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Sara Hickman


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Country/folk/pop

Status:

Most recent release, Newborn, Too (children's, 2014); most recent release of regular material, Shine (2013)

See also:

Sara Hickman's Dreamery

Wikipedia's entry on Sara Hickman

Comparisons:

Slightly Joni Mitchell, Indigo Girls, Mary Chapin-Carpenter, Sarah McLachlan

Covers/own material:

Mostly own, an album of covers

General comments:

Perhaps you folks don't know who Ms. Hickman is. She had a very hot career going seven (?) years ago. You could hear her on KERA in Dallas on a daily basis. Johnny Carson fell in love with her (not literally), so she was on his show several times. Her albums were on Elektra. As is often the case, Elektra got tired of her and quashed her third or fourth album. Ms. Hickman managed to scrounge enough money to buy the tapes from Elektra and put out a CD herself. (Is this sounding familiar?) I think she is back to producing her own albums and playing Texas venues. (9/00, lyle_howard@hotmail.com)

dunno why but she bores me to tears. i remember when her first album came out: the record company was hyping it up. we all at the radio station i used to work at ignored them and it. i've heard a few tracks off this album but they didn't leave an impression. (woj@smoe.org)

Comments about live performance:

Tonight I went to see Sarah Hickman at the University of North Texas Lyceum.
     I suppose Sarah isn't ecto—too outgoing, too positive—but she is certainly the archetypal sensitive female songwriter with guitar.
     Anyway, she was very entertaining. First thing she did was apologize for her "Mommy hips," as she had had a baby three months ago. Then she laid into her train song and just about tore her guitar up. She was windmilling with her pick hand and barre chording with her left, suspending chords, and sliding up and down the fretboard. All the while she was vocally flying from low to high and hitting every note spot on.
     I was sitting in the dark thinking I was seeing a female Peter Townsend. About that time, she decided to tell a story about riding the elevator in New York with Mr. Townsend. She said she got on the elevator with him and was trying to figure out what to say to him. At last, she simply said, "It's been an honor to ride in the elevator with you." He said that was the nicest thing anyone had said to him in weeks and hoped she would have a good night.
     She played "Shortstop." Then she conversed with a nine-year-old girl in the front row, did a vocal caricature of Helen Ready singing "I Am Woman,"and then sang her own woman-empowering song for the girl. She dedicated the song to the little girl, the women present, and the feminine side of the men in the audience.
     Someone in the audience said she thought Sarah was going to sing "I Wear the Crown." She quickly retuned her guitar and took off playing that song, even though it wasn't on her playlist.
     One song that was meant to be positive struck me as more chilling than affirmative. I didn't catch the name of the song, but it was about a woman who had nearly drowned in the sea. She had been revived and woke up laughing because she was experiencing bliss under the waves. One of the lines of the song was about how the sun shines whether you are alive or drowning under the waves. Miss Hickman took comfort in that thought. Just made me think how cold the world can be. It reminded me of a Brueghel painting where we can see Icarus falling into the ocean and off to the side a plowman digs his furrow without bothering to look up into the sky.
     She closed out with a song about everyone being everyone else's angel. Nice song.
     Sarah was pretty good with the high-low thing. Not quite as high as Happy Rhodes and certainly not with the clear, girlish soprano/falsetto notes. The command of the guitar was jaw dropping. Ms. Hickman is quite the wordy songwriter. Nothing like the minimalist approach Happy takes. (I prefer fewer words; that way you can concentrate on the meaning without the words obscuring anything. But then Happy does sometimes use words that drift like smoke across the meaning of the song.) Sarah is an extrovert. She is number two on the list of hardest working, most entertaining musicians, following Bobby McFerrin.
     If Sarah comes to your town you probably ought to go see her. She gets points for being vivacious and sensitive at the same time. Plus, she wears wonderful platform sole boots. (9/00, lyle_howard@hotmail.com)

I saw her open for Nanci Griffith, probably about 4 years ago. I thought she was fine, but she didn't really generate any particular enthusiasm in me. (9/00, neal)

Recommended first album:

Necessary Angels

Recordings include:

  • Equal Scary People (1989)
  • Shortstop (1990)
  • Sara Hickman (1993)
  • Necessary Angels (1994)
  • Misfits (1997)
  • Two Kinds of Laughter (1998)
  • Newborn (children's, 1999)
  • Spiritual Appliances (2000)
  • Toddler (children's, 2001)
  • This Christmas Wish (seasonal, 2001)
  • Faithful Heart (2002)
  • Big Kid (children's 2003)
  • Motherlode (2006)
  • Songs to Love By (compilation, 2009)
  • Absence of Blame (2010)
  • Big Bird, Little Bird (children's 2010)
  • Shine (2013)
  • Newborn, Too (children's, 2014)

