Cincinnati CityBeat on “Motherlode”

Sara Hickman should have been listed among the front line of the women’s Folk movement in the late ’80s, but label treachery kept her from her rightful place. After extricating herself from industry clutches by raising $40,000 from her fans to buy back the masters for her third album, Hickman had a good run of indie and self-released albums (particularly 1998’s Adrian Belew-produced/performed Two Kinds of Laughter). Five years ago, Hickman abandoned adult concerns for the world of children’s music, creating typically brilliant simplicity. With her eighth album, Motherlode, Hickman returns to the adult world with a vengeance; 20 songs over two discs with a sexual position from the Kama Sutra on the cover. Motherlode’s theme is the plight and triumph of women, and the album’s songs are amazing, even by Hickman’s own standards. From the melancholy power of "Living in Quiet Desperation" and the World Pop twitter of "Birdhouse" to the cautionary abuse tale of "20 Years to Life" and her evocative covers (particularly the atmospheric take on Tears for Fears’ "Mad World" and the scorching lope of Amy Rigby’s "Are We Ever Gonna Have Sex Again?"), Motherlode is a sonic round-up of everything Sara Hickman has done so beautifully and consistently throughout her career. Here’s hoping she can keep finding more time for grown-ups. (BB) Grade: A

– Cincinnati CityBeat

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