North Carolina-based singer-songwriter and Army veteran Colin Cutler might very well be the second coming of fellow Carolina musician/historian Dom Flemons. Armed with a banjo, guitar, and harmonicas, Colin’s music draws inspiration from various genres, including early country, blues, old-time, gospel, and rock and roll. It might be safe to say that if Bob Dylan would listen to new music, he might even mark a spot on his playlist for Cutler who evokes a Time Out of Mind/Love and Theft era of folksy and bluesy aesthetics.
His upcoming album, Tarwater, set to be released on October 31st on Bandcamp and via streaming on November 3rd, is a unique marriage of Culter’s literary and musical interests. In a pilgrimage across the Americana genre, from his folk roots in banjo-based old-time to the gospel music of his Pentecostal upbringing, to honky-tonk country and blues-based roots rock, the lyrics explore the literary works of Flannery O’Connor, the Georgia Catholic writer whom Kurt Vonnegut hailed as “the greatest American short story writer of [his] generation.” Colin has transformed these stories into a captivating musical tapestry weaving together sound that captures the essence of life’s highs and lows.
Cutler first encountered the works of O’Connor during his college years. Initially uncertain about his feelings toward her writing, he recognized the depth of her storytelling, which placed characters in challenging circumstances to explore their true essence, shot through with sparks of the divine. This connection inspired him to record the Peacock Feathers EP (2018), featuring four songs based on characters from O’Connor’s short stories. The EP not only sparked engaging discussions at conferences but also granted Cutler the privilege of performing at O’Connor’s former home, now a museum, in Milledgeville. The project even caught the attention of BBC Introducing, earning him international recognition.