A&F Newsletter

Winter 2005


John McCutcheon

ohn McCutcheon wasn’t supposed to become a folksinger. He was headed for a lucrative career as a social worker in migrant labor camps. But Woody Guthrie got there first. He heard the songs of the Dust Bowl refugees, the Grapes of Wrath stories that crackled on the airwaves of early 1960s radio and knew something else was going on.

While still a college student John heard recordings of Roscoe Holcomb and Clarence Ashley, walked out to the end of the college road, stuck out his thumb and never looked back. He ended up roaming the Appalachians, trading a university classroom for the front porches, picket lines, union halls, churches, and square dance barns of his adopted home. He quickly mastered seven different instruments, became an insightful and powerful singer of traditional songs, and honed an ear for a good story. Songwriting, storytelling, social activism all met and finally made sense.

John McCutcheon’s mastery of American folk music, instruments, and storytelling weave intimate, insightful and often hilarious canvasses on which McCutcheon draws his vision of Americana. His songwriting, rich in detail and broad in scope, have created a catalog of hundreds of songs covered by performers throughout the world. His classic Christmas in the Trenches has been repeatedly cited as “the greatest anti-war song ever written” and is the subject of an annual, coast-to-coast special on CBC.


Find out what all the fuss is about when John McCutcheon performs on Dec. 2 with the Winfield Regional Symphony under the direction of Gary Gackstatter. The concert is slated for 7:30 p.m. in the Robert Brown Theatre on the Cowley College campus, Arkansas City.

Equally at home in the recording studio, John has produced over 25 albums in as many years. He has garnered an amazing five consecutive Grammy nominations and has been awarded every imaginable award in the independent record industry. Additionally he has produced documentary and educational recordings, authored children’s books, chaired literacy campaigns, championed grassroots organizations throughout the world, and is even currently the president of the most innovative and fastest growing local in the musicians union. The concert was sponsored by The Arts at Cowley COllege and the Winfield Regional Symphony.


Winter 2005