I honestly can not believe the I’ve never written about Boris McCutcheon. Seriously. I could swear I remember writing about about his concept album, Cactusman Versus the Blue Demon, but as I search the archives, WordPress is telling me I didn’t. I dunno, maybe it got lost back in the early 9B days when we had troubles staying on a host. Regardless, I am writing about him and his new album, Wheel Of Life, tonight.
Boris McCutcheon comes to us from the Sangre de Cristo foothills of New Mexico, making music that is as elegant as it is simple and McCutcheon’s voice feels familiar and comfortable, while not sounding like anyone in particular. Musically, Wheel of Life, is about as straightforward and salt of the earth country as you’re gonna get, but much like his singing, it does it without feeling like it’s rehashed and something you’ve heard before. Some of the authenticity to the music could come from the fact that Boris ain’t a rock star. His life revolves around trying to scrape together a living in rural New Mexico, not just booking studio time for his next album. Matter of fact, Wheel of Life’s birth can be attributed to some downtime Boris had from being confined to bed following knee surgery, during which he found time to write a few songs.
One of my favorite things about Boris’ music over the years is that, much like Chris Knight, most all of Boris’ songs are written from personal experience. Take “Gila” for example, which was written about someone Boris met one night at a show, but I’ll let Boris explain it, “The Gila is a vast wilderness. The first and one of the last of its kind. Wolves still run wild there. It is believed that Geronimo was born in a hot spring there. I had a few shows in Piños Altos NM near the Gila one night. It had been raining for three days straight which is very unusual for NM. My third night in a row playing at the Buckhorn Tavern I met a young cowboy named Duncan. He was pretty drunk and the girls were toying with him. He made a bad decision to drive back to his ranch late that evening and drowned in the Gila River. I was the last person to talk with him or see him alive.”
Look, I’ve loved Boris’ music for years and I am pretty confident I’ve written about him, despite what my own site tells me, and I am quite happy to be writing about Wheel of Life today. The album, like the rest of the McCutcheon discography, is Essential Listening.