Beatroute

BEATROUTE, JUNE 5, 2008

ARMED WITH A GUITAR INSTEAD OF A GUN

TIM HUS IS SET TO RELEASE BUSH PILOT BUCKAROO WITH SHOWS THIS MONTH

By Josh Markle
It is pouring rain outside in Kamloops. I picture Tim Hus standing at a payphone on a deserted street, his collar pulled up and an old hat pulled down over his face. This is one of the first stops on his annual May pilgrimage through British Columbia. We talk briefly about the weather - it was great until a few days ago, the band having played their first outdoor show of the year under bluebird skies - and then I ask Hus where he is headed next?

"You mean in life in general?" he asks with mock bewilderment, "or on the tour?" I tell him the tour, but still he seems to be on only slightly surer footing. "Well it is hard to say when our tours start and end," Hus says thoughtfully. "I just call it the never ending highways tour. Right now we are on our annual May trip through BC - we do it every year. We just did the Kootenays, now we're on to the Okanagan, then with luck we'll be back through Calgary in time for our CD release."

The release in question is for Hus' fouth and latest album, Bush Pilot Buckaroo. This most recent installment in an already impressive catologue of cowboy Canadiana is trademark Hus: a series of colourful yarns woven into a rich account of life in West Canada - though it would be a mistake to think Hus' reach ends there. Surely the characters who pass through Hus' stories are rooted in the West, but they are certainly not unique to it.

"They sent me down to represent Alberta at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival a couple years back," Hus recalls, considering his subject matter. "People sometimes say that my songs are too regional, but I don't think that's the case. People experience the same things all over the place."

This is something that should not need explaining after listening to Bush Pilot Buckaroo - it is clear that the overarching theme is not the specifics of his subject matter but rather his ability to tell a story. Hus begins to tell me about his roots as a storyteller but we are interrupted by the distant and folksy whistle immortalized in Sergio Leone's Man With No Name series - it is Hus' cell phone.

While he curtly tells the person on the other end he is indesposed, I start to think the musical interlude could not have been more appropriate. Like the Stranger, Hus travels a never ending highway, keeping men as sharp as his own wit and honest - only with guitar instead of gun.

"Sorry about that," Hus says when he returns. "My dad was a real globetrotter. He helped to build the railroad across Australia, was a bricklayer in Brazil, and he always had great stories. His father was a storyteller, too. So I guess I come out of that tradition, only I've decided to put it to a guitar."

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