Title - 'Cabin Fever: Songs from the Quarantine'
Artist - John McCutcheon
For those not in the know, John McCutcheon is an American folk music singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has produced 40 albums to date since the 1970s.
Indeed, he is regarded as a master of the hammered dulcimer, and is also proficient on many other instruments including guitar, banjo, autoharp, mountain dulcimer, fiddle, and jawharp.
This prolific folk instrumentalist and singer has now brought out a brand new, and completely unexpected album, Cabin Fever: Songs from the Quarantine (out now, and only available as a download directly from John's website (see below).
Sequestered in his cabin in the North Georgia mountains, McCutcheon had returned from an Australian tour in mid-March, and due to COVID-19 had gone straight into a self-imposed quarantine.
It was there that McCutcheon proceeded to write a song a day for three weeks, fueled by long conversations with friends and long walks where he reflected on the past, present, and future.
With his characteristic humor and his winning way as a storyteller, McCutcheon pays tribute to health care workers, offers an homage to John Prine, and ponders the ambiguities of human nature in this collection of moving songs.
1. 'Front Line'
2. 'The Night That John Prine Died'
3. 'Sheltered in Place'
4. 'In Bristol Bay'
6. 'One Hundred Years'
7. 'Six Feet Away'
8. 'That's All'
9. 'Hallelujah Morning'
11. 'My Dog Talking Blues'
12. 'When All of This Is Over'
13. 'The Donkey'
14. 'The Bean'
15. 'Monet Refuses The Operation'
17. 'Traveler's Rest'
18. 'The Night That John Prine Died' (Original Lyrics)
The well-traveled troubadour (here in a much stripped-down setting, not only providing the vocals, but acoustic/resophonic guitars and piano parts and more, I wouldn't wonder), kicks things off with 'Front Line,' an adamantly strummed tribute to the hourly stress that all health care and essential workers have found themselves for months now.
He then backs that up with the passionately heartfelt, somber storytelling of an ode to the beloved late singer/songwriter on 'The Night That John Prine Died' (with its opening chords riding on a phrase from 'These Days,' poignantly honoring Prine, whilst artfully revivifying him in the chorus also), and then the ornate 'Sheltered in Place.'
The mid-tempo guitar flow of a melodic look at blue-collar life in Alaska’s fisheries industry within 'In Bristol Bay' is up next and is followed by stern nod-and-a-wink reminiscing of 'Control,' the dulcet, gospel piano work of the hymn-like 'One Hundred Years,' and then both the Celtic-tinged ballad 'Six Feet Away' and the Simon & Garfunkel-esque 'That's All.'
The fervently upbeat 'Hallelujah Morning' is then backed by the lonesome underlay of 'Vespers,' with the perky fun of 'My Dog Talking Blues,' the free flowing folk of both 'When All of This Is Over' and 'The Donkey,' with the spoken word, Merle Travis-inspired ode to the simple, but oh-so plentiful bean.
The gilded folk embroidery of 'Monet Refuses The Operation' allows McCutcheon to shine to absolute perfection, and then comes a rather humorous narrative (told from the perspective of our long-suffering planet) within 'Earth,' and then the album closes on the opulent Americana of 'Traveler's Rest,' and an "original lyric" version (which runs at just 19 seconds and, buyer beware, features a naughty word!) of 'The Night That John Prine Died.'
With his keen eye for the great within the small, his captivating storytelling, and his ability to go for the funny bone and the heart at once, Cabin Fever: Songs from the Quarantine is truly vintage McCutcheon.
Official 'Cabin Fever: Songs from the Quarantine' Digital Download Purchase Link
John McCutcheon @ Facebook