Even though he’s in every way the quintessential Calgary cowboy singer, Tim Hus actually spent his formative years in Nelson, B.C.
Like many Kootenay boys, Hus, 34, worked in logging camps to finance his post-secondary education. The rough-and-rugged logging life was ideal creative fodder for an aspiring country-folk-roots musician, and he began writing songs and playing them for his campmates – though he points out an audience deafened from daily exposure to chainsaws might not have been the most reliable gauge of talent.
Regardless, Hus began to believe he might have what it takes to make it as a “travelling cowboy singer.”
“Someone once told me that, if there’s something you really want to do in your life, then you owe yourself five years to try and do it, and then, if it doesn’t work out, you go and do something else,” he says.
A modest start
He moved to Calgary in 2002, envisioning the city as something of a Nashville North, fishing for bandmates before he had a place to live. There’s not much to say about his first show, save his recollection that it drew a rather sparse crowd. “I had one friend in town at that point, the guitar player had one friend, the bass player had a girlfriend and another friend and then two guys playing darts,” he says.
Humble beginnings notwithstanding, at the five-year mark, Hus was on the roster of respected roots label Stony Plain Records and on tour with the legendary Stompin’ Tom Connors, a professed fan. In 2005, he’d also been selected to perform for the Alberta Centennial celebrations at the Smithsonian Institution’s Folklife Festival, an annual event held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., that draws attendance figures in the one-million range. Hus shared the Folklife bill with close pal and collaborator Corb Lund and his hero, Ian Tyson.
Needless to say, he decided to continue on his musical journey.
Ten years later…
Hus celebrated his 10-year anniversary in music with a show at the Ironwood last November and recently recorded his sixth album for Stony Plain with Grammy-winning producer Harry Stinson.
These days, the part about being a “travelling cowboy singer” is especially prophetic as he plays in the area of 200 shows per year. Seems there’s a dedicated audience out there for quintessentially Canadian “storytellin'” cowboy music, or, as Hus would say, “It doesn’t take a real genius to figure out that people like to hear songs about things they’re familiar with.”
Tim Hus will be performing a tribute to Stompin’ Tom Connors on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013 at the Ironwood Stage & Grill in Calgary.