John McCutcheon & Tom Paxton – “Together”

Album Reviews | Oct 17th, 2023

John McCutcheon & Tom Paxton - “Together”
Image used with permission for review purposes

Record Label: Appalsongs Records
Genre: Singer/Songwriter, folk
Buy Here

Two titans of modern folk get “together” on this new album for Appalsongs Records. The duo starts off strong on “Ukrainian Now,” with McCutcheon and Paxton trading off vocal duties as they inhabit the voices of the brave people in Eastern Europe fighting for their very existence. On a less heavy follow-up, “This Campfire” features Paxton entreating listeners to share their stories over coffee and marshmallows; after all, “it takes more than a fire to keep a body warm,” as he sings. “Do the Work” is a bluesy, fun track about, well, putting your best effort forth. “Invisible Man” is vintage McCutcheon, with a poignant story paired with haunting piano and fiddle as he volleys vocals with Paxton.

The fellas take a rather big step back into the ragtime sound with “Same Old Crap,” which will definitely put a smile on your face as they croon about singing the “new crap tonight” instead. “In America” tells the story of the immigrants who have come before us and those still arriving to these promising shores. “Letters From Joe” is a haunting acapella song from Paxton channeling the letters home from a soldier who never made it back—simple but so effective. And for anyone who ever wondered what Jesus said about being gay, McCutcheon has the cheeky answer on “Everything”—with musical ellipses standing in for those nonexistent Scripture passages. Speaking of Scripture, McCutcheon knocks it over the fences once again with “Christmas in the Desert,” which starts out as one story before transitioning into an allegory. Paxton takes over for “Prairie Star,” which bemoans how empty of natural wonder are our skies thanks to urban light pollution. Album-closer “Together” is a fabulous love song about appreciating the times that came before, embracing the present, as well as looking forward to more to come—all in the name of love.

It’s fitting these two stellar songsmiths entitled the album “Together,” as Paxton and McCutcheon’s love for not only the musical form but their respect for one another’s talents is on ample display throughout this touching album.

Notable Tracks: Ukrainian Now, Same Old Crap, Letters From Joe, Christmas in the Desert, In America, Together
Overall Rating:


, , , , , ,