Eric Hutchinson & The Believers – The Modern Happiness Tour – Tickets – World Cafe Live Philadelphia – Philadelphia, PA – October 11th, 2018

Eric Hutchinson & The Believers – The Modern Happiness Tour

Eric Hutchinson & The Believers – The Modern Happiness Tour

Jeremy Messersmith

Thu · October 11, 2018

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

World Cafe Live Philadelphia

$25 ADV - $27 DOS + Fees

Mezzanine tickets are subject to a premium service fee that will be applied at checkout.

Eric Hutchinson & The Believers
Eric Hutchinson & The Believers
To see an Eric Hutchinson show is to be fully entertained. Hutchinson and his band, The Believers, have toured extensively, building a reputation for a high-energy live show, full of four-part harmonies, incredible musicianship, humility, and humor. A show for any music lover, Eric brings the audience to him, playing his unique songs and telling the funny, moving and one-of-a-kind stories that made him the artist he is today.

Now, for the first time ever, Eric has brought his touring band into the recording studio with him and the result is an exciting new album, Modern Happiness. The record finds Eric and the Believers capturing the magic that makes their live shows so memorable, and effortlessly melding Pop, Soul, Reggae, Folk and Americana into a sound that is undeniably Hutchinsonian.
Beginning in January 2018, Eric is adventurously rolling out Modern Happiness, one song at a time, for 10 months straight. Each month will feature behind-the-scenes videos, live video chats, extensive podcast interviews, and much more, all in an effort for Eric to make the recordings as transparent as possible to his listeners. Fans will be able to gain access to exclusive content through Eric's new members-only project, The E-Hutch Club, via Patreon.com/erichutchinson.

In addition to recording his new album this year, Eric released "Songversations", a music listening card game, through Abrams Books in September. The game debuted at #1 in its category on Amazon the day it was released and maintained that position for three weeks. Having sold out of its first printing, “Songversations” is heading into 2018 as one of the hottest new games of its kind.

Eric Hutchinson is an international platinum-selling singer, songwriter and seasoned touring artist. He has performed in all 50 states (a milestone he reached this past summer) and has shared the stage with acts such as Jason Mraz, Amos Lee, Ingrid Michaelson, O.A.R., and Michael Franti. His single “Rock & Roll” earned him his first gold record in the United States and the song became a #1 hit in several countries.

Modern Happiness, Eric Hutchinson’s fifth studio album, is his finest effort yet. The album’s 10 tracks, and an 11th bonus track, display a dramatic departure from a master songwriter’s usual musical forms and lyrical themes, while also expanding on his refined working palette through the many disparate genres that has made his music some of the most engaging of his generation. And while Hutchinson’s soul, pop and rock composing has matured exponentially with each previous release, there is a penetratingly earthy and at times unflinchingly raw confessional aspect to each song’s subject matter, which translates with striking clarity to his vocals.

Additionally, the arrangements on Modern Happiness, as well as Hutchinson’s careful detail as producer – another talent he has honed over the last few years – reveal a new communicative instrumental interaction through the inspiring contributions of his touring band, The Believers; his longtime instrumental collaborator, Elliott Blaufuss (Guitars, Keys & Vocals), the rhythm section of Ian Allison (Bass & Vocals) and Bryan Taylor (Drums, Percussion & Vocals), and specifically for this album, the alluring harmonies of Jessie Payo.
This combination of a deeper autobiographical expression, a broader musical experimentation, and a collaborative creative effort gives Modern Happiness an expressive pathos and dynamic musical direction that leads Hutchinson down a new path of infinite creative possibilities.

Firstly, although Hutchinson has infused personal experiences into his songs – “Outside Villanova," “Watching You Watch Him," “Shine on Me," “Dear Me,” “Anyone Who Knows Me” and “Same Old Thing” – he could not necessarily be considered a confessional songwriter. Of course pieces of an artist will always appear in his work, but as far as I can tell Hutchinson has never sought to express an inner monologue as effectively as he has on Modern Happiness. The title of the album alone speaks to his place in the age of better living through chemistry; a generation promised happiness above all else with no roadmap in which to find that happiness in a modern world devoid of personal connection, where contentment is mostly sold as consumerism, social media, and the calculating nature of accruing popularity through the number of “likes” and “followers” and “hits” in a cold landscape of cyberspace.

This, of course, runs antithetical to the music we hear on Modern Happiness, as mentioned, a more band-orientated album reflecting a camaraderie and interplay that has rarely been as important to Hutchinson as serving the song. This new focus on collaboration reaches beyond merely the songwriting, as Hutchinson has co-written before. It is the overall presentation of the music that resonates here. The arrangements and performances, and perhaps most effectively the choice of musical foundation – styles as diverse as ragtime, ska, doo-wop, blues, reggae, and of course Hutchinson’s wheelhouse in white soul and tender ballads are unfurled as new canvases in which his stories are told – that run counter to the darker themes of isolation, disease, abuse, hypocrisy and depression.

But Modern Happiness truly impresses with Hutchinson’s penchant for pleasing melody and syrupy-sweet vocals that let the “medicine” go down quite nicely. You cannot help but hum along or sing out loud with these fiercely in-depth self-expressions. It is a playful subtext to the interiors of the song cycle Hutchinson sets up from the very beginning with “Miracle Worker”; on the surface a relatable mes en scene – taking us step-by-step through a magical night of spirits, flirtation and nocturnal beachcombing in the narrator’s search for “a miracle."

