Tim Hutchinson: Like a Tree

5 Jan

Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 6.43.21 PMI feel like very few musicians these days write lyrics that could actually be poetry: lyrics you could read aloud and they would still make sense: no awkward repetition and no disembodied metaphors relying on the music to tie them together. But Tim Hutchinson does this. Each song standing as its own profound piece of lucid spoken word, Like A Tree (the title track a sentimental celebration of Tim’s father, who is pictured on the album cover) is an enchanting anthology of reflections both personal and spiritual, pulsating with the simultaneous strangeness and familiarity that can only be felt from taking a glimpse into somebody else’s head.

In “How David Sang” – a pondering of the peculiarity of finding oneself in a Biblical landscape in a foreign, modernized world (perhaps a remnant of Tim’s experiences working in the Transkei as a teacher), gazing at sheep in the rural sunset and wondering how David used to sing  – represents Tim’s ability to intertwine the spiritual and the personal in the telling of a story; reuniting Godly revelation with the grit and grind of the everyday from which we so often separate it.

Lyrics printed in the CD booklet.

Tim’s melodies are timeless somehow: they linger persistently in your head in a way that incites you to further explore them rather than push them aside. Like a Tree is the mark of a songwriter with a true gift in that so much has been achieved with so little: we hear only vocals and guitar throughout the album, and yet the music sounds so full and remains so captivating: the songs do not blur into one another but stand distinctly as individual works.

Something is to be said, as well, for the way this album has been recorded and mastered (by Darren Peens at Spaced Out Sound, Cape Town). Often I find the difference between live and recorded music is a process of alienation; the “official” recording clean and flawless and inhuman in the face of its live counterpart. The recording of Like a Tree, though, is merely (magnificently) an elimination of background noise, bringing Tim’s deft guitar and soft, resonant voice closer and clearer than the live listener has heard it before; as though he were performing at one’s shoulder in a small and sonorous room.

Tim Hutchinson and audience at his album launch on 1 April 2013 | Photographs (c) Michelle Avenant

Like a Tree is available on iTunes. 

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