In Memoriam: Bloodkin’s Daniel Hutchens

By Andy Kahn May 10, 2021 9:30 am PDT

Daniel Hutchens, who co-founded the Athens, Georgia-based band BloodKin, has died. According to a statement from Bloodkin, Hutchens passed away on Sunday, May 9 after suffering a “massive stroke” on Friday, May 7. The beginning of the statement follows:

“It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of our brother in music, Bloodkin co-founder Daniel Hutchens. Danny died in Athens, GA on Sunday, May 9th surrounded by family and friends after suffering a massive stroke. Words can not express our grief over the loss of Danny or the love we had for him. His influence in our lives, the lives of his fans and the greater music community will live far beyond his brief but beautiful time on this earth. As one of his generation’s most prolific and soulful songwriters, his words will resonate as a rock ‘n’ roll poet for generations to come.”

Hutchens and fellow Bloodkin co-founder, Eric Carter, met at age eight in Ripley, West Virginia. They began to play music together in high school and continued after graduation. Hutchens and Carter first moved to Huntington, West Virginia, before relocating to Athens. By the early-1990s, they were performing as Bloodkin with over 300 original songs.

The first Bloodkin album, Good Luck Charm, was produced by Johnny Sandlin and released in 1994. The album included the songs “Can’t Get High” and “End Of The Show,” which are among several Bloodkin songs covered by fellow Athens-based band Widespread Panic. Other Bloodkin songs frequently covered by WSP include “Henry Parsons Died,” “Who Do You Belong To?” and “Quarter Tank of Gasoline.”

Bloodkin’s next album was 1996’s Creeperweed, featuring late former WSP drummer Todd Nance. Their subsequent album, 1999’s Out Of State Plates, was the first of many produced by David Barbe. In the 1990s, Hutchens also worked with former The Velvet Underground drummer Moe Tucker, contributing to three albums and a number of tours.

Bloodkin’s next studio album, 2001’s The Bloodkin Community Gospel Rehab, was again produced by Barbe and followed the death of the band’s manager, Zac Weil, in 2000. The follow-up, 2002’s Ravin’ Beauties, was recorded with Barbe in the basement of Widespread Panic bassist Dave Schools’ home in Athens.

Hutchens’ 2003 solo album Lesser was recorded with Barbe, Carter and Nance. A second solo album, Lovesongs For Losers, came out in 2006. Between solo albums, Bloodkin issued Last Night Out in 2005. Bloodkin’s next full length release was 2009’s Baby, They Told Us We Would Rise Again. A compilation of previously unreleased tracks, One Long Hustle, arrived in 2013.

Hutchens’ final solo album, The Beautiful Vicious Cycle Of Life, came out in 2016. The record was produced by Schools and featured appearances by Nance, Carter, Barbe, Schools, WSP drummer Duane Trucks and others.

Hutchens’ was hospitalized in late-2016 after suffering a hemorrhagic stroke. In 2017, Hutchens formed Interstellar Boys with Nance, Sam Holt (Outformation), John Neff (Drive-By Truckers) and Jon Mills.

Hutchens and Carter recorded Bloodkin’s LP Black Market Tango with Barbe and the band’s current lineup of Jon Mills on bass, Aaron Phillips on drums and John Neff on guitar and pedal steel. The album was released in April 2021 on Jerry Joseph’s Cosmo Sex School Records label.

Hutchens is survived by two children, Amberly and Zack. A GoFundMe fundraiser honoring Hutchens’ memory and supporting his family can be donated to here.

Read the rest of the statement issued by publicist Patrice Fehlen on behalf of Bloodkin below:

Friends since early childhood and bandmates for over 35 years, Bloodkin co-founder Eric Carter refers to their friendship and partnership as, “A combination of brothers and an old married couple. And through all the ups and downs, our first priority was our baby, Bloodkin. When we cut through the excess and the bullshit, it was always about the damn song and we got a LOT of them. THAT was our thing and I’ll never find something like that again.”

Danny’s longtime music collaborator and close friend David Barbe shared, “It is with feelings beyond sadness that I face the passing of Daniel Hutchens. This is an extremely painful loss for the music community, and his friends and family. Danny was a brilliant, but underappreciated, artist. The people who make the music knew, though. A musician’s musician. An artist’s artist. Danny’s voice was sweet and soulful. His songs were honest, came from the heart, and connected with people in a way that made his fans feel like they really knew Danny and that he knew them. He poured himself into his creativity to the point that the line between the artist and the art was indistinguishable. Danny was one of my closest friends and musical comrades; a kind, generous soul who had love in his heart for everyone he encountered and was universally loved in return by everyone who knew him. I am struggling to process the void of not having him in my life. I am grateful to have had him for as long as we did and am honored to have been a part of his musical journey.”

Dave Schools of Widespread Panic said, “And just like that life ends. I was lucky to have known Danny for so long and working with him was an honor I’ll always treasure. I can’t begin to describe the many lives he touched. Listen to the man’s work. And to quote Danny after a particularly potent take of a song in the studio: ‘You’re welcome humans.’ “

The vanguard of the Athens, GA music scene, The Flagpole Magazine once said of Danny, “Singer/songwriter Daniel Hutchens’ soul-inflected vocals and his knack for moving lyrics are as powerful as ever. [His lyrics explore] the idea that love survives separation, the feeling that friendship is stronger than the miles, physical and spiritual, that divide us.”

AQUARIUM DRUNKARD has written of Danny, “I put his catalog right up there with the likes of Townes Van Zandt, Alejandro Escovedo and Steve Earle in terms of truly capturing the nuances of humanity, both the light and the dark, in song… [Hutchens] is a national treasure.”

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all the thoughts and prayers from the many lives that he touched with the soul of his music and passion of his spirit. Throw on your favorite Bloodkin album and play it WAY TOO LOUD!

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