Music News & Reviews

Friends organize benefit for injured Sacramento musician

A benefit show will raise funds to help defray medical expenses of John Malcolm Cuthbertson.
A benefit show will raise funds to help defray medical expenses of John Malcolm Cuthbertson.

It’s been a couple months now since a car clipped music man John Malcolm Cuthbertson and knocked him out of action at his regular performance stops on the downtown/midtown grid. Cuthbertson broke a thumb, lacerated a leg and needed to have his neck fused – all of which have added up to medical bills far beyond his financial imagination. Then as he recovered in a nursing home, he learned that he’s being evicted from his apartment.

So his friends have pulled together a benefit for the musician who has benefited so many of them and who has entertained Sacramento music fans for more than 40 years, in popular bands of the past such as Pariah and in solo performances.

Cuthbertson, 68, has written thousands of songs, including the more than 100 that fill “Letters 2 Aquamaine,” his self-published book. “Why do I do it?” Cuthbertson writes about his songwriting. “I am no Rodgers, Hart, Gershwin or Johnny Mercer. ... But I keep trying because, as the late, great Harry Chapin said: ‘Music was his life, it was not his livelihood. And it made him feel so happy – it made him feel so good.’ And it does that for me, too!”

The benefit will feature the up-and-coming group Swahili Passion and showcase Open Mic heroes and heroines such as Sandra Dolores, G.p. Bailey, Dennis James and “Ukulele Rob” Sawyer, and others whose sets have been assisted by Cuthbertson’s guitar, harmonica and background vocals. Expect to hear a tune or two from him, too.

Torch Club, 904 15th St., Sacramento; 3 p.m. Sunday, admission with free-will donation.

Andy Furillo

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