Photo Credit: Zachary Shapiro
CD REVIEW: Midnight Sessions by Brian Hutson
Midnight Sessions is a five song EP from New York native Brian Hutson and this extravagantly talented singer emerges with a powerful collection that attests to the great songwriting backing his efforts. Like nearly all great singers, Hutson discovered his talent at a young age via the school choir and he demonstrated an immediate aptitude for singing that far outstripped his young contemporaries. He pursued an Economics degree in college, but Hutson never abandoned his musical dreams entirely and undertook private voice lessons to further sharpen his skills. His discovery by famed producer Joe Vulpis set the stage for the Wall Street employed off-time singer to make something more of his hard work. The Midnight Sessions EP builds off the success of his first singles and launches his career properly with a fully realized, albeit brief, musical work that sets the stage for his future.
It’s hard to imagine a smoother, more fully realized beginning to this EP than “Break My Heart”. Hutson demonstrates on each of the five songs that his talents for writing a hard-hitting chorus and realizing its potential to the fullest, but the chorus on “Break My Heart” stands above the rest. These might be familiar sentiment he’s expressing in song, but his phrasing throughout and moments like the chorus illustrate that he’s very talented at pouring old wine into new bottles and his audience will strongly connect with his fresh point of view. “Kiss Me Feel It” has the same musical excellence, albeit a bit more spartanly employed, and a delightfully low-key playful side lighting up the song’s longing mood. The presence of keyboards, often light organ touches, on Midnight Sessions is its secret weapon and the primary culprit in helping it embody the EP title’s pensive implications. “One Night Stand”, surprisingly, is the most delicate and fragile sounding cut of the five included on Midnight Sessions, but never so much so that it fails to leave a mark on listeners. It’s much more acoustic based than the surrounding tracks and Hutson shows he how well he tailors his voice to any setting.
“Behind the Wall” is one of the better songs, both lyrically and musically, on Midnight Sessions and has an outstanding vocal that adds the final touch to set it apart. The chorus nearly equals the refrain heard in the opening song and it certainly constitutes the most impassioned vocal that Hutson serves up for this release. The final track on the EP, “Keep the Faith Alive”, concludes the album on an extraordinarily mature and hopeful note. When a songwriter turns their hand to such material, it often unfortunately comes off as forced or heavy handed, drowning in saccharine nonsense, but Hutson avoids that with an intelligent and sometimes exultant singing performance. It’s a fitting finish for an EP release that seems to be the musical equivalent of planting one’s own flag – Brian Hutson is here, this is who he is, and no one will deny him.
by Pamela Bellmore
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