Thursday, June 5, 2014

Christian Lee Hutson - No Apologies, Please

I've been trying to write about Christian Lee Hutson since I met him at the Communion tour but I've never been able to just sit down and write what I feel would do him justice.  He was the first act to go on that night and that's a precarious position to be in but he took the stage and made it his own for that set.  We talked for a couple minutes after he played and I got to learn a little more about him.  I found out that he travels the country most of the year gigging his heart out and trying to just make that connection with fans that get what he's trying to express.  His message is that of someone much older than him but his experience is far from lacking.  He's paying his dues and putting in his time and that's making him into a true artist, unlike the manufactured pop artists or reality show contestants that have fame shoved into their lap.

What I don't know about classic country music could fill a library so there's no way in the world I can say he sounds like this person or he's channeling this person.  What I know is that his music is honest.  It's raw and at the heart of it, it's got teeth.  Country and Western music was created to tell the stories of the people affected by the day to day life in rural America.  It's built on stories and experiences that at one point in time or another in our lives, we have had the opportunity to experience.  It's edgy and it's angry and it's heartbroken and it's human.  Classic country music that hasn't been influenced by the more suburban influences of today is about as hardcore and punk rock as those genres.  There's killing and there's loss and there's all form of emotion and anti-establishment messages.  Christian pulls a lot of those same ideas into his music as well and he's created a platform in today's pop/rock country world where that storied history and those traditions of picking yourself up off the ground and knocking the dirt off your jeans and moving on is as rich today as it ever was.

Let's talk about this song and video now.  First and foremost, you cannot deny his charisma and his stage presence on video.  The man knows how to sell his performance and when you're dealing with the dichotomies of the two characters he's playing in the video, the range of emotion is staggering.  There are times when he flashes a look at the camera or something slides across his face and you just have to stop for a minute because you can see there's actually something happening there.  It's not forced, it's not acting.  It's a connection to his music and his message that allows him to just give you all he has to give.  There are expressions he gives through out the video that tear right into the heart of you and leave you going.....damn.

The song itself is full of hurt and resentment but it holds no one at fault.  It's fells like a melodic exercise in Shit Happens or "Well, we tried that.  It didn't work.  Let's acknowledge and move on."  So many of our relationships happen this way.  We start out thinking that everything is going to be one way and we hope that this is going to be exactly what we want but as we get into the thick of it we realize that it's nothing like we wanted.  There's no one to be blamed in the long run when the layers are peeled back and we just realize we aren't compatible so we part ways and move on. 

I can't express how much this song has affected me and the video for that matter.  I don't see the two characters in the video as a man and a woman but more as the person you are and the person you outwardly project to people when you're up to your neck in a relationship that's only dragging you down.  You're polished and put together for everyone to see.  You're charming and you smile easily but when you're alone, your makeup is a mess and you can't seem to pull yourself together.  You're as fragile as glass and can break if someone looks at you hard or you've cobbled together enough gumption to smile and move on.

I own his full length album and I've listened to it many times but when the composition and the structure of the music carries as much weight as his does, you simply don't sit down and write a fluff piece about track four.  You have to dig in and experience it.  I plan to cover him more in the future, and want him to become an amazingly successful artist because I think the emotional territory he's willing to tread is about as deep as you can go and it's done with just him and a guitar.

Christian on the Web
Twitter: @chrisleehutson

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