As Eric Hutchinson journeyed toward the making of Moving Up Living Down, the delightfully witty and supremely wise follow-up to his hit debut Sounds Like This, he developed a very simple rule regarding new songs.
“I traveled so long and got to see so many people and places,” he says. “And sharing music with the fans every night got me thinking: The best concerts are when people sing along with me. So for the next one, what kind of songs do I want people singing with me? What kind of songs do I want people dancing to?”
Get ready to sing and dance.
Road-tested in every setting from a converted garage in Salt Lake City to the 30,000-seat Calgary Saddledome, from San Diego to Dubai, the artist and songs alike bear a playful confidence that was boosted along the way. As the Washington, DC-raised singer, pianist and guitarist traveled the world over the course of several years, word of mouth about his irresistible songs and engaging presence brought out consistently growing concert crowds. That helped turn the song “Rock & Roll” into an international hit (certified Gold in the U.S., Platinum in New Zealand, Norway and Australia) and the album hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart, ultimately selling more than 250,000 copies. The songs “OK, It’s Alright With Me” (top 5 on AAA radio) and “Oh!” also caught fire, helping push total single sales past the million mark.
After a brief respite to nail down the writing at home in New York, he took to the road again to make this album in Los Angeles with producer Mike Elizondo (Eminem, Regina Spektor) and London with Martin Terefe (Jason Mraz, James Morrison).
On Moving Up Living Down, all of Eric’s ever-widening musical embraces are brought into play, from the exuberant folk-pop bounce of “Watching You Watch Him” (the first single, which debuted on the season premiere of ABC-TV’s “Grey’s Anatomy”) through the reggae lilt of opener “Talk is Cheap” through the soul grounding of “The Basement.” The music is tuneful and rhythmic. The lyrics are engaging and reflective. Comparisons, as always, are tough, but you wouldn’t go wrong thinking of a spectrum that includes Paul Simon, the Beatles and Stevie Wonder, all integrated into a truly Hutchinsonian whole.