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January 16, 2008 > Folk legend performs for local church

Folk legend performs for local church

By Jennifer Falcon

For the past five years folk music legend John McCutcheon has played a yearly concert for St. James Episcopal Church donating all proceeds to the church. This year is no different and you can witness the world class folk singer firsthand. Motivated by his love for people and appreciation for unity and charity, giving back to the community is an integral part of the singer's character.

McCutcheon fell in love with music when he began playing the banjo in college and a legend was born. He walked away from school to pursue his new love ending up in the Appalachians soaking up all he could learn from the rich culture of southern traditional music.

He was a skilled storyteller captivating his audience. His apprenticeship under some of folk music greats like Guy Carawan paid off because he quickly mastered seven different instruments including the guitar, auto harp, banjo and the rare hammer dulcimer.

McCutcheon has been said to be the world's greatest hammer dulcimer player. To see him play this instrument is quite a treat. The mountain dulcimer or hammer dulcimer is a stringed instrument, its strings stretched over a trapezoid sound board which is played with a small hammer or mallet in each hand. It's claimed that the mountain dulcimer was first made 2000 years ago, originating in Iran.

His 30-plus albums, seven of which have been Grammy nominated are loved by many all over the world. His song 'Christmas in the Trenches,' which depicts the Christmas truce of 1914 in World War I has been said to be the greatest anti-war song to be written to this day. McCutcheon often uses the power of song writing and singing to voice his views on family, social surroundings as well as politics. In 2001, McCutcheon wrote, self-published and sang a widely popular parody of the song, Hail to the Chief, the official anthem of the president of the United States.

McCutcheon's Appalachian folk music has a style of its own. It relies on his heartfelt story telling and strong foundations of family, social activism, strength and traditional instruments rarely used in today's pop music. His music is a great way for the whole family to experience something from a different time, when families would sit together on the porch in the twilight, visiting and listening to a favorite uncle play his banjo.

Folk legend performs for local church
Monday, January 21
7:30 p.m.
St James Episcopal Church
37051 Cabrillo Terrace, Fremont
(510) 797-1492

Suggested donation:
Pre-Show: $20 Adult, $15 Child (12 and under)
At the Door (limited): $25 Adult, $20 Child (12 and under)
Children age 5 and under admitted free.

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