EPISODE 274: ALL SMILES with BRIAN CUTLER
A grinning gem of a human, Brian and I recorded and performed together twenty five years ago. As I transitioned out of a difficult band departure, Brian swept me up and brought me into the recording studio to work on one of the most unique projects I had the privilege to track. His infection smile and warm camaraderie helped me discover new highs in the music biz, and we became fast friends. Read onward to know more about BC:
Brian Cutler began his professional music career at age 17 in San Jose, CA where he played in sandwich shops for tips with his $250 guitar. Attending college at California State University, Sacramento in the fall of 1974, Brian took up with some bluegrass musicians who put together a band and played five nights a week at Shakey’s pizza parlors in Sacramento.
Brian joined South Loomis Quickstep, an established high powered bluegrass band, in 1976 and immediately began touring and recording with them as their guitarist. South Loomis Quickstep played clubs, festivals, and opened for a long list of A-list bands and artists coming through Northern California. The band played primarily in California but toured throughout the western states, even venturing into Texas and playing for a festival in Amsterdam.
Brian relocated to the Pacific Northwest in 1986 where he started to emphasize playing the stand up bass. This complimented his guitar, mandolin, and keyboard work, and allowed him to perform in a variety of genres. In Portland, OR Brian backed up many notable singer/songwriters, all the while writing his own songs and looking for opportunities to perform them.
In 1999, Brian began sessions for his solo record, Wax Moons and Satin Roses, for Wrought Iron Records. The work was completed in 2000 and garnered acclaim from northwest media. Brian supported the record with club work and playing with some of the town’s best musicians.
In Seattle, Brian crafted Night Crossing, a record of songs he wrote for the voice of Samantha Thoe-Schechter. The production was purposefully sparse, employing only a solo guitar and their two voices. More critical acclaim followed from everyone who heard this anthology of songs. Community radio stations across the country with programming that accepts contemporary folk music enthusiastically played selections from the record.
Currently, Brian plays stand up bass in Fairground, an acoustic quartet that performs songs written by Brian and his musical partner, Oliver Rosenthal. Fairground will be featured at this year’s NW Folklife, Seattle’s premiere outdoor festival that takes place over Memorial Day Weekend.
Brian continues to write and produce music in his home studio as well as doing session work for other artists.
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