A superb instrumentalist able to play the hammered dulcimer as easily as the banjo, the nyckelharpa as well as the guitar, McCutcheon adds in his voice and expert storytelling skills. It’s little wonder audiences flock to see him perform, whether he’s playing classic folk tunes or children's music.
Starting in his teens, McCutcheon has written hundreds of songs and garnered more than his share of accolades. His eclectic catalog of ballads, historical songs, children’s songs, love songs, topical satire, fiddle and hammer dulcimer instruments, and even symphonic works are among the broadest in American folk music. His 36 albums have earned 6 Grammy nominations. His songwriting has been hailed by critics around the world; his song, “Christmas in the Trenches,” is considered a classic and was recently named one of the 100 Essential Folk Songs.
"What sets McCutcheon’s songs apart is that he’s actually writing about something!" observed well-known folk music DJ Bob Blackman. Whether it’s a musical snapshot of a day in the life of an Alaskan salmon fisherman, a child’s pondering the loss of her first tooth, remembering a moment that was omitted from our history books, lampooning the latest foibles on the national political scene, or celebrating the joy of old love McCutcheon’s songs are always about something small and, at the same time, something much bigger."All big things start with little things," he observed,"the way in which a song is able to open up the universal from the personal is one of the great joys of writing."
It’s performing for an audience that energizes McCutcheon, says the man who is both a consummate musician and a clear-eyed visionary. The continent-hopping McCutcheon maintains a low-profile at home, so this concert is a rare opportunity to hear him, right here in Minnesota.