You might not know the name Christian Lee Hutson, but you have definitely heard his work — whether it be as a songwriter for Boygenius or Better Oblivion Community Center, or a studio performer on what is being called one of the best podcast episodes ever.
For his latest album, Hutson recruited his friend and frequent collaborator Phoebe Bridgers to serve as producer for the project, doubling down on his intimate storytelling through self-dialogues and private confessions. The result is a deeply personal and revealing look into Hutson’s life, all presented through the lens of gorgeous instrumentals and vocal melodies.
To celebrate the new album, Hutson sat down to talk Joni Mitchell, Whole Foods, and Madea in the latest Indie Mixtape 20 Q&A.
What are four words you would use to describe your music?
Quiet, nostalgic, guilt, forgiveness.
It’s 2050 and the world hasn’t ended and people are still listening to your music. How would you like it to be remembered?
I guess I’d just want people to feel hopeful and like they aren’t completely alone on this planet.
What’s your favorite city in the world to perform?
Tokyo. I opened for Phoebe Bridgers there last year and aside from it being my favorite city to hang out in, the crowds both nights were really sweet.
Who’s the person who has most inspired your work, and why?
I guess Elliott Smith because I learned how to play guitar by learning his songs.
Where did you eat the best meal of your life?
Whole Foods Arroyo Parkway.
What album do you know every word to?
What was the best concert you’ve ever attended?
John Prine. I was on tour with Jenny Lewis in Norway and we had the night off. Phoebe Bridgers also happened to be in town the same night and got us tickets. John was so happy during the show that he put his guitar down and started to dance around the stage.
What is the best outfit for performing and why?
A black sweater and black pants. I feel like it’s comfortable. It’s usually freezing in music venues and I feel like all black is simple and not too distracting so no one could ever be focused on what I am wearing.
Who’s your favorite person to follow on Twitter and/or Instagram?
What’s your most frequently played song in the van on tour?
It changes every tour. Last tour it was this song called “Mid Air” by Paul Buchanan.
What’s the last thing you Googled?
“what was the first Madea movie?”
What album makes for the perfect gift?
Where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever crashed while on tour?
A shack made of sheet metal connected to the back half of a school bus in the middle of the desert in New Mexico.
What’s the story behind your first or favorite tattoo?
My dad took me to get a Hank Williams tattoo when I turned 18 because it was some of the only music he played for me when I was little.
What artists keep you from flipping the channel on the radio?
What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?
I’m on the phone with my mom right now and she says I have to say that she brought me into this world.
What’s one piece of advice you’d go back in time to give to your 18-year-old self?
Don’t drink. Don’t do drugs. Be yourself.
What’s the last show you went to?
Whispertown at the Bootleg Theater.
What movie can you not resist watching when it’s on TV?
What would you cook if Kanye were coming to your house for dinner?
I would cancel last minute.
Beginners is out May 29. Pre-order it here.