Tim Hulsman

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Tim Hulsman

Tim ‘Tonic’ Hulsman is much more than just a man playing lapsteel on stage. Together with his intimate stories and delivery, Hulsman is a storytelling experience that is about the journey and deeper meaning, rather than just getting up on stage to play through a set of songs. Finally and excitedly, we are able to get our hands on Dead Man’s Garden, Hulsman’s incredible debut record that is to be launched at Beav’s Bar on Friday, July 4. Leading up to the release of the album, Tim sat down with Forte to give us an insight into how it was created. Although he has released material in the past, Dead Man’s Garden is a lot more professional and thought out than previous releases.
“I’ve released albums in the past that were more typical naive independent CDs where you would do an album launch and release a few copies to radio and industry and then nothing would really happen past that. This time around I’m planning on touring all around the country and playing a couple of gigs in Japan. I’m really happy with this release and can’t wait for everybody to hear it.”
Recorded with Tristen Bird on his Freshwater Creek property, the lovely tones to the album’s instrumentation can be attributed to the analogue recording equipment used throughout the sessions and having an exact idea of what Hulsman wanted to achieve on this release. “We recorded the album in a big old farmhouse that Tristen was renting and he had one whole room dedicated to a studio. Different rooms were used for different sounds and instruments and I think recording in a home studio environment allowed for the album to sound a lot more free and relaxed because there isn’t the pressure of recording in a big professional studio. I was a lot more at ease.”
Influenced by the likes of Ben Harper and Kelly Joe Phelps, it was after seeing a musician playing lap steel with a jazz group at the St Andrews Hotel that sparked Hulsman’s love for the instrument. “I saw this guy playing lap steel and it sounded amazing. I went home and started playing slide on my normal acoustic and that was the first indication I think of where my music was going to develop to. I bought one from a music shop and with it they gave me a DVD of Kelly Joe Phelps playing. To this day he is one of the biggest influences on my music.”
With piano, drums and a lot more instrumentation on the album than in Hulsman’s solo live show, and teaming up with Nina Grant who sang a few duets on the album, this upcoming tour is switching into duo mode, offering a richer flavour to the tunes. Kicking off with the Beav’s Bar launch, Famous Will and Luke Legs will be there to turn this into quite possibly the best local launch of the year.
Hometown shows are always fantastic and Hulsman can’t wait to take to the stage once again. “I’m really stoked about having Luke Legs playing at this album launch and Famous Will is going to be great, too. It will be the unveiling of this duo. It’s great to be able to look across the stage and see someone else up there with me. Her vocal harmonies are chilling and my music just soars when I’m playing a gig with her.”
If you haven’t got around Tim Hulsman’s music yet, mark the Beav’s gig in your diary now. Buy the album, tell your friends and support one of your own.
When&Where: Beav’s Bar, Geelong – July 4
Written by Tex Miller