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12 questions with Eric Hutchinson

Singer-songwriter Eric Hutchinson returns to Nitefall on the River with opener Tess Henley on Wednesday, Aug 5 at 7 p.m. We asked him a few questions about Des Moines, his tour with Kelly Clarkson and more.

You've come through Des Moines a number of times. What about this city stands out most to you?

I like playing there because I feel like people appreciate music and culture. Some towns I roll through don't. Des Moines really appreciates the arts. And I love where we're going to be playing. We played it once a few years ago. I love being by the river. It's a cool night, for sure. Last time we had a fun turnout, people from 5 to 55 were there.

What's one of your favorite lyrics from one of your original songs?

I just got a tweet from somebody who wants to get some of my lyrics tattooed on her. Those lyrics are: "Though I don't have much of a choice, I resolve to regain my voice."

Do you have any tattoos?

I kind of feel like my songs are my tattoos, I look at them the same way. I don't put anything out there that I wouldn't want to be a part of me for the rest of my life.

If you could co-write a song or perform with anyone, who would it be?

I'm really trying to open up for Billy Joel. He's been doing one show a month in Madison Square Garden for a year or so now and been having different openers. I grew up a huge Billy Joel fan and it would just be a really special night to open up for him.

Do you feel that being a part of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 soundtrack expanded your audience?

Absolutely expanded it. That was a time period where there were a lot of things going on at once. It was kind of a blur as people say. I was getting a lot of radio play and movies and different stuff. I like that every time I meet somebody, everyone has a different story of how they heard my music. You never know how someone's going to get turned on to it.

What's it like touring with Kelly Clarkson while headlining your own shows at the same time?

It's definitely busy, but I'm having a lot of fun. I keep telling the band it feels like summer camp. We're just out in fantasy world getting to live the dream every night and go up onstage and play music, make fans and play outdoors. I'm having a good summer.

What inspired your new web series #backstagebartender?

I'm excited about that. I was making a lot of drinks before I was leaving, just kind of experimenting with stuff at home. I was kinda like, I want to do this on the road. I got some alcohol and have been asking different special guests to come, and I show how to make a drink. I just finished the first episode, so that'll be up soon. It's just been fun for me to do when I've got some downtime traveling.

What's your signature cocktail?

I don't want to spoil it. I've got some certain drinks that I like to make. I'm a big gin fan.

What's the story behind your Funny or Die music video for "Forever"?

It was an idea I'd had for a long time and really wanted to do it. It was fun, but it was also a disaster on set. Once we got the babies and the puppies out there, it was madness. We only got a few takes of it. It was definitely one of the most interesting too shoot, and it was cool that Funny or Die got involved with it.

What's it saying about the current music industry?

It was definitely kind of poking fun a little bit at how everyone just wants views and hits and clicks. It was certainly a little bit satirical that way.

What's the craziest thing a fan has ever said or done for you?

I have a lot of people who make crazy long road trips and they say they drove nine hours to get there. That kind of dedication keeps me motivated to keep playing.

Anything you want to say to your Des Moines fans before you hit the stage?

I'm excited to be back. It's definitely a city I always make sure we can hit on tour. I love getting to play and feel the show is the best it's ever been. It's really high energy, the band is super tight -- just having a lot of fun out there.