It seems like these days I discover most of my favorite artists when they are opening for someone else. Included in these ranks are Graham Colton (who opened for Kelly Clarkson) and my favorite band, Jack's Mannequin, who was opening for Panic at the Disco (a band I don't even follow anymore). A Jack's Mannequin concert happened to be where I discovered a new gem, Eric Hutchinson.
Eric Hutchinson: Sounds Like (Awesome)
At this concert, I was with a group of people I didn't really know, all Jack's Mannequin groupie types. I had met the leader of the pack in class after noticing she had been browsing the band's website during the lecture (I was obviously not paying much attention either). I was lucky I was with them because they were pretty hard core, waiting for hours so we could secure a spot in the front row. Since it was my first Jack's concert, I was rewarded the illustrious front row center spot, right in front of the keyboard Hutchinson would play on.
I was immediately charmed by his sense of humor (which is also exhibited in an infomercial he made promoting his album). He made a couple cracks at himself about being unknown and none of us really caring he was there (It was funnier and less pathetic sounding at the time!). From the restless sounds in the crowd, he may have been right. But, as soon as he began stomping his foot (a little scary at first) at banging the piano (in a musical way, don't worry) I was captivated. In the totally quiet crowd, his song "OK. It's Alright With Me" felt like a personal experience that I was intruding on, enhanced by the fact that his face was probably only a few feet from mine. I was impressed with how he seemed so connected with what he was singing, making me really resonate with the songs despite my unfamiliarity with them.
Lucky for Hutchinson, Perez Hilton, notorious celebrity gossip blogger, fell for him too. And through the power of his internet kingdom, Hutchinson was able to secure a major label after being previously dropped by Warner Brothers and contemplating giving up. For more info, see this article from LA Times.
So, given my above experience, I took the plunge and bought his CD, Sounds Like This. It is definitely a CD a can listen all the way through, enjoying every song. My only complaint is that it's a little on the short side, but it also has no songs I feel the need to skip over like most albums. My favorite songs at the moment are Food Chain and Rock & Roll. I also really like All Over Now and can see it being one of those songs that closes an end of summer camp slide show (Green Day anyone?).
So basically you should all preview this album on Amazon.com and give it a test drive. I really like Amazon's mp3 store. You can click the 'preview all' button and listen to all the clips in a row. This comes in handy if you want to preview albums while working on other stuff (something pretty hard to do on iTunes). Also, Amazon music is DRM free, so you can pretty much do anything you want with it. Amazon music is also cheaper (yay!): Songs are usually 89 cents and albums tend to run about a dollar cheaper than iTunes. I also really like the CD cover art, if you needed one more reason to check out Eric Hutchinson.
Please comment with your thoughts, and feel free to disagree with me. It makes life more interesting.