Darke County Center for the Arts’ casual, comfortable Coffeehouse Series will host affable “Guitarman” Jim McCutcheon performing at Union City’s inviting Arts Depot on Thursday, Jan. 9.
If you have somehow missed seeing and hearing Jim during his decades-long career, you should take advantage of this post-holiday opportunity to experience the comfort and joy of this talented and dedicated musician. If you have attended one of his performances, you undoubtedly already know that this is a not-to-be-missed warm-hearted show that will leave you feeling relaxed and renewed.
Jim McCutcheon has been one of my favorite Dayton-area artists ever since I first experienced his extraordinary skills many, many years ago. My husband and I were celebrating our wedding anniversary with dinner at The Peasant Stock, a lovely restaurant that once graced Town & Country Shopping Center in Kettering. When we were taken to our table, I was a little disconcerted to see that we had been seated right in front of some equipment which indicated that someone was going to be performing music almost in our faces; however, my concern was immediately alleviated when Jim McCutcheon started to gently play his guitar —and turned to delight as he performed songs by Simon and Garfunkel, George Gershwin, as well as Beatles music, classical tunes, and more.
Although we applauded politely after each number, the rest of the diners were paying no mind to the amazing music being made. At the end of his first set, we told Jim that we were greatly enjoying his talents, and I asked if it bothered him that no one else seemed to be listening. He replied that he was pleased to see our response to his efforts, but that it simply gives him pleasure to make music with his guitar. A brief conversation ensued in which the then young man told us that he had just graduated from the University of Dayton with a degree in physics, but had decided to try to make his living as a musician in the Dayton community.
As we left the restaurant, I confided to my husband that I did not see how Jim McCutcheon’s dream of a musical career in the Miami Valley could ever come true, and how sad it was that such prodigious talent could not lead to financial stability and success.
Obviously, I was wrong. Jim McCutcheon kept very busy with a wide variety of projects, continuing to perform at The Peasant Stock and other restaurants for many years, as well as at large and small venues around the community. He has made six recordings, and is working on a seventh. He established a music store/teaching facility in Kettering, McCutcheon Music, where he and more than 50 professional music teachers help hundreds of students master a variety of instruments; the versatile, always working musician has written several method books for guitar instruction and articles for guitar journals as well as numerous compositions, and has produced a weekly classical guitar program on Dayton Public Radio for over 30 years.
The constantly-learning guitarist earned a master’s degree in music education, and then joined the faculty at Wright State, where he has been honored with Distinguished Alumni Awards for his achievements as a musician, music teacher, and arts advocate. Jim became artist-in-residence at the University of Dayton, and is also an adjunct faculty member at Miami University. He was winner of the 2017 Ohio Governor’s Award for the Arts in Arts Education, and recently won first place in the 2019 Ohio Federation of Music Clubs Adult Composer Contest. In spite of my prediction, Jim McCutcheon has undoubtedly achieved success as a musician in the Dayton area, making a living doing what he was born to do.
Jim’s show at The Arts Depot which begins at 7 p.m. will undoubtedly include music you love, and you will leave feeling better than when you arrived. Tickets are just $10; to get yours, contact DCCA at 937-547-0908 or online at www.darkecountyarts.org