Early in the day at Edgefest, I had the chance to chat with Ryan Hutcheson, guitarist from Gentlemen Husbands. It was such a sunny day, so we stood under a tree to make sure we were in the shade. The guys had several interviews lined up, but Ryan was incredibly relaxed.
Given their busy schedule, it’s amazing that he can be so relaxed. Their summer has been filled with “festivals and more festivals,” including Bluesfest, a Canada Day show in Ottawa, SCENEfest, NxNE, Burlington Sound of Music, and the Kee to Bala, with even more in August that have yet to be announced.
Ryan says, “That’s kind of how all of our summers are. We intend to take it easy and say ‘we’re going to take it easy this summer and write and demo a lot,’ but it doesn’t happen.”
While they haven’t used the summer to write, Ryan assures me that they’ve been writing a lot. “That’s kinda what we used the spring for. We played a lot throughout the winter up until April, so there’s a couple months in the spring where all we did was just write and demo. We’ve got a couple albums worth of demos right now, but it’s just a question of when we’re going to do a record and who with and that’ll all fall into place, I’m sure, as things go along.”
Looking back on how the sound has evolved, Ryan says, “It’s become more of a rock band. That’s where we all come from. The three of us – Jed, Dan and I – all come from the same hardcore band and we’d been doing that for years. And then when we started off with this, it was kind of more country and folky. It had more acoustic and harmonica and definitely that more alt country sound, and as the years progressed, over the last couple, I don’t hear it anymore. People still get the alt country thing or the folk thing – we don’t hear it.”
He pauses and then says, “If that’s what comes across without us intending it to, then it’s a bit more natural and I think that’s probably a good thing because we don’t hear it anymore. Everyone’s always like, ‘Well, I don’t like country, but I like you guys.’ Well, that’s good. We don’t think we’re country, but I’m glad something’s coming across.”
With plenty of festivals under their belt and more on the way, Ryan modestly describes their live show. “Hopefully it’s good. Hopefully it’s not going to see your average local band play a bar. We try to make it a little bit more of an event than that. We don’t like to just kind of dick around and do it as it comes. We spend time on putting our set together and our stage set up and making sure everything is right, as far as the look and sound of everything. And making sure it’s an actual set, so the songs flow in the proper order.”
Ryan then laughs, “We put a lot of thought into everything. We probably overthink most things, but that’s kind of our way.”
As Ryan talks about how festival set times range widely, considering their set at Ottawa Bluesfest was an hour and their set at Edgefest was 20 minutes, someone runs by and yells, “INTERVIEW!” It turned out to be Cubby from The Reason, running to the stage as he was still putting on his vest. Ryan jokes about him being half-dressed before returning back to his thoughts.
Having seen Gentlemen Husbands a few times now, their live show has always been quite intense with fans crowding the stage. While these guys are from Cobourg, they seem to have a lot of hometown supporters wherever they go. Ryan says, “The funny thing about Cobourg is that most people move to Ottawa and Toronto. It’s no doubt that we have a lot of hometown support. We really can’t go to Ottawa or Toronto for a show, or otherwise, and not run into someone from Cobourg. Even Dirty Mags that were opening up the side stage today, a couple of them went to high school with us. They’re from Cobourg, as well. The hometown isn’t very supportive, but all the people from the hometown that have gone to London, Ottawa, Kingston and Toronto and everywhere are all very supportive. There’s no music scene in Cobourg. There’s nowhere to play, it’s non-existent.”
With a non-existent music scene in Cobourg, the guys have built up communities everywhere, which Ryan indicates to be important. “It really shows today, especially. Every band knows every band here. There might be the odd one out, but within the first half an hour of being here, it’s like, ‘Oh, there’s our buddies in this band and this band and this band.’ I mean, aside from the American bands here, everybody knows everybody. And everyone had kind of come up together and you kind of see the stepping-stones that other bands take and you learn from the older bands and the older bands learn from you. And it all works out really well. Everyone supports. We try to go out to many shows of bands that we are friends with and that are playing here today and vice versa. We go to Hamilton and we hope to see the Monster Truck and The Reason guys out and vice versa.”
Unlike some of their counterparts, though, Gentlemen Husbands are not big drinkers. While they do drink beer, they’re not the party types. “We’re pretty tame. We’re a pretty boring bunch. People are always surprised by it, even people we work with. They’re like, ‘What do you? You’re a rock band!’ and we’re like, ‘Uh, no, we just kinda hang out amongst ourselves.’ I doubt if today, the whole day and night goes by and anyone has a drink. We’re homebodies. We play a lot and we’re out a lot, but we’re definitely homebodies and keep close together and generally make it home after every show.”
Needless to say, Ryan, who actually doesn’t drink himself, couldn’t provide a good drunken story, not even one to sell out his bandmates. “I’m sure there are some from a few years ago, but I can’t recall. We’re not much of a party band. I’m sure there are some and I’m sure that they can do a better job telling you than I, because I’m generally not around that late in the night. I’ll go out and sleep in the van, or wherever, when they’re staying up.”
While Ryan doesn’t drink, he does assure me that he knows his bandmates well enough to say their shot of choice is rye.
Gentlemen Husbands just announced that they will be playing Low Key Fest on August 27, but they have more up their sleeves that hasn’t been announced yet, so pay attention. I assure you that their live show is one to be seen.