On a Friday afternoon this past January, guitarist/folksinger/storyteller/multi-instrumentalist/author/Renaissance man John McCutcheon dropped by the AG studios to pass some time before a show that evening at Berkeley’s famed Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse. The Freight date was the first stop on what he estimates to be his “thirty-something-th annual Left Coast Tour,” in support of his latest—and 40th overall—release, Everyone in All the World: A Celebration of Pete Seeger.
The album is, of course, a tribute to the late iconic folksinger Pete Seeger, who McCutcheon gravitated toward after being awed by the persuasive power of the music of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, and Peter, Paul & Mary while watching the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on television with his mother at the age of 11. As is the case with any good celebration, the record is a group effort, and McCutcheon is joined by a host of artists, including Hot Rize, Suzy Bogguss, Beausoleil, Corey Harris, Katia Cardenal, Tim O’Brien, and the Steel Wheels, in honoring Seeger’s lasting musical influence.
Stay tuned for an extended Guitar Talk with McCutcheon in an upcoming issue of AG, but in the meantime, on what would be Seeger’s 100th birthday, enjoy this footage of McCutcheon describing his prized Pete Seeger 12-string (a sister instrument to Seeger’s original 12-string), and performing one of his favorite Pete songs: Malvina Edwards’ “God Bless the Grass.”
Thanks, John, and happy 100th birthday, Pete!
Happy Birthday, Pete Seeger! Watch Him Perform ‘If I Had a Hammer’ in 1956, Read an In-Depth Q&A from the Archives
For more on John McCutcheon, including tour dates, visit folkmusic.com. –Kevin Owens