Wednesday, April 3, 2002
Master guitarist and songwriter John McCutcheon will bring his tradition-steeped sound to Hood River Middle School auditorium on April 20 for a 7 p.m. show.
McCutcheon wasn't supposed to become a folksinger. He was headed for a lucrative career as a social worker in migrant labor camps. But Woody Guthrie got there first. He heard the songs of the Dust Bowl refugees, the Grapes of Wrath stories that crackled on the airwaves of early 1960s radio and knew something else was going on. While still a college student, the oldest of a large Irish Catholic family, John took up the banjo "to help keep myself sane" and went off the deep end. He heard recordings of Roscoe Holcomb and Clarence Ashley, walked out to the end of the college road, stuck out his thumb and never looked back.
He ended up roaming the Appalachians, trading a university classroom for the front porches, picket line, union halls, churches, and square dance barns of his adopted home. Under the tutelage of some of the greats of traditional Southern music, he quickly mastered seven different instruments, became an insightful and powerful singer of traditional songs, and honed an ear for a good story. Songwriting, storytelling, social activism all met and finally made sense.
From this series of chance beginnings John McCutcheon has become what one Australian paper called "the most overwhelming folk performer in the English language." His mastery of American folk music and instrument complemented by "storytelling that has the richness of fine literature" (Washington Post) weave intimate, insightful and often hilarious canvasses on which McCutcheon draws his vision of Americana.
His songwriting, rich in detail and broad in scope, have created a catalog hundreds of songs covered by performers throughout the world. McCutcheon is also known for his mastery of the rare and beautiful hammer dulcimer.
Tickets are available at Waucoma Books for $12 for adults, $5 for children 12 and under; children under 5 get in free. Tickets will be $15 at the door. The show is presented by the Gorge Arts and Culture Council.
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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"
Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge