UI, it's alright with him: Singer-songwriter Eric Hutchinson to perform at Palousafest

The piano-playing, guitar-strumming, "Rock and Roll" singing Eric Hutchinson will headline the University of Idaho's Palousafest at 8 p.m. Saturday.

click to enlarge Hutchinson will headline Palousafest on Saturday.
Hutchinson will headline Palousafest on Saturday.

It's been a while since Hutchinson has been featured on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" and "Late Night" with Conan O'Brien, where he performed his hit "Rock and Roll," which reached Gold in the United States, New Zealand and Norway in 2008. But, he soon followed up with his hit, "Ok, It's Alright With Me," and more recently, Hutchinson released a 2012 album, while the first single "Watching You Watch Him" debuted on a season premiere of "Grey's Anatomy."

From touring with Kelly Clarkson, to writing the theme song for ESPN's Fantasy Focus podcast, Hutchinson's music has traveled throughout the United States. But, in an email interview, Hutchinson said playing for the troops in the Middle East has been his most rewarding performance, and he is looking forward to his Moscow visit, too.

1. It’s been almost five years since “Rock and Roll” was hot. How has your career changed in that time? It continues to be an amazing ride. I've played all over the world. Places like Dubai, Australia, Norway. I still can't believe some of the places my music has taken me. It's awesome.

2. What has been the highest testing track for “Moving Up Living Down”? If not tested, which track have fans been most receptive to from that album? My favorite is "Watching You Watch Him." It was the last one I wrote for the album and every time I hear the fans singing it back to me, it makes me smile.

3. You’re playing at the University of Idaho’s Palousafest, a performance at Penn State University and at the Hastings Music Festival. What other tour dates are in the books and what do you have planned (or hope) for in 2013? I'm finishing up my new album, so I haven't been on the road too much this year. I'm really excited to have people hear the new songs. I've been pushing my songwriting and the tracks feel really fresh to me.

4. What has been the most rewarding musical experience of your career, whether it be a collaboration, performance, etc.? I just got back from the Middle East where I was performing for our Navy and Army troops. That was one of the coolest things I've ever done. The people there were super appreciative and it's had a lasting effect on how I see my life and the world.

5. Ever trekked to northern Idaho? If so, what was that experience like? First time and I can't wait! I love the Northwest and I'm hoping there's some stargazing to be done up there after the show.

6. What can your fans expect to hear at the UI’s Palousafest performance? I do a high energy show. My band and I have one goal every night: to have as much fun as possible and get that to translate to the audience. I've had longtime fans and first-time listeners all say they can feel that energy, which is what it's all about.

Hutchinson will perform on the Theophilus Tower Lawn off Sixth Street on the UI campus. A street fair starts at 5:30 p.m. with food and informational booths, while Moscow’s Runaway Symphony will perform at 7:30 p.m., opening for Hutchinson.

Treffry can be contacted at (208) 883-4640 or ltreffry@inland360.com. Follow her on Twitter at: @LindseyTreffry.

-> if you go: WHAT: Palousafest 2013 WHEN: 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Hutchinson performs at 8 p.m. WHERE: Sixth Street street fair and Theophilus Tower Lawn musical performances, University of Idaho campus COST: Free

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