditorium of the Historic Grove Theater, which is located at 123 Randolph Road in Oak Ridge. Local up-and-coming Americana player Eli Fox will open the show.
The Theater has an opportunity through the generous gift by a local anonymous donor to match dollar for dollar to build funding for the maintenance of this busy historic property. Proceeds from this performance, after expenses, will be going to this effort.
“John McCutcheon is not only one of the best musicians in the USA, but also a great singer, songwriter, and song leader. And not just incidentally, he is committed to helping hard-working people everywhere to organize and push this world in a better direction.”
— Pete Seeger
“The most impressive instrumentalist I’ve ever heard.”
— Johnny Cash
“He has an uncanny ability to breathe new life into the familiar. His storytelling has the richness of fine literature.”
— Washington Post
“Calling John McCutcheon a ‘folksinger’ is like saying Deion Sanders is just a football player.”
— Dallas Morning News
No one remembers when the neighbors started calling the McCutcheons to complain about the loud singing from young John’s bedroom. It didn’t seem to do much good, though. After a shaky, lopsided battle between piano lessons and baseball (he was a mediocre pianist and an all-star catcher), he had “found his voice” thanks to a cheap mail-order guitar and a used book of chords.
From such inauspicious beginnings, John McCutcheon has emerged as one of our most respected and loved folksingers. As an instrumentalist, he is a master of a dozen different traditional instruments, most notably the rare and beautiful hammer dulcimer. His songwriting has been hailed by critics and singers around the globe. His 30 recordings have garnered every imaginable honor including seven Grammy nominations. He has produced more than 20 albums of other artists, from traditional fiddlers to contemporary singer-songwriters to educational and documentary works. His books and instructional materials have introduced budding players to the joys of their own musicality. And his commitment to grassroots political organizations has put him on the front lines of many of the issues important to communities and workers.
Even before graduating summa cum laude from Minnesota’s St. John’s University, this Wisconsin native literally “headed for the hills,” forgoing a college lecture hall for the classroom of the eastern Kentucky coal camps, union halls, country churches, and square dance halls. His apprenticeship to many of the legendary figures of Appalachian music imbedded a love of not only home-made music, but a sense of community and rootedness. The result is music…whether traditional or from his huge catalog of original songs…with the profound mark of place, family, and strength. It also created a storytelling style that has been compared to Will Rogers and Garrison Keillor.
The Washington Post described John as folk music’s “Rustic Renaissance Man,” a moniker flawed only by its understatement. “Calling John McCutcheon a ‘folksinger’ is like saying Deion Sanders is just a football player…” (Dallas Morning News). Besides his usual circuit of major concert halls and theaters, John is equally at home in an elementary school auditorium, a festival stage, or at a farm rally. He is a whirlwind of energy packing five lifetimes into one. In the past few years alone, he has headlined more than a dozen different festivals in North America (including repeated performances at the National Storytelling Festival), recorded an original composition for Virginia Public Television involving more than 500 musicians, toured Australia for the sixth time, toured Chile in support of a women’s health initiative, appeared in a Woody Guthrie tribute concert in New York City, gave a featured concert at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, taught performance art skills at a North Carolina college, given symphony pops concerts across America, served as president of the fastest-growing local in the musicians union and performed a special concert at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. This is all in his “spare time.” His “real job,” he’s quick to point out, is father to two grown sons.
But it is in live performance that John feels most at home. It is what has brought his music into the lives and homes of one of the broadest audiences any folk musician has ever enjoyed. People of every generation and background seem to feel at home in a concert hall when John McCutcheon takes the stage, with what critics describe as “little feats of magic,” “breathtaking in their ease and grace…,” and “like a conversation with an illuminating old friend.”
Whether in print, on record, or on stage, few people communicate with the versatility, charm, wit, or pure talent of John McCutcheon.
More about John: https://www.folkmusic.com/.
More about Eli: https://www.elifoxmusic.com/.
Tickets for this performance are only $20 for general admission. They are available online at https://buy.knoxvilletickets.com/online/article/mccutcheon2018, by phone at (865) 656-4444, or toll free (877) 995-9961, in person at Knoxville Tickets outlets, and in Oak Ridge at the front desk of the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel.
ABOUT MASSKUS PRODUCTIONS
Masskus Productions led by Stephen F. Krempasky, is a performing arts agency bringing professional artists to special events across the East Tennessee region. Masskus Productions will itself present or assist other organizations in their presentation of theatrical and concert events offered to the community.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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