Sara is making a big impression down south — this is a review written by local Columbus, GA “What’s Hot” staff writer, Abbey Adams.
Last night’s show at The Loft in downtown Columbus wasn’t what you’d call an ordinary show. The premise was a young, vibrant folk musician, Sara Hickman, hailing from Texas, who would be joined by fellow musicians from Tennessee, Tisha Simeral and Brian Ashley Jones, on upright bass and guitar, respectively.
For those who have never been to The Loft, think of a 1940’s dance hall converted into a large listening room with a bar in back. The owners have inserted a moveable glass wall that can contain the intimacy of the song, yet keep the entire hall feeling lively. Smoking is allowed, but of those in attendance last night, I only saw a few listeners light up. Since this was billed as a family style venue, I expected that there would be music of the same ilk.
First up on stage were Brian and Tisha. Under the red glow of stage lights, the pair teamed up to deliver country bluegrass with a hint of another Austin super group, Uncle Walt’s band, throw in for good measure. Being as both these musicians are tall gives them a feeling of stature before they even begin to pick and pluck and croon. Both talented in their own rights, they sang all originals written by Ashley Jones, whose nearly baritone voice resembles a familiar radio personality I can’t quite put my finger on, but delivers the goods none the less. Great musicianship, solid songs and clever patter in between warmed up the Saturday night crowd and set the scene for what was to come–or so I thought.
Ms. Hickman bounced up on stage, blonde hair wisped behind ears, a smile as big as her home state, and she quickly endeared the audience with her quick wit and ballsy approach to the guitar, or “large hunka wood”, as she heckled one man on the front row. She chatted with several women in the audience after a particular rockin’ song, and told women they should all play guitar because “the wood never felt so good”, to which one woman clearly spit out her drink while laughing in response.
The show turned into a three hour set, mostly Hickman originals, but shenanigans soon ensued as Ms. Hickman started to take requests from the audience, even delivering a near perfect rendition of “Evergreen”, complete with a Streisand vocal range and sound. Those at the bar on the other side of the wall were captivated so much so that they actually were chanting “Tequila” when Ms. Hickman, accompanied by then with Tisha and Brian, ripped into it. Ms. Hickman covered a vast ground of sound—from Aretha to the Stones to even the theme song from the capsized thriller, the “Posiedon Adventure”.
Although there may have not been the audience size that Ms. Hickman is accustomed to, she handled the evening with grace and aplomb, obviously enjoying herself as much as her gracious, attentive audience.