However, this surface plot is too simple. “Miracle Worker” is the album’s opening statement, a thesis that preludes the album’s central theme; the fragile spectrum between reality and fantasy. It is within these parameters in which an artist often creates, but it is also a fine line walked by anyone. What is real? That is what Eric Hutchinson will ask in every song of Modern Happiness; social interaction, sexual attraction, faith, loneliness, sympathy, contrition, happiness – how can we define it or should we define it? (James Campion 2018)
Jeremy Messersmith
Jeremy Messersmith
On Heart Murmurs, Jeremy Messersmith can break your heart one minute, and then put those fragile pieces back together again the next. The Minneapolis singer/songwriter candidly chronicles the ups and downs of modern relationships, all within the simple but striking constructs of his indelible, poignant pop songs. On his assured and expansive forth full-length album, Messersmith moves past the existential, death-laden themes of his 2010 breakthrough, The Reluctant Graveyard, to focus instead on the broad topic of love and the eternal affairs of the heart. And this polished, impassioned new batch of songs represent another confident artistic step forward in Jeremy's flourishing career.

The 11 tracks that comprise Heart Murmurs, Messersmith’s debut release for Glassnote Records, have been slowly gestating over the past few years, gradually taking on a spirited life of their own like any proper romance. Messersmith drew inspiration for his new album from the Magnetic Fields' brilliant magnum opus, 69 Love Songs, while also realizing that more than enough pop songs about love have already been written. But Jeremy provides a fresh new twist on those familiar themes of affection and anguish, with an emotional vulnerability that will resonate with anyone who has ever once shared their heart with another.

The record bursts out of the gates with the swelling, exultant hooks of the Elliott Smith-esque "It's Only Dancing," and the pulsating lead single, "Tourniquet," getting the listener's attention straight from the start and never relinquishing it throughout the entirety of the perfectly paced album. And while these songs typically feature buoyant, effortlessly catchy melodies, the lyrics themselves explore much darker themes, providing a brooding, mercurial contrast to the tracks upbeat arrangements.

"I generally like to balance out the bitter and the sweet in my songs," Messersmith explains. "The happier something is musically, the darker it can be lyrically -- you can kind of sneak it in there. And that's a little more appealing to me. In order to have a big hook -- and I was trying to write some of them about as big as I can make them -- I tried to do most of the lyrical heavy lifting in the verses and bridges, and worked hard to earn those hooks."

The hooks throughout Heart Murmurs are indeed quite massive and relentlessly catchy, with acoustic and electric guitars blending elegantly with spiraling string arrangements and other sonic flourishes. It's the sound of an artist not afraid to go big in order to be heard, while also packing plenty of evocative substance within these soaring pop songs as well.

Messersmith's distinctive style and sound has gotten the attention of many prominent music fans over the years, including Jim McGuinn, the Program Director at Minnesota Public Radio's the Current, a radio station that has championed Jeremy's songs from the moment he first dropped off his debut album to the studio wrapped unassumingly in a brown paper lunch bag.

"The feelings in Jeremy's songs are visceral, relatable. He reminds us of our humanity. And he always has," McGuinn warmly explains. "There are loads of artists that record sweet indie pop. But one of the things that helps Jeremy stand out is the twinge of darkness or melancholy in his songs. Sometimes those feelings are overt, and sometimes we see it but the characters do not. Everyday we see our friends headed towards some kind of failure big or small, but we're often powerless to talk them out of it, to help them, to stop the reality from occurring. It's tragic, and it's real. And those kernels of heartbreak separates Jeremy from the pack."

On the mournful "Bridges," Messersmith sings plaintively, "Even though I love you, I break you like a promise," touching on a theme that courses through much of the record -- hurting the ones you love the most despite, or perhaps because of, your best intentions. But there is hope involved in those stark revelations as well, with characters working through past and present mistakes in order to finally become worthy of the love they have around them.

These are heady, substantial ideas to inject into pop songs, but the tracks never become bogged down by the weight of the subject matter due to Messersmith's vibrant arrangements, and the deft production of Jeremy's longtime musical partner, Andy Thompson -- along with the veteran touch of producer Ben Allen and the musical contributions of a talented host of Twin Cities musicians -- who all help perfectly capture the impassioned spirit of these songs.

"On Heart Murmurs Jeremy has opened up his music - painting sonic picture that are bigger and louder and wider than anything he's ever done," McGuinn effuses. "With choruses that expand the footprint of his songs, without sacrificing the potential for quiet intensity, humor, or reflection. Bigger drum sounds from longtime cohort and producer Andy Thompson are matched with lush string parts and impeccable vocals to create a pop album that's not afraid to rock, and a rock album that can be counted on to deliver thoughtful pop songs."

Jeremy Messersmith's first album for Glassnote continues the consistent rise of his burgeoning career while confidently adding to an already impressive back catalog filled with subtle hits just waiting to be discovered by a wider audience. Heart Murmurs is a bold, self-assured artistic statement by a musician who continues to craft lovely, unforgettable songs packed with equal parts ecstasy and grief, all of which leaves the listener reeling and wanting more. "The heart has a lot of secrets," Messersmith candidly admits. "And writing this record was just my way of unlocking them."
Venue Information:
World Cafe Live Philadelphia
3025 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19104
http://philly.worldcafelive.com/