Singer and songwriter Caleb Lee Hutchinson became an audience favorite during his 2018 run on Season One of the “American Idol” reboot on ABC-TV.
Now, the Paulding County native is reintroducing himself with the June 28 release of his self-titled EP, produced by Grammy-winning recording artist Kristian Bush of Sugarland.
With a voice that Lionel Richie deemed a “crystal clear identity,” Hutchinson’s new release gives listeners a variety of sounds, a news release stated.
Hutchinson said he wants the music to “stand out and be something different than people have already heard,” which he achieves by remaining true to his classic-country style without alienating a younger audience.
“I think it has a broad array of sounds,” Hutchinson said of the new songs. “They’re not quite folky, not quite singer-songwriter, but leaning to that side of country, and that’s my favorite thing – there’s all kinds of craziness going on.
“There’s a path in country that nobody’s really on right now, and even if the music I make is a little out in left field, at least it will be something you’ve never heard before,” he said.
Hutchinson’s six new songs were produced in Bush’s studio in Atlanta.
According to a news release, “With Bush as his guide, Hutchinson began by walking the time-worn trails of country’s past, but soon struck out into a wilderness of anything-goes inspiration.”
“Classic balladry mixes with blistering Southern rock and rootsy indie pop, with acoustic guitars and moody rhythms meeting ethereal, electronic effects.”
On his upcoming single, “Belle of the Bar,” Hutchinson makes the well-trodden story of finding love in a bar sound freshly unfamiliar, the release said.
As a songwriter, he gets into the grit of heartbreak with the electric guitar-driven “Left of Me.”
The inclusion of Hutchinson’s rendition of Post Malone’s “Better Now,” previously released to YouTube and racking up hundreds of thousands of plays on streaming services, proves Hutchinson’s ability to bend music to his unique style and make it his own.
Anticipation surrounding the release of new music also led Hutchinson to cut songs by Nashville hitmakers, such as “Good As You Think I Am” by Maren Morris, Ryan Hurd and Andrew Dorff, the release said.
Other songs on the EP include “Steering Wheel Prayers,” which is described as “an early-morning conversation between God and a regular Joe presented in quiet, piano-forward desperation.”
“If I Ever Will” is a song which “nurses a bad breakup, two-stepping through a smoky honky tonk and conjuring neo-traditional memories.”
He said he found connection to the new EP’s tracks on the bunk of his “American Idol” tour bus last summer.
“I got to spend a lot of time with them,” he said.
Hutchinson said he looks forward to sharing his new songs with fans.
“Now I really get to do stuff that I believe in, so that’s a cool opportunity for them to meet the new me.”
Hutchinson got his start in his early teens in music competitions at Mill Town Music Hall in Bremen, where he eventually served as opening act for shows by country legends like Gene Watson and T. Graham Brown.
After his 2017 graduation from South Paulding High School, Hutchinson auditioned in Atlanta and Savannah for “Idol.” He survived multiple rounds of cuts by judges and viewers before he was voted runner-up to Maddie Poppe.
To buy or save digital copies of the EP, visit fanlink.to/CLHMusic.