From fronting the house band and hosting open mic nights at Grace O’Malleys in Toronto, to finding the top 10 on the country music charts on now regular basis – Tim Hicks has done a lot in his musical career.
Friday night we had a chance to sit down and talk with Tim before his headlining set at the CNE Bandshell to talk about getting to where he is now, what’s coming up, Boots & Hearts, and more… and then we went out into the crowd and watched the show, which delivered on every promise of entertainment that could have been given.
Tim talked to us about those early days at Gracie’s playing rock one night, Irish music the next, but always mixing in country. Until some time in 2009/2010 when he decided it was time to go country all night, all the time. He still remembers the girl in the crowd coming up to the stage and asking with a scrunched up face, “Are you gonna play country all night?” and asking himself if it was going to work. But as time passed he started noticing that when the band would play a rock song the crowd called out for more country. He made the right choice.
I brought up Boots & Hearts, because I really didn’t have a choice. Hicks was incredibly grateful to the people at B&H who have put him on stage for all 3 years of the festival, including a great Saturday timeslot this year opening for Lee Brice and Luke Bryan on the main stage. He told us that he knows a year is going to come when they tell him that he needs to take a break from the line-up, but I got a sense that he’d love to be there every year. And when I asked if there was still a 50/50 chance we’d see him in Bowmanville in 2015, he was eager to say yes.
Note: The humble and modest Tim Hicks came out in full force when he talked about how cool it was to hear Lee Brice and Luke Bryan shout him out for a job well done during their sets at Boots & Hearts. You can tell just by talking to him that this whole success thing hasn’t gone to his head, and he’s enjoying the ride.
That ride isn’t all smiles and beer and cheers from the crowd though. Tim told us that he’s still trying to figure out how to make being on the road work for his young family. He’s not shy about the fact that it sucks sometimes and that he asks other musicians like Dallas Smith about making it all work. But he also readily acknowledges that they’ve “won the lottery” when it comes to getting a chance to do what he loves.
Speaking of the road, Tim Hicks is getting ready to go out on tour with Dierks Bentley this fall and is super excited about it. He told us that he and the family got to spend some time with them the other day and it was a great start. He knows that this is a great opportunity for his career, and with his new album 5:01 doing well, it’s a great chance to get his music out to bigger crowds every night.
I asked Tim which 2 Canadian acts he’d love to bring out on a full tour with, and he was quick to answer…
★ The Road Hammers
★ Dallas Smith
And his American pick to join them, Blackjack Billy
I also asked about Tim’s thoughts on the state of Canadian country music and he told us that he feels like there’s a wave coming through the genre with new acts like Tebey, Jess Moskaluke, Mackenzie Porter, Kira Isabella, and Dallas Smith. He also said that acts like Paul Brandt are part of that wave with the music they’re making, using Forever Summer as an example (which is great because it’s a great song). He’s excited to be part of that group and from a fan’s perspective I can tell you that Canadian country music looks to be in great shape right now, and in the near future.
The fun questions came next and wrapped up our time with Tim Hicks.
A. All 5 work hard at what they do and deserve a chance to win, and none would be a wrong choice – but Tim told us that it would be awesome to see Mackenzie or Jess take the stage to pick-up the award in Edmonton.
Note: We asked Brett Kissel the same question at Boots & Hearts and he couldn’t/wouldn’t give us an answer – and he apologized for it. But thumbs up to Tim for giving it a shot.
Q. If we looked at your iTunes right now who would be see as your 3 most played artists?
A. It was another quick answer. And while he told us he didn’t have any Rihanna like Brett, he does have Wings in his library. Here are Tim’s top 3 in no particular order:
★ Eric Church
★ Arc Angels
★ Rascal Flatts greatest hits
Tim Hicks was gracious and humble and modest throughout our entire conversation, just like the good Canadian boy that he is, and we thank him for that. And when he came out on stage about 45 minutes later – he nailed it!
Here’s Tim’s setlist from the CNE Bandshell
Here Comes The Thunder
Buzz Buzz Buzzing
So Do I
Hell Raisin’ Good Time
Dust And Bone
A Little Drinkalong
Got A Feeling
She Don’t Drink Whiskey Anymore
Encore: Free Bird
Thanks to Trish for the pics both backstage and of Tim’s set. Check out more from Friday night and more at her blog HERE!