He’s no stranger to these parts, and for the faithful who decided that Sunday night is worth venturing out for another slice of live music, Jack J Hutchinson demonstrated why he’s one of the top-rated guitarists in the UK.
Jack J Hutchinson
The Patriot, Crumlin – 1 October 2023
Words and Photography: Paul Hutchings
It may have been a smaller crowd than packed out the same venue the night before, but it’s hard to argue that the music on offer was any less in quality and value for money.
For those who don’t know, Jack has been around for a good while. He’s got credentials longer than your arm, with tours alongside ZZ Top, Blackberry Smoke, Bad Company, and Kris Barras in the locker.
He’s not short on the confidence needed, and as he rolls into Crumlin in the middle of his latest UK tour, it’s easy to see why he’s received such wide acclaim.
With the local support unable to play, it’s a straightforward solo show. Backed by the unflappable rock-solid rhythm section of drummer Phil Wilson and bassist Charlie Rachael Key, Jack flies through a setlist crammed with songs from his catalogue.
Plenty to keep everyone entertained, with several from the most recent album, The Hammer Falls, bringing a contemporary flavour. The Hammer Falls arrives early, increasing the temperature. There’s plenty of melody, with songs like Call Of The Wild and Down By The River easing back to allow his fluid guitar work to shine.
Between songs, he’s at ease with the banter, mentioning that it’s his fifth appearance at the venue and thanking owner Angela for the warm welcome (it’s guaranteed!), pizza and coffee. He’s able to poke fun at Charlie’s attempt at veg on tour (on her pizza, no less), and even the odd minor error receives the joking mockery of his bandmates.
It’s an easy watch, the band smooth and locked in tight. Smiles, enjoyment, even a singalong or two, and stellar songs, there’s nowhere better to be on a Sunday.
He’s not afraid of the odd cover, either. Peter Green’s Oh Well gets the feet tapping, whilst a raucous version of AC/DC’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Damnation gets those at the back singing along. New songs are also thrown into the mix, with latest singles, Constellations and Days Are Gone, sounding hugely impressive.
When they want to let loose, then they can do so, as Jack recalls a former fan of his acoustic work complaining that he’s “gone too heavy.” I doubt many would complain, for the steely undercurrent that holds his songs together contains enough to please those who like it a bit grittier, whilst his bluesy lead work sends shivers up the spine. He’s never flashy, but he knows how to throw the shapes that are needed.
A fantastic evening, with 18 songs played over a good 70 minutes. It’s a shame that there weren’t more here to witness a masterclass in music, but for those that were, it’s certainly an evening well spent.
Come back soon, Jack!