Daniel Hutchens, a prominent Athens musician known from the band Bloodkin, passed away on May 9. Hutchens was 56.
Hutchens, a native of West Virginia, moved to Athens in 1986, with childhood friend and Bloodkin co-founder Eric Carter. Bloodkin, which is known for its Southern rock sound, made several songs that were later covered by the Athens group Widespread Panic, such as “Can’t Get High” and “Quarter Tank of Gasoline.”
The band said in a statement posted on Instagram that Hutchens had a stroke on May 7, when he was taken to the hospital and put on life support. The post said although Hutchens was on life support, doctors were “clear that he had passed.”
“We have all felt your love and energy with us as we say our last goodbyes. With tears in our eyes and a lump in our throat, we share the news of his spirit passing,” the post said.
Hutchens is survived by his two children, Amberly and Zack. A GoFundMe page organized by Hutchens’ former wife, Kristy Steading, to support the family in the wake of Hutchens’ death has raised almost $20,000 in only four days.
Hutchens was known by many for his extraordinary musical and song writing abilities, but he was also known for being kind and down to earth. Graham Coffey, a University of Georgia alumnus and Bloodkin fan said Hutchens was a “prolific musician.”
“He was just such a kind person and you could always really feel that, even in an audience,” Coffey said.
In a 2016 Q&A with The Red & Black, Hutchens discussed his lengthy career in the Athens music scene.
“People just seem to genuinely root for each other and that’s always been the thing about Athens, to me, and probably the reason that I have made it my home,” he said in the Q&A.
Coffey said Hutchens made music for “really pure reasons,” and that he was always willing to perform in a variety of venues or alongside smaller bands. It wasn’t unusual to see Bloodkin interact with upcoming bands or college outfits, he said.
The Athens music community has mourned the loss of Hutchens on social media, with posts popping up on Instagram and Twitter from venues like the 40 Watt Club and publications like Paste Magazine. The Georgia Theatre updated its marquee to read “RIP Danny Hutchens, We Love You.”
Coffey wrote a piece in memoriam of Hutchens for Dawg Sports, in which he described Hutchens’ musical talents and the experiences he had with Bloodkin’s music through the years. He said Hutchens’ passing was a “tremendous loss.”
“My experience with Daniel and his music making is that he loved to make music, and he had a gift that the world needed to be shared,” Coffey said.