Hus: Canadiana cowboy
FOR THIS CALGARIAN, BIG VALLEY IS JUST MORE FODDER FOR SONGS OF EVERYDAY LIFE
By JENNY FENIAK, SUN MEDIA
From classics to newcomers, every angle of country music has been represented.
Tonight's main stage line-up, closing out with Carrie Underwood, is just as unique.
Opening the big stage today is Canadiana cowboy musician Tim Hus, and although he bears very little resemblance to Underwood, they both have made the relatively new transition between live stage performances and reality television.
While Underwood's fame followed her American Idol appearances, Hus's reputation earned him a place on the show Letters.
"It was a bunch of guys trying to win over this one woman, but they never got to see her. It was a company out of Ottawa that filmed it and they did it out of the Rocky Mountains and I guess they wanted all those Western Canadian themes and stuff," he said.
'I WAS THE GUY'
"So, I was the guy they called in and that was on an episode where they all had to write love songs for the girl," Hus explains from his home in Calgary while preparing for yet another road trip.
But for the 28-year-old troubadour, who has been praised by Stompin' Tom Connors, his television appearance is far from the high point of his young career.
"One of the coolest things I've done musically was when they sent me down to Washington D.C. last year to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival," says Hus, who has followed Connors's example of heralding everyday Canadian life in song.
"A lot of people, they often say they knew from a very young age what it is that they wanted to do, and I guess I sort of evolved into being a travelling cowboy singer," Hus says.
"I didn't really grow up in a musical family, but I grew up in a family of storytellers and travellers."My father was a sailor for the merchant marines, so he worked on ships all around the world and saw most of the world that way and my grandfather's quite a storyteller too.
"But any time we'd go to a party or potluck or something like that, it would always be my dad telling stories with a big crowd of people around him because there was rarely a place he hadn't been and he had tons and tons of stories.
"And I knew I could never really outdo him with the storytelling unless I had a guitar."
Hus says his love of storytelling attracted him to the music of Johnny Cash and Woody Guthrie, which was fairly easy for a new player to pick up.
'ALL TONE DEAF'
He lucked out when taking it to the next level of singing for an audience by playing for his fellow workers in an isolated logging camp.
"That was a great bunch of people to play for because they were all tone deaf from chainsaws and generators and quite entertainment starved. So I would sing for them in the camp in the evenings," says Hus.
"Then I started writing some songs and I think the first song I wrote was about the logging camp, and of course that went over really good because it was basically all about what we were doing there."
Hus has kept up his stories in song as he travels through life, working as everything from a salmon farmer to brewery driver to well driller and now a Jamboree main stage performer.
So make sure you catch his show, because one day you may hear him singing all about it.
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