Christian Lee Hutson, Fenne Lily, and Work Wife Soothe the Fine Line

Photo by Smouse

Last updated on June 6th, 2023 at 12:47 pm

A trio of folk rock artists graced the stage at Fine Line last night, bringing stories, wit, and laughs to the engaged audience. Christian Lee Hutson, Fenne Lily, and Work Wife filled the evening with a stress-free, relaxing experience that felt like we were all hanging out as friends in the same space. The camaraderie between musicians was thick, with Hutson even sharing that his top streamed artist in 2022 on Spotify was Lily.

Photo by Smouse

Work Wife

Opening the evening was Brooklyn-based indie rock trio Work Wife, with special guest guitarist Sam Skinner from Pinegrove. Wearing a “Brittany Spaniels” dog shirt she wore to bed the past two nights, singer Meredith Lampe led an energized set of dynamic songs. “Too Young To Understand,” which Lily later revealed she repeatedly streams, was beautifully performed with slide and sheening guitar.

Photo by Smouse

“Brian Eno” was a personal favorite as Work Wife built the song up, piece by piece, into a buzz of release. Lampe’s touch of auto-tuned vocals for a few tracks also provided a fresh dynamic, mixing with a banjo.

Fenne Lily

I already regret that I didn’t pick up Fenne Lily’s newest record Big Release on vinyl. By the second song, “Dawncolored Horse,” the super chill vibes and soft blend of instruments had everyone’s attention.

Photo by Smouse

“Lights Light Up” came next with a catchy bass part and Lily’s soothing murmur of lyrics. The blend of humor and charisma between songs kept everyone smiling. Before playing “Pick,” Lily shared that she was trying to make it go viral on TikTok…only to end the song and immediately state, “I didn’t mean the TikTok thing. I don’t really understand it enough to want it.”

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“In My Own Time” saw Hutson joining on the keyboard. The soft harmonies and lullaby of the song encapsulated a magical moment. As the only breakup song on the new album, it’s an incredible showcase of raw emotion and honesty of recovering from something special. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lily was my top-streamed Spotify artist in 2023.

Christian Lee Hutson

The best-kept secret of Christian Lee Hutson returned to the stage accompanied by a mashup of Vanessa Carlton and AC/DC. Walking around the venue, it felt like each audience member had their own unique private friendship with Hutson. Pockets of singing, swaying, and smiling showed connections built from clever lyrics and authenticity.

Photo by Smouse

Lily joined on the keyboard as I almost expected a Version Suicides moment with “There She Goes.” Instead, we got a perfect collaboration on “Twin Soul,” combining two gentle voices for full emotional impact. Between funny stories of birthday trips to Hooters and his father pooping his pants, faster songs “Get The Old Band Back Together” and the rare performance of “Creature Feature” were jolts of energy between individual soft singalongs in the crowd.

Photo by Smouse

The encore saw another unique treat with Hutson covering Better Oblivion Community Center, a band created by his friends Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers. “Chesapeake” silenced the venue and lured out secret personal recordings on cell phones. Although Hutson’s “Lose This Number” and “Northsiders” are still favorites to hear live, these deeper moments and rare performances truly make a show.

Photo by Smouse

Written by Smouse

Having spent 13 years recording and producing Minnesota artists, along with running a small record label, Smouse is a passionate advocate of musicians and artists in Minnesota.


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