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Inaugural “Rock & Roll” With Eric Hutchinson

The New Now

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Who's Next blog, which is not only the first Who's Next blog, hence our use of the word inaugural, but it also happens to fall on Jan. 20, 2009, the very day that Barack H. Obama was sworn in as 44th President of the United States of America, hence our use of the word inaugural.

You might wonder why I'm qualified to write such a blog and yes, dear reader I have an answer for you. Just the other day, when I was filing away some old vinyl records (certainly you oldsters and hipsters are familiar with those), I realized that I have multiple copies of the Who's acclaimed 1971 album titled -- you guessed it -- Who's Next. One is an old beat-up copy I probably bought used many eons ago. The other is a still-in-the-shrink-wrap "heavy vinyl" version. And then there's the two-disc "Deluxe Edition" in my CD collection, not to mention the digital versions on my external hard drive and iPod. As you can see, by the sheer number of copies in my possession, I'm an expert in Who's Next. Some day, I may even listen to it.

On a slightly more serious note, let me explain our mission. We're here to help you find the new artists that will make a difference and perhaps may end up in your collection, be it digital form or on CD or vinyl. We won't necessarily always be first on the scene like those hipper-than-thou cats at Fitchpork (or whatever that cool music site is called), but we'll attempt to bring you the pertinent information on artists on the verge of major breakthrough, not only because they deserve your attention, but it'll help you impress your friends at parties.

Our running mate in this inaugural Who's Next blog is Eric Hutchinson, who unlike me, was actually voted for by you, dear readers, hence his designation of Users' Choice. I'd like to tell you we're great friends and Eric is a wonderful guy, but kind of like John McCain and Sarah Palin, we really don't know each other. In fact, we've never met. I wasn't even all that familiar with his music, since my promo service from Warner Bros. mysteriously came to a halt some months ago. But after learning I was writing this blog and Eric was the Who's Next Users' Choice, I've been studying his videos, watching his performances and listening to his album and I can tell you that he's exactly the type of artist that's on the verge of bigger things. In fact, VH1 recently went all Alanis Morissette over him, an honor which of course borders on meaningless when compared to the lofty status afforded any actual Who's Next act.

Like such esteemed classic rockers as Chuck Berry, the Velvet Underground and Kiss, Hutchinson's breakthough song has the words "rock" and "roll" in the title, but his sound --which he describes as "acoustic soul"--is actually more akin to such current artists as Jack Johnson and Jason Mraz. For the record, Eric shows incredibly good taste by citing Paul Simon, Billy Joel, the Beatles, Motown, Prince and Stevie Wonder as his influences, and names Kanye West as his current fave.

If you watch this performance of the reggae-infused "Rock & Roll" by Eric and his crack band and view the accompanying interview, you'll find that he's quite a likeable, down-to-earth fellow, making him the perfect candidate to help usher us into this new era. He's hopeful yet realistic, funky yet chic, slightly restrained yet passionate, and he has a penchant for miniature pianos and sushi. What more needs to be said, really?




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