Out of the Shadow
Rising like a cloud of smoke from the jazz clubs of inner city Pittsburgh is a sound of pure soul. A powerful voice echoes through the streets, sending a chill down the spine of all within earshot. Smooth, jazz-laden guitar chords merge in perfect harmony, as the bar patrons lift their heads and turn their attention to the figures on stage. They've been touched by the soulful sounds of the HutchSimonProject. Venturing into musical waters once inhabited by Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway, Richard 'Hutch' Hutchins and Scott Simon are a beaconing light in an untapped Pittsburgh R&B music scene. Their talent is remarkable, Their chemistry; undeniable. They are a breath of fresh air in a musical era too often polluted by negative energy. They sing of life and love, hard times and positive vibes. Real music. Real soul. Greatly influenced by George Benson and Wes Montgomery, Simon is the guitar protégé of jazz legend Jimmy Ponder, from whom he derived his smooth, melodic style. A fiery stage performer, Simon is capable of weaving pure, heartfelt musical ecstasy with his fingertips. He is clear on what his newest project is hoping to accomplish. 'We want to be heard. There are a lot of people out there who can relate to our music because we deal with real life issues and relationships. Our music is about us and the world in which we live.' R&B music was practically a birthright for Hutchins, the son of the Real Silk Band's angelic vocalist Valerie Stagger. Originally born and raised in Aliquippa, PA, Hutch's incomparable live presence stems from both his amazing vocal range and his intense on-stage performance. Combing influences from Chaka Khan to Donny Hathaway to Bob Marley, Hutch commands the crowd's attention with his spontaneous choreography while squeezing every last ounce of soul out of the room with his hauntingly enchanting voice. 'Our show is interactive, it's dialogue with the crowd,' Hutchins said. 'It's an emotional roller coaster, we take them in so many different directions. We have them laughing at times, they might shed a tear at times.' Fusing the jazz, r&b, and gospel genres, the HutchSimonProject is rewriting the musical glossary with their own unique brand of acoustic soul. 'There's a diverse cultural background, for a little black kid from the hood to connect with a Jewish kat from Squirrel Hill, it's quite interesting,' Hutchins said. 'Two complete opposites combining to play in perfect harmony.'