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Hugh Robert Masterson grew up on an “eat your animals” sort of farm in small-town Ashland County, Wisconsin. His older brother already played guitar and had convinced their parents to get Hugh and his twin brother a bass and drum set, respectively. They learned a lot from their older brother about music (and perhaps, a little about torture), spending hours practicing the same song, planting the seed of musicianship.
Exposure to live music was quite limited to the Masterson’s; the town of Butternut offered Polka performances during special events such as Pioneer Days and weddings or the rare concert from their Uncle’s blues band from Chicago. With such scarce options, the boys absorbed most of their musical intake from their father’s record collection and the jukebox at the smokey bars they would visit.
Since leaving Northern Wisconsin and moving to Milwaukee, Hugh Masterson has performed and toured in bands that have had varied levels of success, but he always felt like something was missing. And now he’s found it. Along with his good friends Nicholas Stuart, Quinn Scharber, Bradley Kruse and Justin Krol, Hugh created and fronts Hugh Bob and The Hustle.
Hugh spent the better half of the last year working on the forthcoming, still yet to be titled debut LP with The Hustle and several guest musicians including pedal steel guitarist Jon Graboff (Ryan Adams and The Cardinals/Shooter Jennings), violinist Nathaniel Markman (Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros) and guest vocals from Nashville-based recording artist Nikki Lane.
Writing music that recalls the American music he heard in taverns, on the radio, and from his father’s record player, it’s fair to say that Hugh Bob and The Hustle are a little bit of country and a little bit of rock n’ roll. There’s even some folk and Americana in there, but this much is sure, it’s absolutely ”North Country.”
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