Fast Forward Weekly

FAST FORWARD WEEKLY, JUNE 5, 2008

PURPLE MOHAWKED COWBOY TRUCKERS

MUST BE A TIM HUS GIG NEAR HERE

By Mary-Lynn Wardle

Despite finding success across the country, Tim Hus hasn’t figured out the best way to haul himself from coast to coast

How do you know you’re at a Tim Hus show? There’s a guy with a purple Mohawk lining up to buy an album behind a trucker, miner, logger, cowboy, college professor, skateboarder and a bunch of little kids. Also, it’s increasingly likely that if you’re not singing along, then you’re the only one in the crowd who isn’t.

“The singalong thing has actually been building for a number of years, probably since my Alberta Crude (2004) album, but it was very sporadic at first,” the Alberta songwriter says.
“Once in awhile, you would see someone who was familiar with the odd song. Today, sometimes the whole crowd sings along to the point where I can stop for a moment, and they will take over.”

With the release of his third album, Bush Pilot Buckaroo, on the revered Stony Plain label, Hus notes that people in out-of-the-way places seem to know how to sing along to the songs as well. The widespread appeal of his music is based on marrying stick-in-the-head riffs to familiar subjects.

“I have done quite a few different occupations myself, and I meet a lot of people and hear a lot of stories,” he explains. “I’m always on the lookout for a particular situation or story that has a universal appeal. I try to write songs that are entertaining, enjoyable and informative and hopefully chronicle something that folks can relate to.”

Apparently, a gamut of folks can relate, as Hus has played to an audience of kindergarten children and seniors in wheelchairs. The children jumped about and danced, and the seniors enjoyed it, too. Seems that the music keeps everyone happy — parents have told Hus that they play the music in their cars to keep their kids occupied.

For people trying to keep all the lives and all the miles from all of Hus’s songs straight, here are the basics: they’re all about Kootenay Ale beer, Peterbilt trucks, Husqvarna chainsaws, Highway 6 (Nakusp up to Slocan City, especially the bluffs), visiting P.E.I. and eating potato pancakes.

No wonder Hus has performed in places as diverse as welding shops, logging camps and Parliament Hill. His newly formed relationship with his record company was earned on the strength of his odometer.

“I am very excited to be releasing my album on Stony Plain Records,” he says. “Obviously, they are a good fit for my type of music, as they are Canada’s premier roots music label. I used to sit and listen to Ian Tyson’s albums and look at the photographs and read the album notes and see the Stony Plain logo on the album cover.”

After taking in life’s grand spectacle from coast to coast and from purple hair to the seniors’ home, Hus has only one question for the world. It’s rather prosaic for a guy who has driven up to 17 days between gigs and who has blessed the face of Canadiana with a fresh pitcher of beer: “I would like to ask if anyone knows what van, bus, truck, horse trailer or touring vehicle holds the most cowboy pickers and musical equipment and has the best fuel mileage,” he says. “Anybody have any idea?”

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