Better late than never: Eric Hutchinson's "Moving Up, Living Down" merits attention.
O.K., call me a slowpoke if you will but there's really no better reason to explain this delayed but glowing review of singer-songwriter Eric Hutchinson's last release, "Moving Up Living Large." Still, any music reviewer worth his or her salt would be remiss not to pass along accolades for such a fine, super-fun collection of songs.
A native of Washington D.C., Hutchinson grew up in Maryland, relocated for a while to Los Angeles, and now resides in New York City. The songs he writes can best be described as appealing, upbeat pop tracks occasionally infused with touches of funk and reggae. For example, "Moving Up Living Down" opens with "Talk is Cheap," a sceptic's take on people who take action vs. those who are all hot air - delivered with a touch of Reggae and a friendly amiability that's hard to resist. "Some people don't know how they really feel / Some people won't talk about what is real / And I could never chitchat all day long," sings Hutchinson on the chorus, adding "I'll go by what you do / Cause talk is cheap." Well said, right?
High-spirited toe-tapping tracks like "Best Days" and "The Basement" follow, but even when Hutchinson sings a more mournful tune like "Watching You Watching Him," he makes it sound more like fun than like heartache.
Gotta love good liner notes Liner notes on "Moving Up" are interesting, too, providing an inside look at the inspiration and circumstances that went into recording it.
"Through an unfathomable string of events," writes Hutchinson, "my album ('Sounds Like This') was picked up by Warner Brothers." Hutchinson took to the road playing "every single city possible, big and small," and when the tour was over, ventured home to his new New York City apartment. There, he waited for inspiration to strike.
"One day," he writes, "the songs began to flow." Drawing inspiration from the tour and the people he'd met, Hutchinson says he wrote at least 100 songs, ultimately paring them down to the 10 tracks found here.
Sounds a bit like Stevie Wonder, Elvis Costello and The Beatles are cited as among Hutchinson's influences on Wikipedia, and certainly it's easy to hear similarities to Wonder's voice and style in tracks like "Not There Yet" and "I'm Not Cool."
But the Pièce de résistance here is "Living in the Afterlife." Just give it a listen and see if you can resist dancing to its sassy Stevie Wonder vibe. It's got such great percussion and sound effects and is so much fun to listen to, it's a crying shame it hasn't been getting much airplay.
Hutchinson's toured with Kelly Clarkson, Jason Mraz and One Republic, and "Watching You Watch Him" debuted on the season premiere of Grey's Anatomy last year. He performed in the Bing Lounge last year, and he'll be performing with Melissa Etheridge in Massachusetts in June. You can find him on Facebook here.