Daniel Hutchens, the co-founder and vocalist of beloved Athens rock outfit Bloodkin, has died after suffering a stroke, a representative for the band confirmed. He was 56 years old.
Hutchens and Bloodkin co-founder Eric Carter first met as children in West Virginia. They solidified their early friendship based on a mutual love of baseball, comic books, and rock n’ roll music. After high school, they started getting a little more serious about their blossoming songwriting partnership, and by the early ‘90s they had a catalog of over 300 compositions.
The pair also set out in search of a town to call home. After striking up friendships and creative relationships with various people in Athens, GA, Hutchens and Carter knew they had found their scene. As Hutchens told Flagpole in 2017, “We truly expected to be here six months and maybe go wherever—maybe Austin or somewhere like that. But we had a band within a week. … There were people like us from all over—people that didn’t quite exactly fit in wherever they were from. They gravitated to places like Athens. It really did feel like home… It was everything we were looking for.”
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By this time, Hutchens and Carter had given their musical collaboration a band name: Bloodkin. The first official Bloodkin album, Good Luck Charm, arrived in 1994. With various band lineups, Daniel Hutchens and Eric Carter went on to release numerous albums over the ensuing 25 years. By Danny’s own count, less than half of their songwriting catalog was ever officially recorded and released. Their most recent release, Black Market Tango, arrived just last month.
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The prolific songwriter had previously pushed through a serious health scare. In 2016, he suffered a minor hemorrhagic stroke. Within a matter of weeks, Daniel Hutchens was back onstage at the Georgia Theater singing with the band for a memorable Bloodkin & Friends performance.
Bloodkin – “End of the Show” – Georgia Theater – Athens, GA – 12/10/16
[Video: Dan Aguar Productions]
While they never attained extensive recognition outside of the Athens scene, the band’s influence is carried proudly by fellow Athens natives like Widespread Panic, who recorded a number of Bloodkin songs and play an even wider selection during live shows, including “Can’t Get High”, “Makes Sense To Me”, “Henry Parsons Died”, “End Of The Show”, “Rotgut”, “Who Do You Belong To?”, “Success Yourself”, and “Quarter Tank Of Gasoline”.
“From the very beginnings of Widespread Panic to today and beyond, Bloodkin has been one of our greatest influences,” says Panic’s John Bell in a quote on the Bloodkin website. “Danny and Eric’s music has a consistent blend of poetry, intestinal fortitude, and song-craftmanship that I envy. I can hope their example sinks in to my own approach to music. We can voyeuristically cover their songs during our sets but ultimately it’s best to listen to Bloodkin and surrender to what is coming at you—pure intention in the form of music. Bloodkin’s presence in, and their approach to, rock & roll or whatever you call it—is as much of what makes up the backbone of the Athens music story as any other band that has come through this town. That’s what Danny and Eric mean to me.”
Danny Hutchens is survived by two children Amberly and Zack. You can donate to the GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to help support them in the short term here.