Born and raised in various rural parts of Scotland and England, Patrick Hutchinson came to Montreal in his late teens, and has been involved in various musical and other cultural activities here for the last four decades. He has no formal musical training, but has been fortunate to learn on the job from a wide range of great musicians.
His formative influences were the traditional Scots, Irish and English folk music he absorbed from his parents; and the underground scenes of punk, reggae and new wave of his own generation. One of his first songs, about murdered South African activist Steve Biko, came out on a regional compilation in the UK in 1979 after he emigrated to Canada, and once in Montreal he was a founding member of ska-reggae collective Top Ranking in the mid 80s. At the end of the decade, Patrick Hutchinson started roots singer-songwriter duo Bare Bones with singer Suzanne Nuttall, who put out several albums and toured coast to coast in Canada, playing folk festivals as well as opening shows for many international touring artists from Ani diFranco to Johnny Clegg.
In the second half of the 90s Patrick Hutchinson plunged back into the Celtic music he'd grown up with, playing many events around Montreal's Irish community. From this developed eclectic and danceable world folk trio Swift Years, combining his influences with the Eastern European roots and music of mandolinist Bob Cussen and bassist Suzanne Ungar: Swift Years have released five albums, and played hundreds of gigs all over eastern Canada. In parallel with this, he co-hosted weekly Celtic traditional music sessions with Bob Cussen and Irish singer and bodhrán player Belfast Andi MacGabhann for nearly two decades, welcoming all-comers and their music in various pubs around Montréal.
In the late 2000s, while exploring various other music scenes around town, he met versatile harmonica player John Kerkhoven, and their informal jams turned into an acoustic duo called BluesReel, combining Celtic, blues, and other roots musics. Bluesreel have released two albums, their most recent Saint-Quentin in 2020 featuring Canadian folk legend Gilles Losier on several pieces. As well as concerts around Québec, BluesReel have toured Manitoba with the Home Routes house-concert network, and played the WinterFolk festival in Toronto.
Since the pandemic, Patrick Hutchinson has been doing eclectic solo live-stream concerts from home every Monday evening on Facebook, often benefiting various local street-level community organizations with the funds collected.
As well as performing as a musician, he has worked as a DJ (at premier live funk club Checkers through the 1980s) and as a live sound technician through the 2010s (at the wild and diverse world/folk/jazz venue l'Escalier.)
As a writer, he wrote music features in the Montreal Mirror for the first year or two of its existence, as well as several other more short-lived cultural publications. He is currently working on a musical memoir, with particular focus on Montreal scenes. His creative non-fiction piece A Visit From Samson was selected by the CBC/QWF Literary series, and published in the collection In Other Words: New English Writing In Quebec in 2007.
He has also worked in education, doing annual songwriting workshops with Sec II English students at Collège Durocher St-Lambert since 2010.
Patrick Hutchinson's varied career thus far has been characterized by his enthusiasm to explore, learn and communicate; and his ability to make himself at home and to work with others in a wide variety of artistic and social situations. He hopes to keep on creating and performing as long as he lives.