Why We Write with Kim Ruehl, Eps. 33: John McCutcheon

John McCutcheon has written so many songs—forty-three albums of them across his career, since he arrived on the scene in 1975. It all started when he watched the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom a decade earlier, which explains how he became oriented to writing songs for social change.

Indeed, this is a subject he teaches, in addition to writing all the songs. So, on this episode of the Why We Write podcast, McCutcheon talks about where the songs come from, how they come, and perhaps more importantly why. He names his heroes, like Jean Ritchie and Hazel Dickens and Bernice Johnson-Reagon, and ruminates on how he’s come to understand the importance of writing songs in a specific tradition.

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