Jack J Hutchinson: Feathers and Fools Review

After years of activity in London as both a session musician and occasional sideman, British singer/songwriter Jack J Hutchinson has released his debut solo album Feathers and Fools. With noted influences ranging from blues legends like Stevie Ray Vaughan to the eclectic folk ‘n roll styles of artists like Ryan Adams, Hutchinson’s solo premier stands first and foremost as a widely varied sampling of genres. Across the album’s 14 tracks, Hutchinson delves into traditional singer/songwriter structures, psychedelic interludes and hypnotic blues jams.

Feathers and Fools opens with its title track, a bluesy number that launches with psychedelic effects before introducing a subtle background riff that holds throughout the piece. Featuring heavy guitar work over muted vocals, “Feathers and Fools” emphasizes the guitar as the lead instrument – though Hutchinson’s vocals are present in nearly every track (aside from “Tellin’ Tall Tales” and “Maybe Tuesday,” where Hutchinson silences his commentary to let the tracks’ epic jam splurges take center stage), the high tonal quality of his voice make constant guitar reinforcement necessary, a reality the experienced musician seems to recognize. While Hutchinson gives his vocals a bit too much leeway on “Too Much Too Soon,” the durable riffs on “Put Me In My Place” and “Smile” make up for it by providing vocal-guitar teamwork that comes across as far more integrated and digestible.

Aside from his cover of Eric Clapton’s “Comin’ Home,” each of the songs on Feathers and Fools was written and recorded by Hutchinson himself – this includes not only the vocals and guitar work, but all of the album’s additional instrumentation. The appearance of the Clapton song is telling; while many of Hutchinson’s songs flow in the vein of the singer/songwriter style popular today, the rhythms and studio performances on “I Got Your Number,” “Put Me In My Place” and “Long Way Down” reveal significant influences that span the middle years of rock history. If time travel were possible, Hutchinson’s folk, blues and psychedelic blends would fit perfectly into the rock era of the 1970s. Instead, Hutchinson exists as a simultaneous echo of the past and glimpse into the future. With modern jam band revivals forcefully popping up in both the U.S. and the UK, Hutchinson’s ability to alternate between singer/songwriter and adaptable session player gives him an edge over other artists struggling to latch permanent tags to their work.

The Review: 7/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– I Got Your Number
– Long Way Down
– The Sun Rises Here
– Tellin’ Tall Tales

The Big Hit

– Tellin’ Tall Tales

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Review by Meghan Roos

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