Eric Hutchinson pleases with twangy tunes

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September 7, 2010

1:36 AM

The amphitheater was bathed in the golden sunset of late summer, filled with members of the Tribe lying on the steps of the grassy knoll perched above Lake Matoaka. Last Friday, Eric Hutchinson entered this scene to perform several songs from his album “Sounds Like This,” along with some new material. Although Hutchinson was relatively unknown at the College of William and Mary, a large crowd attended the concert. Hutchinson has performed on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, as well as on other talk shows, and was featured as one of VH1’s “You Oughta Know” artists.

The sleepy acoustics of the opening act, Shane Gamble, lulled many of the spectators into a drowsy state, but the lively energy of Hutchinson’s music quickly awoke the audience. Hutchinson’s voice, with a velvety tone that straddled the border between rhythm and blues and pop, made the lyrics catchy and inviting to sing along to. The merry songs echoed in the students’ voices from the threshold of the stage to the far end of the amphitheater as Hutchinson led them in verses and choruses.

Hutchinson’s ability to interact with the crowd had everyone dancing, singing and clapping with their peers. Even stoic observers were head nodding, foot tapping and finger snapping. When Hutchinson played his best-known song, “Rock and Roll,” at the end of the concert, the crowd was unashamedly engaged in appropriate, about cliché love affairs and optimistic outlooks on life, and the simple lyricacontent made the music relatable.

The rest of Hutchinson’s performance could be described as gingerbread vocals, with the perfect blend of sugar, texture and a little bit of twang. The flavor wasn’t too original, but it was interesting enough.
A few gems stood out over the others. One in particular was “Oh!” ¬¬– the opening song of the concert, which set the mood of the show well. The lyrics were nonsensical, yet endearing: “I picked a pocket just to get it all back/ Took out the license, left the money intact.” The song had a playful quality in its tune.
Hutchinson’s banal lyrics were reminiscent of Hallmark cliches, but the theme throughout the concert was friendship and fun. Trite lyrics aside, Hutchinson put on a great show. He was able to connect with his audience, and he inspired its members to let go of their inhibitions, thereby uniting them as an audio-infatuated assembly.listening and dancing to the pop-rock fusion.

The genre, difficult to name concisely, placed Hutchinson somewhere in between a folksy Michael Bublé and a soulful Maroon 5, or even a male version of Sara Bareilles. Hutchinson showed a wide range in his vocal abilities and in his musical mechanics on the acoustic and electric guitar, as well as on the keyboard. His band supported him on the drums, bass, keyboard and guitar.

The carefree, upbeat tempo of his music encouraged smiling and a carefree enjoyment of words and sounds. Most of what he played was Disney Channel-appropriate, about cliché love affairs and optimistic outlooks on life, and the simple lyrical content made the music relatable. The rest of Hutchinson’s performance could be described as gingerbread vocals, with the perfect blend of sugar, texture and
a little bit of twang. The flavor wasn’t too original, but it was interesting enough.

A few gems stood out over the others. One in particular was “Oh!” — the opening song of the concert, which set the mood of the show well. The lyrics were nonsensical, yet endearing: “I picked a pocket just to get it all back/ Took out the license, left the money intact.” The song had a playful quality in its tune, and Hutchinson’s voice bounced along with an enthusiastic spirit.

Hutchinson’s banal lyrics were reminiscent of Hallmark cliches, but the theme throughout the concert was friendship and fun. Trite lyrics aside, Hutchinson put on a great show. He was able to connect with his audience, and he inspired its members to let go of their inhibitions, thereby uniting them as an audio-infatuated assembly.

_Editor’s Note: Due to a copying error, the article ended prematurely. The full text has since been replaced._

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