As Tim Hulsman’s third album, Dead Man’s Garden, opens it sounds like wide open skies and sunburnt paddocks – sounds, admittedly, that don’t exist in nature, but you imagined them, didn’t you? And you’ll imagine them when Hulsman’s guitar begins and his voice follows. While the pace of the tunes picks up, we still have the sense of being ensconced somewhere warm and comfortable, if not always comforting.
Hulsman has a background in rock ‘n’ roll, folk and blues, but on this album he also brings his talents to country music. The songs respect the traditions of all those genres – this album is old style rather than old timey. These are songs for a pub on a lazy afternoon, for an evening at home in front of a fire.
Hulsman’s voice isn’t polished – but this isn’t a ‘singer’s album’, it’s a storyteller’s album. And in saying it isn’t polished, that doesn’t mean it’s not the right voice for these songs – it’s just a way of describing his singing style. Hulsman’s wife, Nina Grant, provides more-than-backing vocals that beautifully compliment him and round out these songs that so often seem to be written for or about her. There are also songs of salvation, and of recovery from despair; they are songs that are about any human’s life, with Hulsman’s distinctive stamp on them.
Tim Hulsman is touring: