Boris McCutcheon Plays Homecoming Show in Woods Hole
By: Elise Hugus, August 2, 2012
PHOTO COURTESY RENATE BEENSE - Naushon Island native and current New Mexico resident Boris McCutcheon returns to play a hometown show at the Woods Hole Community Hall on Sunday, August 5.
New Mexico singer-songwriter Boris McCutcheon returns to his hometown turf on Sunday for an all-ages show at the Woods Hole Community Hall.
The former Woods Hole resident may be familiar to those who frequented the open mic series at the Captain Kidd or Pie in the Sky in the early 2000s. His Americana twang will also ring a bell for those who attended a concert at the Fishmonger or picked up one of his six studio albums at a local coffee shop.
If you go...
Boris McCutcheon with Steve Mayone & John SandsSunday, August 5, from 6:30 to 9:30 PM
Woods Hole Community Hall
68 Water Street, Woods Hole
No charge for street parking after 6 PM
Tickets are $15 and are available at the door after 6 PM
Winner of the 2004 Boston Music Award for best male vocalist, McCutcheon is featured in a chapter of music critic Steve Almond’s 2010 Random House book, Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life.
Having moved to a remote region of New Mexico in 2002 with his wife, Laura, McCutcheon returns to New England for a tour that includes time with his family on Naushon Island, a gig at the Tweed River Music Festival in Vermont and a private show in Plymouth.
In October, he'll head out on a tour of the Netherlands with his band, The Salt Licks, where they have gained a loyal following among Dutch rock-country fans.
But McCutcheon says he anticipates a warm reunion at his homecoming show, the first in two years.
“I just hope people didn’t forget me,” he said in an interview from Naushon Island earlier this week. “If you let more than a year go by, you start to fade.”
New England roots, Western twang
Whether you’re a die-hard fan or are hearing him perform for the first time, McCutcheon’s sound is a little more country than it was on Mother Ditch, his 2001 album recorded with a band of Cape Cod and Boston musicians.
“I’m definitely a little more country every year, less of a Yankee every year,” McCutcheon admits. “But I’m definitely a New Englander at my core—and a Westerner and a Southerner. It’s always been kind of a problem for my music taking off here: it always goes in different directions.”
That genre-defying sound has made it difficult for McCutcheon to market himself, but also attracts fans who appreciate his stubborn quest to make truly independent roots-rock music.
McCutcheon will be joined on the Community Hall stage by what he calls his “New England band,” featuring bassist Steve Mayone and John Sands, who is the drummer for Aimee Mann.
With themes that range from the wonder of the natural world to love and commitment, McCutcheon’s songwriting earned him regional awards from the Mountain Stage NewSong contest in 2008 and 2011.
“I like to play a good mix of upbeat, weird, psychedelic, surreal and romantic stuff. It runs the whole gamut of experiences,” he said.
But lately, he says, he incorporates role-play into his lyrics, suspending his vision of himself to step into another point of view.
Those roles include a bitter singer-songwriter complaining about the music industry in “This Town is Dead” or a father wondering about his social status while gazing out at his littered yard in “White Trash.”
Despite what McCutcheon says, the songs reflect at least a slice of his new reality, living in an off-the-grid house on what is known as the High Road to Taos, a scenic mountain pass between Santa Fe and Taos.
“My life is definitely not typical. I have a funky little place on a funky dirt road I complain about in my songs. I’ve been putting my roots down, getting involved in the community,” he said.
While “Acequia,” one of his classic songs on Mother Ditch, was an anthem for the ancient community-run water irrigation systems of the Southwest, McCutcheon now calls it “a song of innocence and ignorance.”
Life in New Mexico is based on a delicate balance of water rights, which McCutcheon addresses in a new song, “Holding Out.”
“It’s a slow, sad waltz about [people] leaving the valley because they don’t have water,” he said. “Water rights mean power to some people. If you don’t have water in the boonies, you have nothing. You don’t have the means to be self-sufficient.”
In addition to organizing the community for water rights, dabbling in filmmaking and planning tours of the Southwest and Northern Europe, McCutcheon is working on a seventh studio album he hopes will finally attract attention in the United States.
He has postponed the original release date in the hopes of getting Lucinda Williams or Gillian Welch to produce the last four songs.
“I’m running out of time,” McCutcheon said. “I feel like if I need something, I need to just ask.”