Chuck McCabe

Chuck McCabe

 Campbell, California, USA

Veteran performer Chuck McCabe has played everywhere from Disneyland to Cape Cod, and every gin mill, coffee house, tourist trap and Holiday Inn between. He won the Woody Guthrie songwriting competition, audience favorite at the Boston Folk Festival - and dated the Smother's Brother's sister.


“I seem to be writing about a lot of stuff that happened to me when I was a kid... I guess it took me this long to figure it all out!”

The songs and stories of Chuck McCabe are testimony to a life that began on the road. Born into a Navy family, McCabe’s wanderings began early and continued through years of playing summers on Cape Cod, winters in Vail and every gin mill and Holiday Inn lounge in between. As a 5-string banjo player he was part of Disneyland’s Golden Horseshoe Review. As a guitarist he’s played rock, blues, and bluegrass from the trendy bars on the Sunset Strip to USO shows in the wilds of Southeast Asia.

All the while, McCabe gathered fodder for what has become a significant and important body of work. Since his song of the plight of the working class, Minimum Wager, won the Woody Guthrie Songwriting Competition in 2002 McCabe has joined the ranks of the master story tellers in the tradition of the great folk troubadours. His songwriting also has been honored by the Boston Folk Festival, Sisters (Oregon) Folk Festival, Napa Music and Wine Festival, Founders’ Bluegrass Festival, Sierra Songwriters festival, Wildflower! (Dallas) and the Tucson Folk Festival.

McCabe has recorded for Capital Records, ABC and GRT in both Nashville and Los Angeles, where he was a staff writer for ABC. Through his career, McCabe has made choices that have allowed him to express himself in a unique and non-commercial form that has – despite some narrow misses – steered him clear of both fame and fortune. McCabe now lives, writes, performs and teaches in the San Jose, California area. He is a songwriting clinician and frequent guest songwriting judge for the West Coast Songwriters and the Sisters Folk Festival. In addition to touring and teaching, last year he performed more than 100 shows for the non-profit Young at Heart Project that provides a musical respite for seniors in care facilities.

His delivery demonstrates an understated elegance that is a rare find among performers – especially those who cross the lines between wit and wisdom.