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Brooks Hubbard is a rising singer out of the Nashville music scene. Originally from New Hampshire, Brooks moved to the epicenter of the country and folk genre where he joined Justin Kimball and Nate Mould to form the Brooks Hubbard Band. In 2017, he independently released American Story, a record that blends aspects of country, blues, folk, Americana, and rock to create a unique sound. Between touring and working on upcoming projects, Brooks took the time to sit down with Colossus Music and discuss his music.
Colossus Music: Thanks for sitting down with us today to discuss your music. To start off can you tell us a little about yourself, your music, and where everything started?
Brooks Hubbard: I got into music when I was really young. My dad had his own band for a really long time, still kinda plays a bunch all around New Hampshire where I’m from. Early on I was a drummer because, when I was two or three, my dad saw me tapping my foot to the music of “Lassie” and his instinct was to go out and get me a drum kit! I still play some drums but around 12, I picked up a guitar. That was only because I wanted to sing and you can’t really be a solo drummer and sing. There were a couple of Bruce Springsteen songs that my dad taught me to play and I took it from there. After that, I learned a bunch of Green Day. I’m really into all kinds of music. As far as country music, I am sort of a new fan of that since moving to Nashville. It seems inevitable since you are right at the epicenter of country music. That’s really how I have gotten into music, been doing it since before I can remember. As far as making it the focus of my life, I really figured that out in college where I met the bass player of my band as well as a bunch of engineers and other musicians.
CM: So besides your dad and Bruce Springsteen, were there any other musical inspirations growing up? What kinds of music were you listening to as a kid?
BH: I was listening to the usual Backstreet Boys and NSYNC. But I was also listening to my dad’s music: Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, and Alison Krauss. I remember I used to ride the bus with a pack of CDs and a Walkman. I always listened to two live albums, one from Springsteen and one from Krauss, as I walked around the playground and I guarantee no one else was listening to that kind of music at my age. I, of course, had my own things too that I got into that my dad didn’t really like, particularly some hard rock and even rap music. I mean I just really am a connoisseur of different vibes and think different kinds of music can serve their purpose in any part of your life.
CM: You talked a little bit about your upbringing in New Hampshire. Having listened to much of your music, it seems to have a different feel than much of the usual stuff out of Nashville. Do you find that growing up in New England seems to have had an effect on your music?
BH: Definitely! I grew up in a really rural setting where the neighbors were more than a stone’s throw away. It was kind of isolated. So growing up, I was more of an observer and quickly realized that going out and being part of nature was for me. From that, I started songwriting, basically putting those feelings into lyrics. When you are young, there’s not much to relate to, but you can connect with the sun, summer, and swimming in the lake. I think all those elements are parts of country music and rock ‘n roll. The seasons of New England, the harsh winter and the depression that sets in, the spring, summer, and fall, I don’t think it’s solely New England but my experience there definitely influenced me. I lived up there until I moved down [to Nashville].
CM: So through college, you met a solid community of other rising artists. Is this how you formed your band supporting you or did you meet them elsewhere in life?
BH: The band is a thing that formed down here in Nashville. My girlfriend and I moved down here, but aside from some connections from college who made the move and entrance into the music scene smooth, it was really the bass player of my band, Justin Kimball, who got things started. He moved down here first for an internship from UMass Lowell, where I met him before I transferred to Keene State. My girlfriend and I were going to move to LA, but I visited Justin on my way out and ended up just staying here. Justin helped me out, starting with some recording and jamming, and then he met our drummer, Nate Mould. I started jamming with the both of them and we just had this vibe together that worked. They had a band together at the time with some other friends and I wasn’t sure yet what I wanted to be, whether a solo artist or songwriter. Then, unfortunately, their band fell apart and it sort of got thrown to me to carry the flame. It was about two years ago that we got together and decided to travel around the country and see what we could do with it.
CM: And that touring is going well?
BH: It’s going great! We’ve only really been around the country this year. We did the west coast twice this year plus we have done New England a bunch of times over the last couple of years. As far as the other parts of the country, it is still pretty new. I’m happy to say we’ve grown audiences in this first year that prove to us we are doing something right.
CM: What has been your favorite city so far?
BH: New England is always awesome because it is like a homecoming. But I would say Denver, Colorado is a really special place! Colorado, in general, is special. The Northwest is just a really cool area. We have had some great shows out in Northern California, Eureka, Portland, plus we have a big fan base in Boise, Idaho!
CM: So your first EP came out in 2014, which has that more poppy, singer-songwriter vibe to it. Then your first true album came out in 2015 and had more of a folk sound to it. Finally, American Story came out last year and songs like “Blood in the Cotton Fields” and “Colorado” clearly demonstrate some solid work in that folk genre. What’s next for Brooks Hubbard? Is a new album on the way soon?
BH: We have our first single as a band coming out around the end of December. It’s called “Kansas,” another state-themed song. It is a lonely kind of love song about being in a place where you don’t recognize anything and miss the place you just left. It’s our stab at trying to have a really singable chorus. I feel like it’s kind of an Americana or country-folk kind of sound. Other than that, we have been in the studio a lot and plan to be releasing singles throughout all of next year plus probably an EP of four or five songs. The variety of what we are doing, though, is very wide. Some stuff is more Americana while other stuff is very rock ‘n roll. It has a very Tom Petty kind of vibe to it. We are just exploring stuff together which is the cool thing about being in a band; you put three guys in a room and can blend all these sounds together.