The Stray Cats sang about tearing up the town on their 1981 hit ‘Rock This Town’. On ‘Wreck This Town’, the first number on Tim Hicks’ new three-song EP ’Wreck’, he picks up the pace ten-fold and basically levels the place. The song simply flies out of the gate with a driving rhythm that brings to mind ‘Bang, ‘Bang’, the chart-topping hit for Ariana Grande, Nikki Minaj and Jessie J. On his last album ‘New Tattoo’, Tim took country to a new level and now he’s pushing the envelope even further.
“At this point if anyone’s going to push the limits it’s going to be me,” says Tim, who’s calling from his home in St. Catharines. “I’m just looking for good songs that are kind of fun. ‘Wreck This Town’ was written at nighttime, outside of the normal 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nashville time frame. When we have those night writing sessions, my co-writers and I kind of throw the handbook out the window. We’re not writing with an agenda. We stop worrying about what we said and haven’t said or what’s cool or isn’t cool, and we just try to write a good song.
I listened to everything when I was growing up and I’m not ashamed to let that all come out in my songs. I think fans know at this point that what I do is as rock as it gets on the country scene in Canada. I don’t apologize for it because it’s what I do. I know pop country is in style right now but I’ve never been a guy who’s done something because it’s in style. I have to do what’s natural to me and that’s why you get a little bit of country, a little bit of rock and roll and whatever it is we’re listening to at the time.”
Tim will also be letting it all come out on his upcoming ‘Wreck This Town’ tour as he has signed renowned country music DJ Rivex to open the show and help set the party atmosphere. The open format disc jockey has entertained thousands with his unique ability to blend all types of music from hip-hop and rock to house and country. The big plus for Tim and his fans is that it will allow the singer to stretch out and delve deeper into his catalogue.
“It’s going to be fun,” he exclaims. “We’re going to do two sets. It’ll be Johnny coming out and getting the crowd pumped up and then we’re going to come out and do a set and then take a break. Johnny will come out and spin some tunes and then we’ll do another set. That’s really cool because the discussion lately when we tour is what we are not playing because now, five records in, there is a lot of material. There are a lot of singles and songs that people expect and it’s hard when you look at social media afterward and people are disappointed because I didn’t play this song or that song. If you’re playing in a festival when you’re only on for 40 minutes, I can’t fit all of my radio hits into that time frame. Now we can play longer than we’ve ever played and we can play more songs than we’ve ever played, which allows us to pick our favourites and play the radio hits and the songs that were hits with the fans that weren’t on the radio. I’m excited about being able to get out and play and not worry about the time”.
The ‘Wreck this Town’ tour kicks off overseas with March dates in Germany, the Netherlands and the U.K. before swinging down under to Australia, and then back to Canada for a cross-country trip from May to November. Tim had his first Number One hit in Canada last year with ‘What A Song Should Do’, and he also hit the top spot with that song in Australia, but one wonders what his fan base is like in the other countries.
“I don’t know,” he laughs. “I guess we’ll find out. I do know that when I was there on vacation with my wife last October for our 10th anniversary, we met up with some friends of ours who work in the music business in England. Artists are starting to make their way out to play and I said that I’d really like to do that. They said to give it 18 months and Europe would be ready for a guy like me. It wasn’t three months later that my manager called and asked if I wanted to play Europe. It’s catching fire fast over there in terms of the new country vibe and sound. There seems to be an audience and I’m excited to go over and explore it and make a few more fans.”
While Tim is certainly part of the new country vibe, one shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that his music is rooted in classic country. There is no better example of that than the EP’s first single, ‘No Truck Song’, an upbeat hurtin’ tune about the lonely feeling of driving a truck without your main squeeze beside you.
