About the Band
The Hired Hands Band is an acoustic quintet from the Kalamazoo area. Members include Dale Hein, Bill Hughes, Bob Allison, Tim Cooper and, Willy T. Rose. Dale, Bill, and Bob founded the band in 2010, originally under the name “Hein, Hughes, & Allison.” Several months later, Tim and Willy T. joined the group and, shortly thereafter, the name was changed to “The Hired Hands.”
From the beginning, the idea was to combine the members’ collective interests in the Blues, Folk, Country and Rock genres to craft an eclectic blend of truly American music. Did it work? If audience response and repeat invitations from venues all over West Michigan are any indication, the answer to that question is an overwhelming “yes!”
While the Hired Hands are technically a “cover band,” you won’t hear the same old, tired songs. That’s because these musicians prefer to journey down roads less traveled, exploring music that is often overlooked by the mainstream. The repertoire includes plenty of familiar favorites by the likes of Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and the Allman Brothers; however, you’ll hear just as many songs by lesser-known artists, such as Eric Bibb, Josh Ritter, Wilco, and The Swell Season. Whether a particular song is familiar or not, you will find that the Hired Hands give it their own signature, “Honestly Americana” flavor.
Here is a bit of background on the guys who make up the band:
Col. Bill Hughes
The Colonel is no stranger to music. In fact, he is the most schooled musician in the Hired Hands Band. His band mates often rely upon his expertise to help break down and analyze music while learning new songs. Bill originally learned to play the trombone, then eventually decided to call the bass guitar his instrument of choice. As a founding member of the Hired Hands, Bill decided to challenge himself by transferring his skills to the stand-up, string bass. He provides a solid foundation for the HHB’s “Honestly Americana” sound.
Due to his affiliation with the Seventh Son Blues Band as well as Black Cat Bone, there is no doubt that Bill’s musical influences are solidly rooted in the Blues. However, over the years he has played for a wide variety of groups, including Rock bands, cover bands, and even a Surf band! This versatile background makes Bill a perfect fit for the eclectic nature of the Hired Hands.
Bob plays guitar and is the unmistakable voice of the Hired Hands. has played guitar and sung with a wide variety of Country/Rock and Bluegrass bands in Michigan, most notably the bluegrass group, Heartland.
As a member of the Moody Coyotes, Bob demonstrated an affinity for singer-songwriters of the folk and country traditions, an interest that is wonderfully compatible with the Hired Hands repertoire!
Dale Hein plays harmonica (more commonly called “harp” in some circles) and also sings in a variety of Bluesy styles. Like Bill, Dale is heavily steeped in the Blues – he has played with variety of Blues bands in the Kalamazoo area, and recently ended a 9-year stint with the Blue Moon Blues Band. Born and raised in the St. Louis area, Dale attended college in Ohio, where he picked up the harp and learned to play the Blues.
He moved to Kalamazoo in the mid 70′s to pursue a graduate degree at Western Michigan University. During this period, Dale owned and operated a used record shop in the downtown area, which explains his massive vinyl record and CD collection, as well as his eclectic taste in music.
Tim quit the drums over a humiliating experience with his middle school band teacher. At the time, dropping out of band seemed like a superb act of defiance. However, Tim spent the better part of his high school, college, and early adult years regretting that decision. In 2000, his oldest son – then a middle schooler and accomplished drummer himself – invited Dad to attend a Summer-long, world percussion workshop. The experience turned out to be a true awakening for Tim, re-introducing him to art of drumming but, this time, with bongos, congas and other hand-played drums with exotic names. He quickly joined his church band as an auxiliary percussionist, then went on to play with 2nd Shift, a Kalamazoo-based Classic Rock cover band. Upon joining the Hired Hands in 2010, Mr. C. decided it was time to re-acquaint himself with the drum kit.
Tim’s musical roots are solidly planted in 70′s Rock, but is also heavily influenced by the Alternative Country artists of the early- to mid-90′s, including Uncle Tupelo, Wilco and Whiskeytown.
Willy T. Rose
“T” as he is affectionally known to his band mates, plays a fine, Blues and Boogie Woogie-style piano. Proficient in multiple “roots” traditions, including Country, Swing, Bluegrass, Old Time, and Irish, his presence adds some hot sauce and authenticity to the band’s “Honestly Americana” flavor. And oh yeah … did we mention this guy can sing? Willy T. can also belt out some fine Jump Blues vocals.
Mr. Rose lives up yonder in the “North Country,” and often travels great distance to play with the Hired Hands Band. When he does, his joyful sound benefits everyone in the room – the band, as well as the audience!