In a world glutted with singer-songwriters, being a white male with an acoustic guitar is hardly going to make you stand out. Take Eric Hutchinson, for example. Google his name and you're just as likely to discover the retired Stanford chemistry professor or the KPMG senior accountant as you are the guy who played at Jammin' Java on Tuesday night.
But it's the latter Eric Hutchinson who should dominate the search results. He fuses crisp chord patterns, a live-wire voice and a streak of sour humor that brings to mind Nick Lowe. And anyone who'll take gigs in Titusville, Center Valley and Waynesburg, Pa., in the same month obviously wants to make it.
Hutchinson's performance Tuesday was best when he leaned hard into such originals as "Please" and "All Used Up," songs whose words were so crammed in, he could barely catch a breath. He revealed a wisecracking stage presence that led to some nutty song forays -- mashing "What's Love Got to Do With It" against "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" and taking a whip-crack drive through Beyonce and Jay-Z's "Crazy in Love" -- but these ultimately took up time that might have been better spent on another Hutchinson song or two. If Hutchinson failed to reach maximum intensity for an entire set, there were enough thrilling flashes to indicate that one day, he just might.
-- Patrick Foster