The Radio Hour Present New Album ‘Tim Hort’

There are many instances during Tim Hort’s The Radio Hour album where R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe’s voice comes quickly to mind. Maybe none more so than with “Missing From The Township,” which not only finds Tim Hort singing a lot like Stipe, but is also backed by a slightly jangling electric guitar part that sounds a whole lot like early R.E.M. in places. There’s much more going on with this recording, though, with many inviting colors spread throughout.

It’s also a long album, by the way, so be sure and carve out plenty of time to take it all in. This project lasts more than an hour, with seventeen engrossing tracks. As mentioned before, there is plenty of variety to behold with The Radio Hour. The title track, “Radio Hour,” for example is a soft, acoustic guitar-accompanied song. Then a couple of songs later, “Chemistry” begins with tinkling acoustic piano, and then is later joined by classical string work. Hort’s vocal on it is soft and vulnerable.

Hort is a Chicago area artist, which makes one wonder why a west coast city is referenced in “Burbank, California.” That city may not be as famous as, say, Los Angeles, but it is home to the Disney movie studio and was once the home of NBC TV. Some may fondly recall how Johnny Cash used to joke about beautiful downtown Burbank, back when he was a longtime host of The Tonight Show. Musically, this one gets pretty loud in places with its electric guitar part. “The Killer On The Kennedy” is another intriguing title. It, also, is on the louder side. It sways and jerks to a noisy lumbering rock groove. Is it about a place? Is it about the famous Kennedy family, which included JFK? Hort leaves much of this to our imagination.

This singer/songwriter sings and sounds troubled much of the time on this album. Perhaps it’s just the natural tone of his singing. However, it’s more likely that Hort is a passionate individual with plenty on his mind. Even a song with a promising title like “World In A Day,” which suggests curious global exploration, feels decidedly stressed out.

The album closes with “Body,” a song heavy on percussion. It begins with a foreboding feel to it. It finishes the album much the way it’s started with, opening with “Death By Water” and a relative downer vibe. Any time you begin your album with a song that features “death” as the first word in the title, you can be pretty sure you’re in for a somber time.


Yes, Hort can sound like Michael Stipe and those Georgia boys, R.E.M. However he also enunciates far better than Stipe did back during that Athens, GA act’s earliest days. When you do listen closely to what Hort is singing, you likely won’t be left with a smile on your face. This is serious music, from a serious man. Such serious music has its place, for sure. However, it would have been appreciated had Tim Hort lightened the mood just a tad, though. Over an hour of seriousness is a lot. Therefore, brace yourself, if you decide to take this one on.

-Dan MacIntosh