Artist: Tim Hicks
Album: Tim Hicks EP
Label: Open Road Recordings
Review by: Henry Lees
Whoa! Where did this dude come from?! That’s a question that came to mind about thirty seconds into hearing the buoyant and extremely catchy ‘Get By’, Tim Hicks‘ debut, top ten single. Co-written by Hicks and four others including Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley and Neil Sanderson from Three Days Grace, it’s as great an introductory calling card as they come and an ear worm of the most welcome kind.
With the multitude of music choices that present themselves to us daily, it gets increasingly difficult all the time for new artists to provide a truly head turning experience. Tim Hicks has accomplished just that with his self-titled digital EP. It’s a debut set that demands attention with a pleasantly zealous approach and a warm-weather, windows rolled down personality.
Recorded with producer/songwriter Jeff Coplan (Love and Theft), the five tunes on Tim Hicks are an energetic, enthusiastic and tailgatin’ ready snack pack of fun. Equal parts riff-laden rock and dobro-inflected strum and twang, this mini-collection shows a healthy range of variety in just a handful of tracks. The EP starts off with the singable stomper ‘Get By’ and keeps the party humming with the summer beach bash anthem, ‘Just Add Water’. ‘Hell Raisin’ Good Time’ turns things up another few notches with some guitar growl and the best chorus hook of the bunch. If the overall sentiment of this group of tunes can be summed up in one lyric, “There’s something about a hard day’s work that sure makes a beer taste better,” from “Nothing But Me and You” is a sure contender. Finally, while “You’ve got Brad Pitt. We’ve got Keanu Reeves,” may not be anything to particularly crow about, the us-and-them comparison of EP closer ‘Stronger Beer’ does succeed overall in making its good natured point. It’s a teasing, rah-rah Canada charmer that will undoubtedly get every crowd’s emphatic approval, from rowdy clubs to arena bowls.
A tee-shirted and baseball capped every guy in his debut video for ‘Get By’, Hicks hails from St. Catharine’s, Ontario. He fine-tuned his chops on the road in his twenties with week after week, year after year of roadhouse gigs for the boots and beers crowd. He followed a more rock and roll path until discovering a better fit with country a little ways back. “About six or seven years ago I put on a pair of boots and did my thing, and I felt, ‘I’m home.’ This is where I belong.” Hicks told the St. Catharine’s Standard in an interview. “It’s good singing, good songwriting, and there’s a base of people that really truly enjoy it.”
Hicks is also a studied, journeyman songwriter who, along with the talented and pro bunch of co-writers he hooked up with for this project, has a packed tackle box full of hooks to pull from. Some Canadian fans will already know him well from crowd winning performances as an opener on Chad Brownlee and Dallas Smith‘s Boys of Fall Tour last November and the 2013 CMT Hitlist Tour with Emerson Drive, Doc Walker and Aaron Pritchett last month. Upcoming high profile summer gigs at the Cavendish Beach Music Festival in P.E.I and Ontario’s Boots and Hearts Festival will set Hicks sailing nicely into a good possibility of taking home some hardware at the 2013 CCMA Awards.
With its infectious melodies and exclusively up-tempo vibe, Tim Hicks will definitely add some punch to your summer party playlist this year.