The Canadian country music scene is Buzz, Buzz, Buzzing about Tim Hicks.
It is not only about his latest single, of the same name, off Throwdown that currently sits in the Top 10 alongside stars like Blake Shelton and Tim McGraw. Hicks has been selling out venues on his current cross-Canada tour that stops in Penticton at The Barking Parrot on Nov. 6, and his debut album was the number one selling record of all genres recently.
“It doesn’t even feel real. To be in this position where people are listening and interested and buying the material and tweeting about it it is phenomenal. I feel like I can’t take credit for it because I am just doing the same thing I have always done, but Canadian country fans have somehow latched onto what we have going on and people seem to be digging it,” said Hicks. “Now I am able to go out and do this tour of Canada which is a dream come true in itself.”
The rising country star has been playing six nights a week for the past 17 years trying to break through in the tough music business. Ironically it took him not trying to finally make it.
“I was frustrated with the business and my wife said you should be thankful you are doing something you love and are putting food on our table because there is lots of people that go to work and hate their jobs. As soon as I let go of all that tension and pressure on myself boom the phone rang. Isn’t it funny how things happen like that?”
Now he finds himself sitting next to Alan Frew, of Glass Tiger, who Hicks grew up listening to and writing songs that are potential hits for his next album.
“I was having a beer in Nashville and he tweeted me saying I like your song we should write sometime. I tweeted back and next thing you know we had a write set up,” said Hicks.
Throwdown also charted a number one hit in Get By, certified Gold, and his song Stronger Beer found a strong following thanks in part to a lyrics video found on YouTube. The latter was a song made partly out of jest with Nashville co-writer Jeff Copeland. Hicks said he was joking about the differences between the CFL and NFL and other things that separate Canadians and Americans.
“I was in Nashville with him and said ‘Hey man, can we hit a Shopper’s I want to get a pack of Smarties. He looked at me and said ‘I don’t even know what you just said.’ It started this funny conversation about the differences between U.S. and Canada and he said we need to write this song. Everyone loved it and people see the humour in it,” said Hicks.
The album follows Hicks’ number one selling self-titled digital EP that includes the song Hell Raisin’ Good Time. Hicks said they originally planned to make a typical field party, pick up trucks and pretty dancing girls video to go along with it. That is, until the topic of the Walking Dead television show came up in a conversation. The idea of putting Hicks into a party full of zombies fit right in with the songs hook.
“Within 24 hours of talking about that we had a new script. It was really cool because I got to bring my brother along and he was in the video. The problem was because we were only there for a few days he only brought one pair of jeans. They light his jeans on fire to make them all burned out like a zombie would look. The poor guy, I had to buy him a new pair otherwise he would have been in L.A. with this burnt, bloodied jeans and have to get on the plane. It probably would have been a little weird,” said Hicks.
The country singer feels he has come on at the right time with country acts like Eric Church, The Band Perry, Luke Bryant and homegrown talent like Dallas Green growing in popularity.
“I feel like there is this new wave of Canadian country with Dallas, Chad Brownlee, Brett Kissel and Kira Isabella. It is a great time to be a Canadian country artist. I think it mostly has to do with the fans. People are interested and hungry for it. They are coming to live shows and buying records which is exceptional in this day,” said Hicks. “They don’t realize that 99 cents when they buy on iTunes goes to support somebody’s career, its not like it was when you use to sign a record deal and they hand you this chunk of money. I don’t know what is in the air but it is great right now.”
Hicks will be joined by his five-piece band at the Barking Parrot on Nov. 6 with special guest Jordan Dean. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at the Penticton Lakeside Resort.