From our sponsors:
Eric Hutchinson – The Anyone Who Knows Me Tour
October 6, 2016
Doors 7 p.m., Show 8 p.m. | $20 ADV, $23 Doors | All Ages
More info: revolutionhallpdx.com
1300 SE Stark Street, Portland, OR
If there is an overriding theme to Eric Hutchinson’s career, it is his relentless pursuit of the kind of feel-good music that will make his fans dance and sing while still managing to ponder the beauty and humor that comes from fully experiencing life. This journey had come to a crossroads this past year, as the 35 year-old singer/songwriter/ performer changed management, stripped down his sound and embraced the mantle of producer, all the while spending months working on his fourth studio album, Eric Hutchinson is Pretty Good.
A collection of penetratingly honest songs, Pretty Good is a musical snapshot of perseverance and musical maturity brimming with superb melodies and contagious rhythms. It is also a reckoning with the inevitability of Hutchinson’s own evolution as an artist and a man.
“I see this new album as an embrace of change,” says Hutchinson. “I guess you can say I grew up a traditionalist – worrying about things changing and wanting to keep things them the same. But once I realized that things change no matter what, there’s comfort in that; embracing immediately that it takes me a little while to get used to things… and then I usually like them.”
Change for Hutchinson also meant letting go of the reigns in the writing and recording process, which is especially prevalent on the album’s first single, “Anyone Who Knows Me”, a wonderfully crafted and stirringly melodic ballad of trying to find love within and without.
“I was stuck writing the song, so I just put it away and when I came back to it, it was like somebody else had sent it to me to work on, and I thought, ‘Okay, cool; I’ll build on top of whatever this guy was doing.’ It felt like co-writing with myself, which was fun.”
Another challenge for Hutchinson on Pretty Good was his role as sole producer, as he had to make all of the final decisions. “In the early days I always felt like I had to do everything myself,” he says. “This time I said, ‘I’m producing this, so why not let Elliott (longtime touring bandleader, Elliott Blaufuss) play the piano, because he plays it a little better than I might. It was nice to have that confidence that it’s still my music, whoever plays it. That was a big change for me.”
Someone wise–and probably now dead–once said that part of being creative was merely “making yourself available” to the muse (whatever mysterious thing that is). For me, that means going for a walk. I walk a lot. While walking, I tend to get hit with ideas which I’ll sing into my phone recorder so I won’t forget them. This is how I conceive, write, and edit a lot of my songs.
Originally the idea for “Spirit School” came about while on one of my walks in my then-neighborhood of Hollywood. I think I was dragging my feet a little that day–I was blue for some reason. On the walk I came upon a school I’d never seen before. The sun was shining in such a way that the name of the school was obscured, but as I approached it, I read the sign and couldn’t believe my eyes: THE SPIRIT SCHOOL. I wondered if this was some actors’ conservatory or weird New Age Hollywood ashram, but as I quickened my pace to get a better look at it, I noticed I had misread the sign completely. It was some elementary school with a different name altogether. I sort of chuckled a bit at my mistake and started to come out of the doldrums.