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Notes from Emery Hutchins of The Angel Band

August 2000

Contact Emery directly to order their latest CD:
Emery Hutchins, P.O. Box 269, York, Maine 03909-0269, USA

Note from Paul: These notes are in response to an email I wrote asking for information about his playing, influences, and instruments.

Yes, I do play Dipper concertinas on the CD. I have two, one is tuned in C-G and the other is A-D. They are numbers 106 and 107 and I have had them since 1985. They are wonderful instruments. They stand up to heavy use and have never let me down. I also have a Lachenal that is tuned in B flat and F. That one is not used on the current album. I have recently ordered a Dipper baritone tuned in C-G. I think that the lower register will really add a lot to our music.

I am essentially a self taught player. I have been playing since the early eighties. But I really didn't focus on the concertina until the mid nineties. Prior to that I was a vocalist and banjo player. I am an ear player. I do not read music well at all. Sheet music does help but only if I have a recording to go with it.

The only real formal lessons that I ever took were with Gearoid O'Hallmhurain at the Irish Festival in East Durham, N.Y. He is an excellent teacher. I think that I gained a lot through his class. I guess that I would consider that I play in the Irish style though I don't use as much ornamentation as most Irish players. I like to hear the melodies clearly. The Angel Band also features O'Carolan's work and I think that his melodies stand well without much ornamentation.

I have been influenced by many people along the way. I worked for many years in a band named Northeast Winds. We had the good fortune to be able to be the opening act for the Clancy Brothers and Robbie O'Connell on many occasions. I have always enjoyed the playing of Joemy Wilson, The Chieftans, Tommy Makem, and Solas just to mension a few.

I must also mention one person as an influence on my playing. He is Chris Stevens. Chris is a young player from Maine who is going to the all Ireland championships this year. He is an excellent player and we have traded many tunes. I hope that you get a chance to hear him play sometime. He is really remarkable.

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