James Hutchinson (musician)

James Hutchinson (born January 24, 1953) is an American session bassist best known for his work with Bonnie Raitt. Though his work takes him nearly everywhere he primarily resides in Studio City, Los Angeles, CA and Haiku-Pauwela, Hawaii.

James Hutchinson
James "Hutch" Hutchinson-American Bassist.JPG
Background information
Born (1953-01-24) January 24, 1953 (age 68)
Lynn, Massachusetts
OriginCambridge, Massachusetts; Somerville, Massachusetts; New Orleans, Louisiana
Country and Western
InstrumentsBass guitar, double Bass, guitar
Years active1960s - present
Associated actsThe Neville Brothers
Bonnie Raitt
John Cipollina
Joe Cocker
Ryan Adams


Hutchinson has worked on hundreds of recordings with artists as diverse as Willie Nelson, Joe Cocker, Ryan Adams, Bryan Adams, Jackson Browne, Ruth Brown, Charles Brown (musician), Al Green, B.B. King, Earl King, The Neville Brothers, The Doobie Brothers, Ringo Starr, Ziggy Marley and many more. He attended some classes at Berklee College of Music in the late 1960s. He always had an affinity for music and practiced various instruments as a child. After seeing Wilson Pickett's band, at age 12, he focused on the bass. His talent and drive allowed him the opportunity to play in a variety of New England bands throughout High School.[1][2]

With his mother's blessing, he moved to San Francisco after completing high school. He eventually met John Cipollina of Quicksilver Messenger Service and Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead. He participated in many sessions at Mickey's Ranch. Hutchinson joined Cipollina's band, Copperhead. He recorded an album with them in 1973 on Columbia Records. Later, he played in Link Wray's band with Copperhead drummer, David Weber, and performed with both Wray and Cipollina.[1][2][3]

While living in Guatemala, Hutchinson worked in a multitude of Central American studios. He and violinist Sid Page formed a Latin jazz fusion group called The Point. After he brought the band to Austin, Texas, they would win Jazz Group of the year at the Austin Music Awards in 1977.[4] Meanwhile, in Austin in 1975, he was introduced to The Meters by a mutual friend. He later got a call from Charles and Art Neville about playing with their new band. He then moved to New Orleans and joined The Neville Brothers Band. While playing with the Neville Brothers on the Rolling Stones 1981 Tattoo You tour he started a friendship with keyboardist Ian McLagan who introduced him to Bonnie Raitt in 1982. He moved to Los Angeles in 1983 and joined her band after her previous bassist left right before a tour. He has been playing and recording with her ever since, contributing to every recording of hers since Nine Lives.[1][2][5]

In 1992, while working in the studio with Bryan Adams in Paris, Hutchinson was invited by producer Don Was and Mick Jagger to head to Ron Wood's farm and studio in County Kildare, Ireland, to play and work on demos for the Voodoo Lounge record which he did as reported in the New York Post.

In 2006, Hutchinson was featured along with drummer Jim Keltner on the Jerry Lee Lewis recording Last Man Standing. Later that year he played shows with Bonnie Raitt opening for the Rolling Stones in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Vancouver BC.[6]

In 2008, Hutchinson participated in the production of the album Psalngs, the debut release of Canadian musician John Lefebvre. He also in 2008 worked on Blues recordings by Mike Zito, Walter Trout and Maria Muldaur as well as working with slack key guitarist Barry Flanagan of the Hawaiian pop band HAPA and touring in March of that year with Steve Kimock and Friends featuring Jerry Garcia Band keyboardist Melvin Seals.

On February 2, 2009, Hutchinson performed as bassist and co-music director (along with Chuck Leavell) at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, with an all-star band featuring Rolling Stones keyboard player Chuck Leavell, Stones sax man Bobby Keys, drummer Kenny Aronoff and Buddy Holly/Bob Wills guitarist Tommy Allsup at the Rock and Roll hall Of Fame's "50 Winters Later" concert in tribute to Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper.[7] During the summer of 2009, Hutchinson joined BK3, a band led by Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann, and completed a tour with them.[8][9] Later in the summer of 2009 and through the fall of that year, Hutchinson toured with Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal playing with both artists on The BonTaj Roulet tour.[10]

On New Year's Eve 2009, he performed with Willie Nelson and his sons Lukas and Micah, along with special guest Alanis Morissette at Charley's in Paia, Maui, Hawaii.

