John McCutcheon has been heavily involved in the Folk music scene for fifty years. As a multi-instrumentalist, a traditional music archivist, one of the primary revivalists of the hammer dulcimer, he’s also a prolific and wide-ranging songwriter, who spent much of his life touring before Covid.
On September 2, 2022 he’s releasing Leap!, his third album of songs written entirely during the pandemic. It will also be McCutcheon’s 43rd release in his busy career. The single “Ride” is currently out, giving us a preview of the album. It tells the tale of “a usually-timid kid taking a brave leap at the local quarry, recalling his grandad telling him, ‘If you ain’t livin’, then you’re dyin’!’”
The new 18-song collection tells a lot of varied stories, journeying from Appalachia, to Belfast, to New York City. His longtime bandmates joined him on the album, including Stuart Duncan on fiddle, keyboardist Jon Carroll, and bassist JT Brown. Guest artists include drummer Robert “Jos” Jospé and guitarist Pete Kennedy, Irish flutist Seamus Egan, and singers Kathy Mattea, Tim O’Brien, and Tommy Sands.
Leap! follows on the heels of Cabin Fever: Songs from the Quarantine (2020) and Bucket List (2021) and that brings to the tally 54 new songs written and released since the 2020 lockdown.
And that’s less than half of what’s been composed, not counting at least that many from my weekly Zoom sessions with Tom Paxton and others!