Shortstop

Release info:

1990—Elektra—7559-60964-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended for folk/pop fans

Group members:

Sara Hickman—acoustic guitar, guitar, arranger, vocals, backing vocals, classical guitar, horn arrangements

Guest artists:

David Lindley—mandolin
Gerald Albright—saxophone
Paulinho Da Costa—percussion
Dan Dugmore—pedal steel
Denny Fongheiser—drums
Kenny Ford—choir, chorus
James Harrah—electric guitar
Dennis Karmazyn—cello
David Kershenbaum—backing vocals
Brian Kilgore—percussion
Larry Klein—bass, fretless bass
Abraham Laboriel—bass
Nick Lane—trombone
Ricky Lawson—drums
Steve Madaio—trumpet
Charity McCrary—choir arrangement
Charle McCrary—choir, chorus
Quincy McCrary—choir, chorus
Brad McLemore—classical guitar
Phil Parlapiano—organ
Tim Pierce—electric guitar
Ian Ritchie—tenor sax, horn arrangements
Alfie Silas—choir arrangement
Rose Stone—choir arrangement
Esther Terry—backing vocals
Randy "The Emperor" Jackson—bass
Phil Schenale—organ, strings, keyboards, tin whistle
Elaine Summers—backing vocals
Chad Duno—choir, chorus
John Melliwell—clarinet
David Woodord—flute, tenor sax
Chris Douridas—backing vocals
Alton McHerrin—backing vocals

Produced by:

Sara Hickman, David Kershenbaum

Comments:

I've had a copy of Shortstop for years and it's never really struck me. (neal)

Necessary Angels

Release info:

1994—Discovery

Availability:

See website for availability

Ecto priority:

Recommended for folk/pop fans

Group members:

Sara Hickman—acoustic guitar, flute, guitar, percussion, electric guitar, vocals, backing vocals, choir, chorus, harmony vocals, string arrangements

Guest artists:

Pierce Pettis—acoustic guitar
Adrian Belew—acoustic guitar, guitar, mandolin, calliope, electric guitar, backing vocals
David Sancious—piano, keyboards
Kris Mckay—choir, chorus
David Batteau—guitar, backing vocals
Jim Cocke—organ, keyboards
Mike Daane—bass
Carl Finch—accordion
Mark Hallman—percussion, backing vocals, choir, chorus, shaker, tambo drums
Bradley Kopp—electric guitar
Danny Levin—cello, string arrangements
Tony Levin—bass
Mitch Marine—drums
Jerry Marotta—percussion, drums
Ian Matthews—choir, chorus
Brad McLemore—electric guitar
Pamela Miller—choir, chorus
Paul Pearcy —percussion, drums
Mark Rubin—upright bass
Tommy Taylor—drums
Glenn Fukunaga—bass
Rafael Gayol—drums
Ethridge Hill—trumpet
Chris Searles—percussion, sound effects, tambourine, noise
Darcy Matthews—backing vocals, choir, chorus
Brad Young—backing vocals
Amy Atchley—choir, chorus
Glenn Fukinaga—bass
Morgan Wommack—choir, chorus
Pam Miller—choir, chorus
Richard Weiss—choir, chorus
Dominic Matthews—choir, chorus
Genevieve Matthews—choir, chorus

Produced by:

Sara Hickman, Paul Fox, Mark Hallman

Comments:

Thoughts at 4:15 am after hearing Sara Hickman's Necessary Angels for the first time...in fact, hearing her =voice= for the first time:
     ...Impressions flitting through my mind, one crowding the other, as I listened: Indigo Girls, Mary Chapin-Carpenter-smokiness, folk music of the '60s and finger-picking acoustic guitars while one watches the pictures unfold, Gordon Lightfoot, "The Yellow Wallpaper", Sarah McLachlan, feminism-in-the-best-sense, secrets and small joys, small-town dangers and breaking free, surviving and growing...There are so many layers to this album! The music is sometimes lyrical, sometimes rocks, but the =words= are there too. *chuckle* Why is it the people who enunciate well are always the ones who also are polite enough to include lyrics? ::grin:: (fleur)

Further info:

Sara Hickman released the DVD I Am Going on a Journey in 2003. Sara has also released several children's albums Newborn (1999); Toddler (2001), Big Kid (2003), and The Sara Hickman Children's Collection (2012).

The Best of Times, a 2-CD benefit album of Texas artists covering Sara Hickman's songs includes covers by Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, Shawn Colvin, Jess Klein, and Ruthie Foster.

Sara Hickman collaborated with the African Children's Choir on the album Love Is a Journey (2014).


Thanks to Dirk Kastens for work on this entry.

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