Sometimes it takes an outsider to see our city with new eyes.

That’s exactly what American singer-songwriter Colin Cutler has done on his great new song, City Of Stone.

He moved to York in February to study for a short course at York St John University, learning to teach English to speakers of other languages.

On his first night here, he ended up at the Golden Ball’s open mic. Since then he has made regular appearances around in the city.

A few days ago, YorkMix heard Colin perform City Of Stone at The Habit, just hours after he wrote it. Days later, he was caught on video back at The Golden Ball.

Colin says: “This here’s a love song to the city that took me in and gave me a home.” The lyrics are below.

Army National Guardsman

Colin, 29, was born in England to a US Air Force family. He grew up in the Midwest and Virginia.

A guitarist since childhood, he started writing songs just five years ago, styling his material in the Appalachian folk and Americana traditions.

He began performing and recording when he moved to Greensboro, North Carolina, in 2014, for a graduate degree in literature.


There he developed his banjo and harmonica playing, releasing his first album, Nelson County Wayside in 2016 following a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise 1,800 dollars to make the recording.

Months later, his Army National Guard unit was mobilised to Qatar via El Paso, Texas. He spent the next 18 months serving in Qatar and on a NATO mission in Romania before returning to his Blue Ridge home.

Catch him in town

Have banjo, will travel… Colin on his Instagram feed
Soon after arriving in York, he recorded an acoustic album, Now And In England, at the city’s Young Thugs Studios, releasing it in March.

Colin has quickly settled in to the music scene here, and is already organising, with Dan Webster, a benefit concert for Refugee Action York at the Fulford Arms on June 17.

Diners at Mr P’s Curious Tavern, Low Petergate can also catch Colin there on June 21.

Other gigs, and links to his music can be found on his website.

There’s more good news for the city’s music lovers; Colin just heard that he has been accepted on to YSJ’s MA course in Creative Writing, so we’ll have at least another year to catch him playing here.

He’s no longer an outsider in this City Of Stone.

City of Stone – lyrics

My train came in the night;
It was foggy and still;
I found light in a pub
Up on old Bishopshill.

Now I’ve walked all your walls
In the sun and the snow,
Known your dark alleyways
Where the desperate ones go.

CHORUS

Now the gates are all gone
From this city of stone,
But your river has flooded
My blood and my bones.

And I knew a woman
Eyes brighter than stars,
She woke me up from a dream
When we kissed by the bar.

I played my guitar
Down in St Sampson’s Square,
And I heard the confession
Of an old man there.

CHORUS

Now your gates are all gone
From that city of stone,
But that river has flooded
My blood and my bones.

You can wend where you will,
Come and go as you please
By the daffodil’s bloom
Or the fall of the leaves.

The gargoyles keep watch
From the Minster’s spires;
Bells baptise the city,
Though its faith has expired.

CHORUS

And those gates are all gone
From that city of stone,
But your river has flooded
My blood and my bones.

Now those gates are all gone
From that city of stone,
But your river has flooded
My blood and my bones.

Gates are all gone
From that city of stone,
That river has flooded
My blood and my bones.
Words and music, Colin Cutler 2018