Tim Hus makes the kind of country music that reminds you of why you ever loved country music in the first place. To play this album is to recall that country was once called “country & western” for a good reason. These are songs with musical notes that circle and dance around you like a finely choreographed Western rope routine. Before you know it, you’ll be headin’ for the nearest railroad tracks, hoping to hop a train headed to the furthest gold mining town from wherever you are. With a voice as authentic as Johnny Cash, Tim Hus sings songs that sound so right you’d swear they just arrived in a time capsule from the golden age of country music.
Produced with an uncluttered confidence in the material by Harry Stinson, Western Star captures the essence of traditional country music and delivers it with energy and wit. It’s easy to imagine what a Tim Hus live concert must be like — a heck of a lot of fun and overflowing with musical bravura. This album is an incredibly successful balancing act, treating each player with respect and playfulness, with everyone (including, but not limited to, guitarist Kenny Vaughan, fiddler Billy MacInnis, upright bassist Riley Tubbs and Harry Stinson on drums) getting the chance to shine in the spotlight throughout.
Tim Hus is part of a vibrant country music scene that inhabits the most logical place left for the genre to grow deep roots — Canada. Country music thrives within wide open spaces; maybe to sing with true freedom requires the ability to throw one’s voice across a canyon, a prairie or at least a big ol’ barn or dance hall. Whatever it is, clearly Tim Hus has what it takes to serve the music best. As good as the musicianship is (and it’s mighty good), Hus cleverly emphasizes the words, which makes the melodies all the more effective. His phrasing has a way of letting the poetry of the lyric connect with the rhythm of the song, convincing this listener, at least, that he must have written the words and music at the same moment. It’s enough to convince you that the best days of country music are still ahead… and just a little north.
Tim Hus is my kind of “western star.”