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Pics of the Week: John McCutcheon!

A man playing the banjo.

John McCutcheon plays banjo in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress, for the American Folklife Center’s Homegrown Concert Series. September 12, 2018. Photo by Stephen Winick

This week, we had a very special guest at AFC: folksinger, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist John McCutcheon.  John brought us a masterful performance of traditional music, much of it gleaned from fieldwork he donated years ago to the AFC archive. He also graciously sat for an oral history interview. Both were recorded and will become webcasts, and when they do we’ll write a blog post embedding the interview and the concert in one post, so you’ll get to watch them soon!

But until then, I thought I’d whet your appetites with some “pics of the week.”  John is an incredibly versatile performer, who plays a vast range of instruments, and he played 10 of them at the concert on Wednesday night (if you include body percussion).  This was a challenge for me as a photographer!  I’ve selected what I think is my best shot of each instrument, plus a few extras, for this post.

A man playing an autoharp.

John McCutcheon plays autoharp and sings in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress, for the American Folklife Center’s Homegrown Concert Series. September 12, 2018. Photo by Stephen Winick.

A man playing a hammered dulcimer.

John McCutcheon plays hammered dulcimer in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress, for the American Folklife Center’s Homegrown Concert Series. September 12, 2018. Photo by Stephen Winick.

A man talking at a microphone.

John McCutcheon gets the audience singing in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress, for the American Folklife Center’s Homegrown Concert Series. September 12, 2018. Photo by Stephen Winick.

A man playing a guitar.

John McCutcheon plays 12-string guitar and sings in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress, for the American Folklife Center’s Homegrown Concert Series. September 12, 2018. Photo by Stephen Winick.

A man slapping his cheeks with his mouth open to make a sound.

John McCutcheon plays his own face as a percussion instrument in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress, for the American Folklife Center’s Homegrown Concert Series. September 12, 2018. Photo by Stephen Winick.

A man playing a hammered dulcimer.

Another angle on John McCutcheon’s hammered dulcimer playing in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress, for the American Folklife Center’s Homegrown Concert Series. September 12, 2018. Photo by Stephen Winick.

A man playing a guitar.

John McCutcheon plays 6-string guitar in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress, for the American Folklife Center’s Homegrown Concert Series. September 12, 2018. Photo by Stephen Winick.

A man playing a violin.

John McCutcheon plays fiddle in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress, for the American Folklife Center’s Homegrown Concert Series. September 12, 2018. Photo by Stephen Winick.

A man playing a mouth harp.

John McCutcheon plays jaw harp in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress, for the American Folklife Center’s Homegrown Concert Series. September 12, 2018. Photo by Stephen Winick.

A man playing a piano.

John McCutcheon plays piano and sings in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress, for the American Folklife Center’s Homegrown Concert Series. September 12, 2018. Photo by Stephen Winick.

A man slapping his thighs and chest for percussion.

John McCutcheon gets his hambone rhythm going in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress, for the American Folklife Center’s Homegrown Concert Series. September 12, 2018. Photo by Stephen Winick.

A man playing a singing bowl and singing.

John McCutcheon sings with a singing bowl for his encore in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress, for the American Folklife Center’s Homegrown Concert Series. September 12, 2018. Photo by Stephen Winick.

We’ll wrap up with two shots by my colleague Shawn Miller, of the Library’s Office of Communications, showing John with AFC staff members:

A man and a woman posing as he takes a self portrait.

John McCutcheon grabs a selfie with Thea Austen of the American Folklife Center, while Laura Turner, director of the oral history crew, looks on. September 12, 2018. Photo by Shawn Miller.

Two men talking.

John McCutcheon records an oral history with Stephen Winick of the American Folklife Center, September 12, 2018. Photo by Shawn Miller.

I hope you enjoyed this selection of photos of John McCutcheon. As I said, soon we’ll post the oral history and the concert here so can enjoy those even more. Stay tuned!

3 Comments

  1. Lidia Rajeff
    September 14, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    Thank you Steve for sharing these photos. Looking forward to watching the recorded concert and oral history.

  2. Mike Rivers
    September 17, 2018 at 7:26 am

    Nice photos. Did you get any shots of his electronics? He’s all plugged in now, not like when we were hanging out out 40 years ago when we didn’t even have electronic tuners. “Nobody ever said folk music was simple” – Me 😉

    I really enjoyed the retrospective theme of the show, and I’m looking forward to hearing the interview.

  3. Stephen Winick
    September 18, 2018 at 10:30 am

    Hi Mike,

    I didn’t photograph any of the electronics, sorry!

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