Donald Teplyske on “Absence of Blame”

Having recorded in Texas for more than 20 years, Sara Hickman is a celebrated writer and singer; most recently, she was named the Official State Musician of Texas for 2010. Having flirted with the mainstream, Hickman is every inch the independent artist.

Her new album is one that becomes more appealing with each exposure.

Folky, a little bit country, and frequently straight-up rock & roll, Hickman’s music has inspirational substance that is balanced by the lightness of her presentation and the power of her voice; another reviewer compared her to Christine Lavin, a connection I had intended to make until, well… I guess I just did.

For me though, Hickman is a more universal talent- she has the poignancy of Lavin and, like Cheryl Wheeler, bridges the clever observance- durable song divide effectively.

After a festival summer listening to many wannabes, Absence of Blame is a refreshing testament of what is possible within the folk roots world.

Published in the Red Deer Advocate, September 3, 2010

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