Photo by Cameron Brisbane

ONE of the cruelest ironies of this existence is that by and large, no-one ever expresses the profound impact that a person has on their life until after they’re gone. In the wake of a public figure’s departure, the internet is always awash with proclamations of love for an artist and all of their works in an overt manner that would never have been displayed whilst they still inhabited the planet.

In a way that is entirely unparalleled among his contemporaries, Scott Hutchison was an exception to this rule and countless tales of face-to-face interactions with fans that have emerged over the past few days demonstrate just how much of an important role his songs played in shepherding others through the darkest of times.

Through candid, undiluted and at times explicit musings on life, love and the shape-shifting perils of the human experience, Scott and Frightened Rabbit helped to teach a generation of young people that we are all flawed and that it’s nothing to chastise yourself for. Primarily built around an honest and introspective retelling of a real-life event that had helped to shape his outlook, records such as Sings The Greys, The Midnight Organ Fight and their final studio album Painting Of A Panic Attack contain some of the most affecting and at once inspiring confessionals that you could ever hope to hear and their sincerity make for a listening experience that is unlike any other.

Photo by Brendan Waters

Ultimately, it is this unfaltering commitment to broadcasting the innermost depths of his soul that fostered such an emotional connection between the band and the hundreds of thousands of fans around the world.  As therapeutic as they are heart-wrenching, the outpouring of emotion that could be seen from fans in the wake of their recent 10 year anniversary tour of The Midnight Organ Fight clearly displayed how these rugged folk-pop tunes had became an omnipresence in their lives and their interpretations of what they meant to them grew alongside the individual.

Although it may be contained within one of his most sardonic compositions,  there is a line in ‘Head Rolls Off’ that is sure to resound in our minds louder than it ever could’ve hoped to in the past. A track which urges the listener to not allow themselves to be poisoned or ensnared by the dangers of devoting life to theology and to just live to the best of your abilities, the concluding line of its chorus sees Scott assure us that ‘while I’m alive, I’ll make tiny changes to earth. ‘

Photo by Brendan Waters

With the benefit of hindsight, we can see that this ethos would be self-deprecatory in nature as Scott and co’s music would go on to save lives at a rate that few other bands could hope to. If you’re struggling to lift your spirits in the wake of Scott’s untimely passing but don’t feel as though you’re ready to take solace in the music just yet, there are few more cathartic things to do than to read the personal tales of triumph and salvation that Scott’s music facilitated on Twitter.

While it remains difficult to fathom or comprehend how a man that aided the recovery of so many others reached a point where he saw no other recourse, it is heartening to know that there is an untold number of admirers and devotees around the world that will immortalise him through the love of his beautiful and poignant art. In the wake of a tragedy such as this, it could be easy for public perception of Scott to be skewed and see him depicted as a man that was morose or melancholic in his everyday life and held little awareness of the impact that he had on those around him.

In an attempt to ensure that this is well and truly dispelled,  this piece will conclude with a quote from an interview that was conducted prior to last year’s Electric Fields and it is one that sheds light upon the passion and immense sense of gratitude that Scott felt towards his occupation as a singer/songwriter:

“It is surreal. When I’m trying to appreciate what I’ve got rather than being a spoiled bastard, I often think about what my goals were when I started out and they’ve been far surpassed so it’s important to remember that. I didn’t want for more than being able to fill Tut’s and that’s been done a few times over. There’s been luck along the way and I’m grateful for that but there’s a loyalty to the people that enjoy our music and the fact that a lot of bands don’t sustain a career for years and allow it to grow… I’m a lucky guy is all I can say.”

RIP Scott Hutchison- November 1981- May 2018

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