Folksinger John McCutcheon returns to Grass Valley on Saturday |

Folksinger John McCutcheon returns to Grass Valley on Saturday

Folksinger John McCutcheon returns to Grass Valley for his annual fundraiser concert benefiting community radio KVMR on Saturday.
Photo provided


WHO: Strings Concerts presents

WHAT: John McCutcheon - Annual KVMR Fundraiser

WHEN: Saturday, January 11, 7:00pm

WHERE: Don Baggett Theater at Nevada Union High School, 11645 Ridge Rd, Grass Valley

TICKETS: Reserved Seating - $20, $25, $30, $35. Tickets at or BriarPatch Food Coop - 530-272-5333


Folksinger John McCutcheon returns to Grass Valley for his annual fundraiser concert benefiting community radio KVMR on Saturday.

In the past fifty years, ask anyone in the music world who is the most influential hammer dulcimer player in America and one name comes up: John McCutcheon. Ask anyone who has written, produced, and released the most folk music albums during that span: same answer. Who has been in the forefront of redefining children’s music with five back-to-back Grammy nominations, making it truly “adult-friendly?” Same guy. Who has championed grassroots community organizing, helped reshape the musician’s union, authored three award-winning children’s picture books, promoted international musicians, written articles for numerous publications, chaired literacy campaigns, debuted a one-man play about labor songwriter Joe Hill, and, in his spare time toured the world filling concert halls on four continents? Guess who. The real question about John is not what he does best, but how he does it all so well.

Raised in Wisconsin, he hitchhiked the Appalachians armed with a backpack, a banjo and a healthy measure of youthful curiosity. In the process he discovered a new home, both musically and geographically. Learning at the knees of some of the great traditional masters, McCutcheon mastered the banjo, guitar, fiddle, autoharp, mountain dulcimer, and jaw harp. He became a knowledgeable and powerful singer of traditional material, with a wry wit and ear for a good story. But his real mastery was in his uncanny ability to see the meaning in the mundane, to lay out the horizons in one’s own backyard. “The Wendell Berry of folk music” is how one writer described him. The praise for his song writing, rich in detail and still broad in scope, has put him in the forefront of contemporary singer-song writing. But his determined inclusion of traditional material in his performances is what truly sets him apart. “No one is able to blend traditional music and original material with the ease, grace, and power of John McCutcheon.”

Critics reserve their most lavish praise for McCutcheon’s mastery of the hammer dulcimer, an instrument on which he is widely recognized as a master. He has pushed the bounds of the instrument, exposing it to country, rock and jazz audiences. His recent successes showcasing the dulcimer in symphonic settings have brought this ancient instrument, the inspiration for the invention of the piano, full circle back to classical audiences.

Equally at home in the recording studio, John has recorded forty albums, all meeting with both critical and popular acclaim. “I’m a six-time Grammy loser!” McCutcheon insists.

McCutcheon’s concert audiences join together professionals and factory hands, folk music veterans and novices, children and grandparents alike, who find his blend of song and story, humor and pathos, contemporary and traditional an exhilarating celebration of Americana.

Being an elder now, fifty years into a storied musical career, means John gets to return the favor so many of his mentors did for him. He’s traveling this tour with an opening act. Red Tail Ring is a Michigan based old-time duo John heard a few years ago and fell in love with. “I love their playing, their writing, their singing, their entire approach to music. It’s tradition-based, but thoroughly and thrillingly modern. I can’t wait to introduce these two to my trusty audiences … and play with them, as well!”

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User