“It’s far more than just a gig,” says folk artist John McCutcheon of his annual Sebastiani Theatre show, on January 14. “There are many places I frequent as often as Sonoma, but none I love better.”
The Virginia-born troubadour conveys a social consciousness in the great folk tradition through wry, poignant and humorous stories put to music while playing every instrument in the genre’s arsenal, including guitar, banjo, dulcimer, fiddle and Jew’s harp.
In an era of Wall Street vs. Main Street, the protest element of folk music seems as relevant as ever. McCutcheon said he has leaned much from folk icon Woody Guthrie, a champion of the oppressed and disenfranchised.
“I accidentally had Woody as a guitar teacher: picked up a songbook of his in the local library, thought it was a guitar instruction book,” McCutcheon recalls. “The first 50 songs or so I learned were Guthrie songs. He not only taught me guitar chords, he taught me about writing. And his cardinal rules were two: pay attention and tell the truth.”
“That’s what I try to do, as honestly and as skillfully as possible,” he says. “And if I can make folks laugh and think at the same time, well, that’s golden.”
7:30 p.m. $25. 476 First St. E. 996.9756. Sebastianitheatre.com.