On February 5, 2010, Hutchinson appeared with Doobie Brothers guitarist Pat Simmons, former Doobie Brothers vocalist/keyboardist Michael McDonald and Hawaiian guitarist, singer/songwriter John Cruz in Wailea, Maui, at a CD release party for Maui singer Gail Swanson. Following that he completed a North American tour with the Hawaiian band Hapa, starting with them at Club Passim in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on St. Partick's Day 2010 and finishing on April 17 that year at The Maui Arts and Cultural Center.

On April 10, 2011, Hutchinson along with Maui residents Willie Nelson, Mick Fleetwood, Michael McDonald and Doobie Brother Pat Simmons performed together, along with Hawaiian artists Jack Johnson, Jake Shimabukuro, Cecilio & Kapono and many others on The Great Lawn of the Hawaiian Gardens in Honolulu at the benefit, Kokua For Japan. The concert and telethon raised $1.6 million for the American Red Cross and the survivors of the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and resulting nuclear disaster in Japan.

Hutchinson was the featured artist in the July 2012 issue of Bass Player and appeared on the cover.

On August 13, 2013, Hutchinson was featured along with drummer Steve Gadd and guitarist Joe Caro at the Paia Jam in Paia, Maui, Hawaii. The following month Hutchinson once again returned to Hawaii to perform on September 13 with guitarist Eric McFadden and drummer Paul Marchetti at Charley's in Paia. In late October 2013, once again between legs of Raitt's Slipstream tour, Hutchinson along with Ricky Fataar returned to Hawaii for a pair of Halloween-themed shows with New Orleans own Allen Toussaint. The Oahu shows also featured Hawaiian musicians John Cruz and Imua Garza. In July 2014 after finishing Raitt's summer tour, Hutchinson appeared on a number of west and east coast dates with Pegi Young and her band the Survivors (featuring Muscle Shoals writer and keyboard man Spooner Oldham) culminating with an appearance at the 2014 Newport Folk Festival. On October 25 and 26, 2014, Hutchinson appeared once again with Pegi Young and the Survivors at the Bridge School Benefit Concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre.

In 2014, Hutchinson was also featured on Neil Diamond's Melody Road, "Looking Into You: A Tribute to Jackson Browne" (w/David Lindley and Bonnie Raitt), Jerry Lee Lewis' "Rock And Roll Time" and the Grouch & Eligh's "The Tortoise And The Crow".

In 2015, Hutchinson once again toured with Raitt and on August 6, 2015, performed at Fenway Park in Boston with Raitt and James Taylor. They also recorded Raitt's "Dig Down Deep" which is the 11th Raitt recording on which Hutchinson has collaborated. The same year he played bass on Karen Lovely's album, Ten Miles of Bad Road.[11]

In 2016, Hutchinson played bass on Raitt's Dig In Deep and toured extensively in support the album. Also appearing with Raitt on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, CBS Saturday and Sunday Morning Shows, Good Morning America and The BBC's Later With Jools Holland. He also appeared on "This Mountain" by Pat Simmons Jr. which was produced by Patrick Simmons of the Doobie Brothers and featured Little Feat founding member and keyboardist Bill Payne, guitarist Elvin Bishop, Doobie Brothers guitarist John McFee and Hawaiian artists Kealiʻi Reichel and Willie K.

Hutchinson toured in 2017 with Raitt in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and throughout North America, including July–August with James Taylor. He also appeared on recordings by Curtis Salgado, Deb Ryder, Johnny Ray Jones and others. In November he conducted a clinic at Bass Player Live, produced by Bass Player magazine and held annually at Studio Instrument Rentals in Hollywood. On New Year's Eve 2017 he performed again at Shep Gordon and Alice Cooper's Maui Food Bank Benefit in Wailea, Hawaii, playing with Steve Cropper, Dave Mason, Michael McDonald (musician), Pat Simmons, Ray Benson, Glen Sobel and others.

During 2018 Hutchinson toured the US extensively with Raitt, and in Europe with Raitt and Taylor. On July 15 they performed along with Paul Simon in Hyde Park, London, for a crowd in excess of 70,000 before heading off to Italy where they performed in the ancient amphitheater in Pompeii. He finished the year once again on Maui performing with friends at Shep Gordon's Annual Maui Food Bank Benefit.

