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Brian Hutson

Brian Hutson – “Midnight Sessions”

– By Wayne Toole

 

The first sustained studio release from vocalist and songwriter Brian Hutson is a four song EP
entitled Midnight Sessions and the brief collection capitalizes nicely on the promise
demonstrated by his initial handful of singles. Hutson began singing at an early age, but pursued
a more practical career path for many years that eventually carried him to working in the nation’s
financial epicenter, Wall Street. Through a fortuitous turn of events, renowned producer Joe
Vulpis discovered Hutson’s considerable vocal talents and recruited him to embark on a long
deferred musical career. He’s made a nice impression in the press and with listeners alike on the
backs of a trio of early singles, but Midnight Sessions represents his most significant musical
statement to date and is finished off, akin to an exclamation point, by a bonus track. Vulpis’
production strengths enhance this fine material, but the songwriting is fundamentally strong and
benefits from Hutson’s presence. He sounds like someone who’s been doing this for decades and
fills these songs with genuine presence.

“Break My Heart” begins the EP on a semi familiar note, but Hutson guides listeners through the
lyrics and complements the music in such a way that it’s easy to realize what truly makes the
familiar seem fresh isn’t outright experimentation, usually, but the unique personal qualities a
performer can bring to predictable formulas. Hutson succeeds spectacularly with that on this
song and others. The musical backing is expert without ever being ostentatious – the piano
playing heard throughout the entirety of Midnight Sessions strikes a lyrical note throughout and
frequently carries the melody. “Kiss Me Feel It” is a song of adoration, but never so sickly sweet
that one might confuse it for teen fodder. Hutson’s song and lyrics, instead, come off as truly
devoted and grateful for their connection to the song’s object of affection. The piano and
acoustic guitar are musical strengths for this song, but the drumming frames everything quite
nicely as well.

“One Night Stand” is one of the EP’s savviest and best pieces of writing. The wealth of specific
detail and the sense of the personal Hutson invests the song with gives it added drama regardless
of any fidelity to Hutson’s personal experiences – even if he hasn’t lived through this, he makes
us believe that he has. The arrangement is a little more assertive here than earlier songs, but the
instrumentation remains the same. “Behind the Wall” is, easily, the EP’s grittiest and raucous
number. He generates real heat along with the band each time they hit one of the song’s rousing
choruses and he has obvious fun singing around the dynamics in and between the verses. The
EP’s bonus track “Keep the Faith Alive” is a docile, sensitive number that he likely left off the
official album due to its low-key mood. It’s quite an introspective number, despite its title, and
the mix of acoustic guitar and piano achieves a new level of airiness with this number. Brian
Hutson’s Midnight Sessions signals the first big release of a career that, based on talent alone,
will carry on for many years to come.

 

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