John McCutcheon Croons of Infectious Disease

When folk singer John McCutcheon returned to the States from his Australian tour in March he was feeling particularly cruddy, so in light of the growing Chinese Virus scare he decided to isolate for three weeks in his north Georgia cabin up in the mountains with his wife and elderly mother-in-law. (Perhaps not best course of action for his ma-in-law considering the Wu-Tang Flu’s harshness toward the elderly, but hey, everyone’s gotta do what they gotta do.) He’d been working on his next album with full instrumentation, but being locked down in the boonies prompted him to concoct a whole different batch of tunes and record them solo on acoustic guitar and piano.

If the album title doesn’t offer enough of a clue, many of the song titles on Cabin Fever: Songs From the Quarantine make it clear what’s been on McCutcheon’s worried mind the past few months: “Front Line,” “Six Feet Away,” “Sheltered in Place,” “When All of This is Over,” “The Night That John Prine Died.” His brand of folksinging is exceedingly traditional in the English/Irish storytelling vein – careful, clean, gentile, polite, dull and exactly what you’d expect from a bald old man with a white goatee living in the woods. “I’ve sheltered in place for years,” he declares, and I believe it. If you’d care to hear him ruminate about infectious diseases and feeding the birds in his yard over the course of 18 songs, the digital-only Cabin Fever can be ordered via a pay-what-you-can link on his website.