Sermon on the Mound, the title of the latest album from folk balladeer John McCutcheon, is more than wordplay; it is, in fact, a hint of the wisdom, humor, sentiment and spirit embedded within this music and the game it celebrates.
Baseball is, after all, a game – but not “just” a game. In songs that convey the lessons offered by our national pastime, the artist extolled by critics as “a brilliantly gifted instrumentalist and singer” and “the perfect example of a modern folk musician” offers baseball as a reminder of the things that can bring us together even in divisive times.
No matter where your politics and lifestyle lean, the pictures that take shape throughout Sermon on the Mound will touch something familiar among all who have grown up in America. Their images recall forgotten innocence (Baseball on the Block), provide a framework for the wisdom of one generation handed down to the next (Sermon on the Mound), bring the humor (Talking Yogi Talk), heroism (Cross That Line), and shortcomings (John Rocker) of its icons into our own everyday experiences, and then capture it all in snapshots (Catch) that might have been taken yesterday or a hundred years ago.
Yet part of McCutcheon remains behind the plate, a kid with a catcher’s mitt and a sense that something magical can transpire on the diamond. And happen it does, in abundance, on Sermon on the Mound. Besides the generous 16 songs, the CD provides enhanced extras: 3 videos, vintage photos, memoribilia, baseball cards, and a wonderful short story, Dad, Del & Me.
Available now on the Appalsongs label, Sermon on the Mound brings us to our feet with Take Me Out to the Ballgame, takes us into the lives of those who’ve been drawn to the game far from where we live (Te Recuerdo), tells stories of people we’ve never known yet who share our values as well as our passion for the sport (Doing My Job), remembers dreams that many of us might have forgotten (Hope I Can Make It), rounds the bases of life, and leaves us, in the end, safe at home.