“That song came about when I was again writing at night,” Tim says. “On that night it was me, Jeff Copeland and Bruce Wallace, who I’ve written a ton of songs with. I really wanted to do a traditional country song and one of them said as long as we don’t write about trucks because we’ll never get behind it. Suddenly a light bulb went on in the room and it was, like, challenge accepted. We hit the bridge by trying to come up with all of these truck songs and we were on the floor just laughing. It was like how many truck songs can we stuff in there? How can you not smile when you hear a song like that? I’m not taking myself seriously. I’m a 40-year-old man in tight jeans, dancing around the stage. This is really just about fun so it’s exciting for me that we finally get to release one of these tongue-in-cheek songs as a single. Hopefully, people will dig the humour, get a little chuckle and we can continue this whole train ride.”
When you check out the title of the EP’s final track ‘Ride Or Die’, you probably expect to hear a ‘Born To Be Wild’ type road song. Surprisingly, the song turns out to be a big ballad and a loving tribute to his wife.
“I wish I had written that song for my wife when I asked her to marry me because that’s really where I was coming from,” he explains. This whole thing is tough on a young family. My wife is a rock star in at her job so she’s got a whole set of other things going on. Add to the mix that I’m away all the time and doing my thing and we have two little kids that are very active and starting to get involved in extracurricular activities, and you can see that our schedule is just crazy. I needed to have a song like this to come to her and just remind her that I’m thinking about her. I texted the words to my wife and told her this one’s for her and I think it’s one of her favourite songs that I’ve ever written.”
Expect to hear more new music from Tim in the not too distant future. Although he’s a traditional album guy, he knows that things have changed from the days when you would listen to both sides of an artist’s LP in one sitting.
“Yeah, I like my albums, I like my vinyl and I like bodies of work,” he says. “But people don’t consume music in the same way anymore. What’s neat about doing music this way is that it allows me to stay creative and stay fluid a little bit. If I write a song next week that I think is really great I can rush in and cut it and release it on another three-pack EP. We don’t have to commit to 12 songs that are already a year old when they get released. There’s a plan in place and we’re trying to be a little forward-thinking by putting a little bit of music out at a time.”
Here is a list of Tim’s tour dates: https://www.timhicksmusic.com/tour
Tickets for all dates are on sale now. If you don’t see your city or town on the list, Tim says not to worry because there are a lot of dates still to be announced.
Other country stuff:
Beaverton Ontario’s Sarah Wickett just released her new single ‘Did It For Me’ via all streaming services. ‘Did It For Me’ is a powerful, rocking country anthem dedicated to self-redemption. Sarah’s small-town roots along with inspirations as disparate as Carrie Underwood and Christina Aguilera have driven the sound and the creativity behind her songwriting.
2019 Alberta Country Music Award winners for Group of the Year, Nice Horse, are back with a new single entitled ‘Hot Mess’ (March 6). Nice Horse is the result of four bold women joining forces to create an all-girl powerhouse band that has graced the stages of such big-time country music festivals as Boots and Hearts, Big Valley Jamboree and Dauphin’s CountryFest.
This month’s feel-good story comes courtesy of Ottawa Valley-based country artist Danny Sylvestre who just released a new single last Sunday inspired by his experiences with his daughter at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. (CHEO) The song is called ‘Be Brave For Me’ and is a duet with 12-year-old Gabrielle Landry, the winner of last year’s Sing Out for CHEO, the annual charity fundraising event for the hospital which Danny spearheads each year.
Hot on the heels of ‘Devil By Your Side’, Saskatchewan’s Ches Anthony is back with a new single entitled ‘Bettin’ Man’ (March 6 ). While honing his guitar skills playing in a blues band for several years, Ches began to listen to old blues masters like Howlin Wolf and Elmore James and the old country grit of Johnny Cash and Hank Williams, and you can hear those influences in his own songwriting.
Music Express has two more prize packs to give away to Gord Bamford’s #REDNEK Fest tour, which includes two tickets to the show of your choice plus a bunch of swell swag. Just pick the show you would like to go to from this list https://gordbamford.com/tour/ and send it along with your name and mailing address to email@example.com
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There are two prize packs up for grabs and to win just share and repost this Facebook post with the name of Gord Bamford’s latest single featuring Jess Moskaluke.