Regardless of the inspiration, each track shines with McCutcheon's ability to make words and notes intertwine. Although he is most celebrated for his children's albums, he addresses some heavy themes on the long, spoken "It's the Economy, Stupid." Fueled by a freewheeling trumpet, his voice resonates with lyrical rhythm as he laments the loss of jobs and local businesses.
Elsewhere, McCutcheon addresses politics with more conventional music. The moving "Our Flag Was Still There," inspired by an essay by novelist Barbara Kingsolver, comments on the misappropriation of the American flag with a passionate melody and pacifist lyrics ("I see it passing on cars/I see it passing for war"). But he doesn't dwell on heavy politics too long: The sensual "Para Mi Corazon Basta Tu Pecho" (written by Pablo Neruda) shows the captivating breadth of McCutcheon's diverse cast of collaborators. -- Catherine P. Lewis