Singer-songwriter Hugh Robert Masterson grew up in Butternut, Wisconsin – a quaint but fading small town with decrepit mills, dirt roads, farms, beat down bars, and a population of 300.
“It’s the kind of place where the silence is deafening and the stars are so bright you can feel nothing but humbled,” says Masterson. Now, his band Hugh Bob and The Hustle and their masterful self-titled debut album are bringing to life this slice of classic Americana with ruggedly poetic lyrics and sweetly winsome roots rock.
Now available to watch and share courtesy of CMT Edge, the band’s new video for “Blame Me” showcases a rowdy performance of the track with the band surrounded by fans. Read about the making of the video and watch it HERE.
Masterson’s aesthetic in both the video and the band’s recent album is a blend of hard luck stories and backwoods whimsy with crisp twang, high lonesome harmonies, and heartland rock n’ roll that comes together to form a “North Country” sound. It’s similar in spirit to country in its earnestness and its ties to American folk traditions, but details the plight of folks up North.
Live and on record, The Hustle, a band of friends with telepathic interplay, aptly backs Masterson and a unique approach to American roots music. The Hustle is: Quinn Scharber, guitar/vocals; Nicholas Stuart, bass/vocals; Bradley Kruse, keys/vocals; and Justin Krol, drums.
Masterson and Stuart played together back in The Wildbirds (along with Scharber and Kruse), with Masterson playing a supportive role for Stuart’s singer-songwriter vision. In the Hustle, Stuart returns the favor. “I’ve known Hugh for 7 years, and he’s always had song scraps in his pocket. Never a complete song,” says Nicholas Stuart. “But when he pulled out the basic structures of ‘Blame Me’ and ‘Red, White & Blue Jeans,’ I jumped at the chance to be a part of it. He has a great way of putting the listener in a place that he is, or a place that he’s been. And he just really cares for the song, down to a single lyric. That’s something that impresses me every time.”
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