Good friends, good food and drinks, and good music are the three key ingredients for a memorable evening, and Half Cut has helped make some wonderful memories for all their audiences.
This rock ‘n’ roll band has been playing together for just over a year, and hasn’t let Covid 19 slow them down. As soon as lockdown was lifted in the summer, they were back up on the stage and had many of their fans singing and seat-dancing their way through evenings of diverse music. With strong male and female lead vocals, they cover an immense range of songs, including Dolly Parton’s Jolene, Joe Cocker’s Unchain My Heart, Roadhouse Blues from The Doors, Doobie Brothers Listen to the Music, The Animals House of the Rising Sun and Melissa Etheridge’s Somebody Bring Me Some Water.
With a quartet of experienced Maritime musicians, their line-up includes lead singer Nikki Timmons, guitarist and lead singer Ian McLaws, drummer Shawn Hopkins and Bassist Scott Lowe.
The Band is adept at playing for the room they are in, meaning that their set lists and sound is geared toward the venue, the event and the fans. They can be a little more mellow for couples enjoying a dinner and night out away from the kids. They can also celebrate a sports team victory or a 50th birthday party with full out rocking and rolling (and dancing, lots of dancing… when it is okay to do so again!).
Their interaction with the audience brings about song requests, sing-alongs and personal stories, and everyone leaves the party feeling like they just spent time with good friends. Their crowds return to hear them play on another great evening again and again.
A true born musician, Nikki was on stage for the first time at the tender age of three years old. It was a Sunday afternoon matinee show and her Uncle's band was playing. She sang Coat of Many Colors by Dolly Parton, and she has been singing ever since.
Born into a very musical family from the Annapolis Valley, raised in Dartmouth and married in Cape Breton, she is a Maritime girl with a variety of musical talents. She is a songwriter who recorded her own material, Sleep Tight, while she was still in college taking Media Arts.
Her musical influences include everyone from Janis Joplin and Stevie Nicks to Motley Crüe and Chris Cornell. Local boys including the Oakley Band have inspired her, too, and she lends her sultry powerful voice to a wide string of hits with Half Cut.
Her musical resume includes solo performances, a number of bands, variety shows, musicals and theatre. Nikki’s cheerful personality shines through immediately and her infectious smile and laughter instantly brings all eyes and ears to the stage. One guy enjoyed her performance so much that he asked her former band, Midnight Sun, for autographs, but he wanted them to sign his pants. So Nikki did just that, with a black sharpie marker.
Her musical goals are to continue to share her passion for music by entertaining live audiences with her amazing voice and recording more original work for her virtual audiences.
Guitarist and Vocalist Ian McLaws is a Canadian music industry professional with years of performing and recording experience. With a love of music going back to a role as a soprano in a boys choir in Ottawa, Ian's music career has found him both in front of and behind the microphones. Ian toured for many years in a variety of technical roles with the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton, Heart, George Thorogood and many, many others. Ian has also performed extensively both as a solo artist and also with a wide variety of notable Canadian artists.
Ian has appeared on numerous recorded works, both as a studio musician (guitars, bass, keyboards, and vocals) and also on his own projects. Ian's former band "Sanderson" nationally released and toured in support of a CD titled "Out Of The Dark", which enjoyed very impressive sales as an independent release.
Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Ian was first lured into playing guitar for the simplest of reasons...a guitar was lying around the house. Ian's older brother, Bruce, had taken up the guitar but had lost interest, so Ian started "borrowing" it and was very soon completely addicted. Listening avidly to artists such as Harry Chapin and Cat Stevens, and appreciating their ability to present songs as "stories", Ian soon started creating his own stories, transporting the listeners away into whatever world he shared with them. In grade 6 Ian was half of a musical duo that played everywhere that would have them - Ian was now hooked - this music thing became a life long love.
Ian has toured extensively across North America and Europe both as a performer and as an audio engineer. Ian is one of Half Cut's two lead vocalists, and uses a variety of acoustic and electric guitars in every performance.
Half of the solid rhythm section in Half Cut is bassist Scott Lowe, a Nova Scotia boy from a small eastern shore community called Moser River. Shout out to Moser River!!!
Scott caught the music bug in 1969 when he saw a live band perform at his uncle’s wedding. He had seen the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, and knew right away that he wanted to play music. Seeing a live performance inspired him and he knew then and there it was the time to get serious. His mom showed him a few chords and he was in. He joined his first band, The Axe, in 1973, playing a Simpson Sears Gibson S3 copy. They rocked that small town, being the first band to come from Moser River that didn’t play country music! Scott also tinkers around with a bit of drums and keyboards, but his main instrument is the bass.
Scott’s musical influences are eclectic and start with the Beatles - Paul McCartney mainly, Stevie Ray Vaughn, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and country artists Steve Warner and Vince Gill.
Bitten hard by the music bug, Scott has played in many bands over his musical career, such as Providence, Second Helping, Cody Rose, Ocean Pearl, and a whopping fifteen years with The Drive. He is currently playing with Blacktop Junction and is a full time and valued member of Half Cut.
Recording projects have included rearrangements of covers to fit with specific events while he was with The Drive, and a current project in the studio with Half Cut.
And for a brush with celebrity? While Scott was in the gym, training for the 1990 Atlantic Canadian bodybuilding championships, he noticed this guy watching him closely. Scott thought to himself, wow, he looks like that country guy Randy what's his name. The guy asked him if he needed a spotter and would he mind if they trained together that day. Well, Scott heard the other guy’s wicked southern drawl, and said “Did anyone ever tell you that you look like that country singer guy? “What guy is that?” the other guy asked. Then Scott remembered hearing on the radio that that country guy was here in Halifax and playing that night, so he said, “You are Randy Travis.” And the other guy said, “Yeah, that's what they call me.” So Scott made sure he was good and sore after the workout. Randy wrote him a nice note on a piece of paper and Scott still has it to this day.
Scott’s musical goals are simple - to keep playing and learning and having fun. He brings his awesome sense of humor and dedication to every gig with Half Cut!
The heartbeat of Half Cut’s rhythm section is drummer Shawn Hopkins. Born and raised right here in the HRM (Dartmouth), he was sixteen when he started playing the drums. His parents went away for a week and while they were gone, he purchased his first drum kit. Surprise, Mom! He started jamming with a friend who played guitar right away, and that’s all it took for him to form a lifelong love affair with music.
Shawn’s first band was Social Disorder, a great experience which opened the door for him to join other acts like Soundproof, Scapegoats and No Sons. He taught himself to play percussion instruments, the Djembe and the Cajon, giving him more versatility and flavour as a musician. He was strongly influenced by drumming legend Lars Ulrich of Metallica. Shawn has played with some really great musicians over the years who have given him much musical inspiration and ambition. His great friends, George Johnston and Doug Mclair, opened a whole other world of music for him, causing him to branch out from only playing heavy metal music. Thanks, George and Doug.
While Shawn was with Soundproof, the band recorded an album and was featured on the Plugged In series. He found both to be great musical experiences and is having fun in the studio with Half Cut as they work on their current project.
Shawn has many great gig stories somewhere in his head, he says, to come out on another day. One story might have come from playing at the Double Deuce when he wasn’t old enough to be in there. Another story could involve opening for Helix and having the best time of his life. And one more could possibly be related to imbibing quite a bit at a biker gig and falling off his drum throne in the middle of a song, but those are all for another time.
Shawn is having a blast playing with Half Cut and brings enthusiasm and energy to every gig. He delivers an upbeat groove that keeps the dance floor full.