In 2019 JT/BR once more hit the road early in the year. BR and Band were featured performers for the third year in a row at The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival as well as doing a series of their own dates including The Willie Nelson Outlaw Tour which culminated at Farm Aid held that year at the Alpine Valley Music Theatre in Wisconsin. He also in May of 2019 appeared with the band Moonalice which features Roger McNamee on a number of Northern California dates including the BottleRock Napa Valley Festival on Memorial Day. Shortly thereafter Hutchinson was a featured Artist in the Playing for Change video "The Weight" along with Ringo Starr, Robbie Robertson, Marcus King, Larkin Poe, Hawaiian artist John Cruz and others. Hutchinson once again finished the year performing at Shep's Maui Food Bank Benefit performing once again with "The Doobie Ohana" and other artists Dave Mason, Nathaniel Rateliff and Lukas Nelson.

While working in the studio in early 2020 with Bonnie Raitt, Hutchinson appeared at Phil Lesh's Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael, California, with the band Doobie Decimal System fronted by Roger McNamee and featuring Jason Crosby. 2020 also saw the creation of Hokolele Studios in Haiku, Maui and collaborations with a number of artists in the US and overseas including Holly Lerski, David Knopfler, Marcia Ball, Gary Nicholson (singer), Duke Levine, Patrick Simmons and others. He performed on the track for Lerski's striking "Home Is Your Shoulder" video and co-wrote and produced the tracks for Lerski's video release "Mighty Big Sur"/Carmel.


Some of Hutchinson's main influences are Paul Chambers, Charles Mingus, Richard Davis (bassist), Chuck Rainey, Carl Radle, Juan Formell, Cachao, Tommy Cogbill, Rick Danko, Aston Barrett, George Porter, Jr., Jack Casady, John Entwistle, Carol Kaye and James Jamerson.[1][2]

Partial discographyEdit

With Bonnie Raitt

With Jackson Browne

With Neil Diamond

With Delbert McClinton

With Etta James

With Willie Nelson

With Joe Cocker

With Bob Seger

With Garth Brooks

With Ringo Starr

With Roy Orbison

With Marc Cohn

With Elton John

With Paul Young

With Boz Scaggs

With Ivan Neville

  • If My Ancestors Could See Me Now (Polydor Records, 1988)
  • Thanks (Iguana Records, 1995)
  • Saturday Morning Music (UpTop Entertainment, 2002)
  • Scrape (Evangeline Recorded Works, 2004)

With Colin James

With Linda Ronstadt

  • We Ran (Elektra Records, 1998)

With Maria Muldaur

  • Meet Me at Midnite (Black Top Records, 1994)
  • Fanning The Flames (Telarc, 1996)
  • Southland Of The Heart (Telarc, 1998)

With B.B. King

With Eric Burdon

With Ryan Adams

With Jann Arden

  • Happy (A&M Records, 1997)

With Richie Sambora


  1. ^ a b c d "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2020-03-02. Retrieved 2010-03-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ a b c d Roberts, Jim. James Hutch Hutchinson article, Bass Player, December 1993
  3. ^ "Copperhead". Bay-area-bands.com. 1972-12-16. Retrieved 2014-08-27.
  4. ^ Bentley, Bill. Austin Sun article, August 1978
  5. ^ Ian "Mac" Mclagan, All The Rage, 1998, Sidgewick & Jackson, p. 323
  6. ^ "Bonnie Raitt". Bonnie Raitt. 2014-06-13. Retrieved 2014-08-27.
  7. ^ "The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Surf Ballroom & Museum Announce Series of Events for 50 Winters Later Tribute | The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum". Rockhall.com. Archived from the original on 2016-06-24. Retrieved 2014-08-27.
  8. ^ "Keeping The Music Alive". Cincy Groove. 2007-11-17. Retrieved 2014-08-27.
  9. ^ [1] Archived October 7, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "web2.cfdv.net". .bonnieraitt.com. Retrieved 2014-08-27.
  11. ^ "BLUES, Roots, Americana, blues singer songwriter,BMA Nominee Best Contemporary Blues Album,Best Contemporary Blues Female Artist,Song of the Year. 7X Muddy Award Winner. Winner 2nd Place Band 2010 International Blues Challenge. #1 Pick to Click XM Radio Bluesville". Karen Lovely. Retrieved 2016-10-07.

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