John McCutcheon – “Leap!”

Album Reviews | Aug 29th, 2022

John McCutcheon - "Leap!"
Image used with permission for review purposes.

Record Label: Appleseed Productions
Genre: Folk
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America’s most prolific singer-songwriter is back…again. The Georgia resident continues to push out roughly an album a year (seriously, how does he do it?!), and thus for 2022 we are treated to Leap! It starts off in high style with “The Ride,” a push to, well, take that leap in life.

McCutcheon then takes a detour into serious territory on “The Troubles,” about those horrendous times in Ireland, but it’s also a broader condemnation of hatred. Give a special attention to “Shadowland,” with a searing story of love and loss told in minor key. Oh, and have tissues handy for “The Song When You Are Dead.” “Seconhand” is likewise another bittersweet tone poem about the lessons passed down from those who are no longer with us—and also a reminder to provide the right lessons for those who shall come after us.

The middle of the album can feel a bit same-y at times, but the singer-songwriter has more surprises in store thanks to “Nobody Knows” and a really groovy harpsichord arrangement on “The First Ones.” “Listen” makes use of country and bluegrass sounds in its admonition to pay attention. Keep your ears out for the ethereal “You Used to Be,” and album-capper “Kora on the Subway” finds love in one of New York’s most unlikeliest places; it’ll have you feeling relaxed as the record reaches its end.

“Leap!” might not be as wall-to-wall solid as McCutcheon’s recent Bucket List and Cabin Fever: Songs From the Quarantine, but that’s three albums in the last three years alone—bringing his grand total to—wait for it—43 career records!

Notable Tracks: The Troubles, Shadowland, Secondhand, Nobody Knows, Listen, Kora on the Subway
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