Whenever Dan Hubbard recorded with The Humadors, they’d set up in the studio as a full band and track everything at once to achieve what he describes as a “live, high-energy sound.”
In making his self-titled solo debut, the Illinois-based singer-songwriter says he and his backing musicians — led by drummer and producer Ken Coomer of Wilco fame — did “whatever fit the song best.”
On at least one occasion, it wasn’t immediately obvious to Hubbard what was best.
“At the end of a long, 10-hour day,” he recalls, “I’m just sitting down singing and playing this song to myself. My voice sounds tired, and I’m thinking we’re about done. Ken says, ‘That’s it: We’re going to do this one just like that. Stay where you are.’ ”
In short order, microphones were set up, and “Tired of Loving You” was recorded.
“[Doing it right then and there] turned out perfect for the subject matter,” Hubbard says. “That’s what was amazing about working with Ken: He just feels the songs. He’s always in the moment.”
After feeling each other out by phone in January 2015, Hubbard and Coomer convened two months later at Coomer’s Cartoon Moon studio in Nashville, Tennessee, to track the 10 songs on Hubbard’s rootsy, Americana solo debut (due Feb. 5).
“I just believe there are certain areas in the world where musical magic happens,” Hubbard says. “There’s a reason so many hit records have been recorded down there. There’s something in the air, and I just wanted to feel that.”
As for his feelings about touring as a solo artist, Hubbard admits to being a little nervous.
“I’m asking people to come out and pay money to see me, and I’m promoting so hard,” Hubbard says. “Then I look at this schedule and think, ‘Oh, yeah, now I have to actually put on a show and entertain these people all by myself. Who the hell do I think I am?’
“The truth is,” he adds, “my live show is all about connecting with the audience. I feel more vulnerable now that it’s just me, but I also feel more freedom. It’s not rehearsed; it’s about feeling out a room and trying to be in the moment with them.
I feel like I’m twice the musician and performer I was when I had a band, because I’ve had to be. You can’t hide anything when it’s just you out there.”
— By Chris M. Junior
Dan Hubbard on tour (schedule subject to change):
• Jan. 27: Music Box Supper Club — Cleveland +
• Jan. 31: Turner Hall — Milwaukee +
• Feb. 5: Castle Theater — Bloomington, Illinois (record-release show)
• Feb. 6: Legacy Theater — Springfield, Illinois
• Feb. 11: Schubas Tavern — Chicago
• Feb. 12: Off Broadway — St. Louis
• Feb. 19: Redstone Room — Davenport, Iowa
• Feb. 20: Artisan’s Sanctuary — Cedar Rapids, Iowa
• Feb. 26: Ninth Street Pub — LaSalle, Illinois
• Feb. 27: Cowboy Monkey — Champaign, Illinois
• March 3: The Hi-Fi — Indianapolis
• March 4: Third Street Dive — Louisville, Kentucky
• March 5: The Basement — Nashville, Tennessee
• March 11: Yabo — Fort Myers, Florida
• March 26: Emporia Granada Theater — Emporia, Kansas
• April 15: Old Towne Pub — St. Charles, Illinois
• April 16: Art Bar — Milwaukee
+ With Martin Sexton
Photo by Karen Bridges