RADIO PROMOTION BY: Art Menius Radio
RADIO ADD DATE October 31, 2023
Colin Cutler: Tarwater: An Album Inspired by the Short Stories of Flannery O'Connor
You can’t discuss Colin Cutler’s new album Tarwater without southern literary giant, Flannery O’Connor. Cutler first encountered Flannery writing in college and did a self-study on her work just after graduating, including visiting the museum at her Milledgeville, GA, home while on a weekend off from Infantry School at Ft. Benning. Cutler also spent a month in Milledgeville, GA during summer 2023 at a National Endowment of the Humanities Institute on O’Connor. The Institute was a time of intensive study and conversation on her life and works and an opportunity for Cutler to contextualize his work in the creative and literary fields as he drew inspiration both from O’Connor’s characters and themes and from his own life to craft original songs exploring themes of home, self-exile, violence, and religion.
“After reading that Bruce Springsteen wrote his Nebraska album after binge-reading O’Connor,” Cutler says, “I thought of taking a more direct approach: writing songs from the perspective of her characters as they wrestled through the same questions of a ‘Christ-haunted South’ that I was encountering as I reckoned with my Pentecostal and military upbringing. While I have those characters in mind and readers of O’Connor may appreciate how they interact with the stories, the songs are written to stand on their own.
“I recorded and released four of those songs in 2018 on the Peacock Feathers EP – “Mama Don’t Know Where Heaven Is” was played on BBC Introducing while I was living in England. Tarwater is an extension of that project–as those first four songs have matured musically, we re-recorded them, and I’ve written new ones in the same vein.”
Tarwater was recorded with Benjy Johnson at Greensboro, NC’s Earthtones Recording Studio, and includes contributions from regional artists Rebekah Todd, Dashawn Hickman, David Childers, Aaron Pants, and Momma Molasses as well as Greensboro’s Christen Blanton Mack (Zinc Kings), Bob Worrells (High Strung Bluegrass, Viva La Muerte, Greensbrothers), Emmanuel Rankin, Evan Campfield (Farewell Friend, Shadowgrass), and Laura Jane Vincent. His band is Colin Cutler and Hot Pepper Jam, which includes Worrells, Rankin, and Lu Furtado.
A Greensboro, North-Carolina-based songwriter toting a guitar and banjo, Colin Cutler won the 2022 Emerging Artists competition at the Susquehanna Folk Festival. During 2023, he and his band performed at Merlefest, Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival, the Carolina Bible Camp Bluegrass Festival, and WDVX’s Blue Plate Special.