Alex Hutton, aka Top-o, will perform at this year’s Fernie Stoke Fest. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press Alex Hutton is one of severl artists performing at this year’s Fernie Stoke Fest. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Alex Hutton a musician from Top-o to bottom

Some know Alex Hutton for his lumberjack looks or his legendary appearance on the Rick Mercer Report.

Some have seen him working as a security guard, a sound tech, or even skiing shirtless at Fernie Alpine Resort, however not everyone knows that the giant of a man has a soft side.

Hutton sits in his living room with his favourite instrument; a guitar he made from a soup can, an old guitar stem and a flat bike tube.

Music is a large part of the Fernie local’s life and has been for many years. Hutton will be playing at Fernie Stoke Fest again this year as he has every year since its inception.

Hutton remembers falling in love with music from a young age, listening to old cassettes while cruising in his parents’ car. It’s only in recent years that he has stepped into the role of musician.

“I always admired people who could play the guitar and sing, and I never thought that I would actually be somebody who could do that,” said Hutton.

In 2010, Hutton was new to Fernie, in town for a ski vacation. Travelling with a guitar, he attended a jam night at the Central and met two members of Shred Kelly, who had been together for four years at that time.

“I walked in and I didn’t play guitar well enough to play live, I had never really played live in front of people… So I got up and played drums and fell in love with the jam night vibe,” said Hutton.

Hutton remembers the first time he ever played in front of others, at an open mic night in his hometown of Pickering, Ontario. His song of choice was The Animals’ House of the Rising Sun and by the end of the song his knees were shaking so badly, he called for a stool.

Years went by in Fernie, and Hutton launched his own jam night at the Raging Elk Hostel. Although there were already two jam nights in town, Hutton created this as a more casual venue for those new to playing in front of others.

“It’s a very nerve-wracking thing, the first time you get up (on stage),” he said. “There was a lot of people that showed up and got their confidence from that jam night.”

Months later Hutton would see budding musicians gain confidence, move to other venues and start performing in front of bigger crowds.

“The vibe in this town is great for that,” he said. “If you get up on stage, people show you respect.”

Around town, Hutton is commonly known as Top-o, a name he acquired as a camp councillor that stayed with him through the years.

It is under this name that he will be performing at this year’s Fernie Stoke Fest, taking place April 6-7 at the Fernie Community Centre. Other acts in this year’s lineup include Jenn Frost, The Parsons, Country Smokes, Scenic Route to Alaska and Shred Kelly.

Top-o always looks forward to Stokefest, a music festival that he believes embodies a positive vibe. Hutton has worked security at the festival for several years and couldn’t recall a single physical altercation.

“It’s a very peaceful show and every year it gets better. Every year it’s a little smoother,” he said.

Stoke Fest tickets are now on sale. Visit Ferniestokefest.com.

Just Posted

Komatsu announces plans for $40M, 85k-square-foot facility in Sparwood

Komatsu Mining Corp. has announced plans to develop a new 85,000-square-foot sales… Continue reading

Former Fernie Ghostrider re-signs with Vancouver Canucks

Josh Teves has signed a two-year contract with the NHL team

Motor vehicle incident in Sparwood results in death of dump truck driver

An individual has died after the dump truck they were driving went… Continue reading

Fernie chainsaw carver wins big at Logger Days

Michael Penny placed 3rd at Powell River Logger Sports, last weekend

UPDATED: RCMP confirm one death in accident

Two motorcycles ran into the back of a vehicle towing a boat trailer on highway near Cranbrook

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Family of missing B.C. senior with dementia frustrated with situation, heartened by community support

Nine days since Grace was last seen the question remains: ‘How can an 86-year-old just disappear?’

B.C. removes personal limits for bringing home out-of-province alcohol

Previous relgulations placed limits on the amount of liquor that B.C. residents could bring home

Unsealed record suggests U.S. man convicted of murdering Vancouver Island couple left DNA on zip tie in 1987

William Talbott is set to be sentenced Wednesday in the murders of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Two brands of ice cream sandwiches recalled due to presence of metal

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a recall on Iceberg and Originale Augustin brands

Most Read