Taking Flight With Thomas Hine’s
“Some Notion or Novelty”
Driving through forested interstate, it takes but one sole hawk in the air to remind me of the wildlife inhabiting the foliage just yards away, sight unseen. Indie folk singer-songwriter Thomas Hine‘s music is such a reminder of the many talented artists whose music rides the airwaves of community radio specialty shows, camouflaged from the mainstream.
With his latest album “Some Notion or Novelty” recently released March 28, 2016, Hine has relied mainly upon the quality of his music to generate exposure through word-of-mouth and published reviews. I was fortunate enough to learn about Hine, prior to his album release, through a UK radio show specializing in Americana and folk music, and he was kind enough to grant an interview for me to learn more about him and his music.
“Some Notion or Novelty” follows Hine’s previous albums “Forgive My Nature” (2013) and “Into the Bottomlands” (2011). Like his past works which included guest accompanying musicians, Hine adds several talented musicians on his new project: Tina Kärkinen from her band Swaying Wires in Finland on backing vocals (Koblenz Corner); Jane Turner on backing vocals (La Belle Riviere, The Turn That Time Had Taken); Mike Pearson on slide guitar (Just Like Juan Ortiz, The Return (alternate)); Sadie Hine on backing vocals and trumpet (The Return (alternate)); and Jason Wheeler on drums (Before the Sun Rises, Koblenz Corner). (-I’m Kingfisher-, aka indie folk artist Thomas Jonsson of Sweden was a guest musician on Hine’s previous album “Forgive My Future.”)
Hine’s new album has already generated international airplay and also has received a wonderfully written review from Theo Volk of Dutch music website “Johnny’s Garden,” who not only hails the attributes of each of Hine’s songs, but even goes into detail about the background of some of the songs’ subject matter.
According to Hine, “‘Clodia+Songs’ is probably one of the stronger tracks”… “and it is about the unfortunate disposability of modern relationships (with a nod to the Roman poet Catullus), and also is about the reality of the disposability and cycle of songs and songwriting, which is a natural part of being a musician, but more-so in today’s instantly forgotten atmosphere.”
With Colorado as his home, Hine spent the past two years working on “Some Notion or Novelty.”
His music is a reflection of Hine’s love for nature (he is also a biologist and wildlife photographer), his respect for the history that lives on in his area of residence, and of challenges Hine faced in his own life during the making of the album.
“I had some songs together in the Fall of 2013, written mainly the way I had in the past, and they came pretty easy (Monsters, Koblenz Corner, Never Forget, La Belle Riviere). But then a little after that time it just seemed like everything shifted in life.”…”And I had some very very difficult times and even moving forward with music and the rest of the album it just seemed more laborious and less joyful than in the past.”
Although having to deal with personal strife, those experiences and extra time taken to complete “Some Notion or Novelty” resulted in inspiration for new songs, and hence in a stronger album, according to Hine:
“But my attention level towards (the album) increased and I think it is a higher quality product of mine, (though) it took more time.”…”…(S)ome real life circumstances and events in those troubling times (became) the subjects in most of the additional songs.”
Hine elaborates how those experiences shaped the writing of some of the songs.
“So the album was a work, and a working-through all of this, and I just felt like I was outside of time. There is a reference to that in the opening track “Before the Sun Rises”. The second track “Just Like Juan Ortiz” is a somewhat literal interpretation of the story that Juan Ortiz told after being ‘found’ by De Soto and his expedition…”…”I think subconsciously there are a lot of parallels between the content of the first two songs and how I wrote them. They are very similar but from different perspectives and sound quite different obviously. It wasn’t intentional, but I kind of like how the mind works sometimes, so that’s why they appear together at the beginning. The first song is more my perspective and the second is more his (Ortiz), but they both incorporate a feeling of being alien, unsavable and of losing one’s footing”…”(Also both tracks) reference the title of the album and also reference the hope of the Sun and sunrise.”
Hine balances the darker songs with “…more optimistic or comforting tracks (such as) The Return, The Turn That Time Had Taken, and My Nature.” Hine further states “My Nature being kind of the re-appearing in the world, with a new, though lonely, optimism and new familiarity with the true formative and creative aspects of existence.”
I listened to Hine’s album twice, reading his lyrics the second time around. Hine’s songs are graceful, organic, and honest in presentation of Hine’s vocals and gentle instrumentation. Even the album cover art, described by Hine as a “joyful Sunset in the foothills here in Golden (Colorado) in summertime,” reflects the organic nature of Hine’s sound. The lyrics indeed are poetic in prose (just as music writer Volk stated in his review of “Some Notion or Novelty“); this is one of the few albums where I felt that reading the lyrics while listening to all thirteen songs enhanced the already enjoyable experience of hearing “Some Notion or Novelty“; the collection of songs could be considered as one whole piece of art as a result.
Looking back on this journey, Hine is satisfied and happy with his album, but stays firmly grounded. “…But everything has turned out well. It always seems to actually! But the (process of) getting there keeps getting harder.”
At this point, Hine’s goal is to take “Some Notion or Novelty” to the Netherlands and Europe and to tour solo in late summer and fall of this year.
In addition, one can find Thomas Hine performing in the Denver, Golden and Boulder, Colorado areas in venues and festivals such as:
-Highlands Cork & Cafe (Denver)
-Beat Book Shop on Record Store Day (Boulder, April 16, 2016)
-the Golden Moon Speak (April 30, 2016)
-Denver Chalk Arts Festival
“Some Notion or Novelty” can be purchased at the following retail and online outlets:
-Amazon, iTunes, etc… (nationally and internationally)
-Twist and Shout (Denver)
-Beat Book Shop (Boulder),
Like Hine’s Facebook music page for the latest details regarding gigs and tour dates.
Thomas Hine’s Facebook music page:
Thomas Hine’s webpage via No Depression website:
Thomas Hine’s Spotify: