The Evening Muse
April 15, 2010
Scott Bland, audience member
Sara sings about life, love and the pursuit of joy and happiness… she knows these things personally. She eats life up and shares it with you like a huge buffet. Simple words find it difficult to describe this remarkable soul. Back in her home state of Texas, her talent is as legendary as her heart is big. An amazing song writer and guitar player, her music can be simple and playful (while she sings about making love to a train) when, suddenly, she sweeps you into the intensely heart breaking voice of a mother to a murderer. With her storytelling, hypnotizing wit, you can’t help but love her and her infectious laughter. I’ve seen tears fall from eyes as she sings about a homeless woman. I’ve seen people sit and grin from ear to ear as she sings euphemisms around “Kayaking” or just because she “wears the crown”.
Sara Hickman is joyful, playful, amazingly energetic, heartwarming, politically conscious, generous, uplifting… and she is love. Yes, her soul is filled with love that she shares every time she opens her mouth to sing. She is so much more than an entertainer… she fills your heart as if she were a “filling station of love”. I hear her voice singing her songs and can’t help but know that there’s hope for this world and I can’t wait to hear what she has to say in her next song. If you find yourself in a position to see her sing, don’t pass it up! She has something to sing about. She has something she wants you to hear. She will fill your heart and your soul and I promise you won’t be sorry.
Have you ever met an angel? I have listened to Sara’s music for a number of years, and had not been able to see her perform live very often since she doesn’t get up to St. Louis much. Last Saturday at the Mucky Duck in Houston, I was able to not only see her perform 2 shows, but was also able to meet her and find out how joyous she really is! She was rather surprised that a friend and I travelled from St. Louis to Houston just to see her perform, and gave me a big hug. Wow!
It was really amazing to just sit back and listen to Sara’s wonderful voice. For most of the show, Sara sat on stage armed with nothing but her collection of acoustic guitars and that beautiful voice — and proceeded to blow all of us away. She talked about most of the songs she played, giving great little stories. For instance, before she played "Too Fast" in the first set, she told us about this letter she got from this guy in New Jersey who, yes, "works in the popsicle plant," but he said he was sorry to say he worked in the blue section, not the green one! He said that they played this song at the popsicle plant, dancing around at work. How funny!
Another great thing about the show was that her husband Lance played electric guitar and sang on a few songs. He even used an interesting device called an "e-bow" that gave a neat sound, like playing the guitar with a violin bow. Having Lance perform with her was great — it’s wonderful to see her so happy!
Sara played songs from Newborn (and during the first show, serenaded a cute little 1 1/4 year old in the audience), and some from previous albums. She had her own backup chorus in the audience —one of the tables was belting it out with her during "I Wear the Crown" — and she dubbed them "the Hick-lettes." You know, even though Newborn is supposed to be an album to serenade the little ones, I have to say that these songs ("Lily," "We Are Each Other’s Angels") touched pretty much all of the grown-ups in the audience as well.
As always, her lyrics reward the attentive listener — they have a wonderful imagery to them. For example: one of these is called "Last Man In the Water" and it’s about the plane crash in Washington DC that happened 10 or 15 years ago when the Potomac River was frozen and the plane crashed into it. It’s about the man who, while in the river, kept giving the rescue rope to other people, passing over his chance to be rescued so other people would have a chance. Another one, which she really was passionate about, was about the darker side of fame — what happens to people when they start to believe their own publicity, and get surrounded by the trappings of "making it."
Towards the end of the show, she led the audience in a sing-along of the John Lennon "And so this is Christmas" song. Very lovely.
So now, after listening to her for several years and never getting to see her play live, I’ve seen her twice in a year—Chicago in February with Tish Hinojosa, and now at the Mucky Duck. Would I go back? In a heartbeat! To paraphrase "This Heart" – these ears, these ears were made, to hear her sing….
St. Louis, MO
The Mucky Duck in Houston, late show. I personally tossed $60.00 to the winds because we had 4 no-shows. But Sherry and I had a great time, no matter what.
Goops In It
Lily, I Love You
Look At It This Way
Crown – Someone in the audience was yelling at Sara this entire song, which lasted at LEAST 15 minutes, I think Sara was trying to outlast the heckler, she went into what can only be described as a "rap," trashed every politician you could name, and at the end of the song, urged everyone to vote for Chelsea Clinton. She may be right.
New Song-That I did not recognize, lyrics "kept alive," "heart waiting to fall" I REALLY liked this one.
Last Man In The Water – w/Lance on a full-body blonde Guild cutaway archtop, through a Crate (Yecccch!) amp. Although it sounded pretty good, but one of my many failings is that I’m a guitar amplifier snob. Another song that I hope will be on the new album. An I HAVE to get that child an amplifier!
I Can’t Be The One – w/Lance on E-Bow guitar, he added a neat solo.
Where Did You Go – the lady in the red dress added a KILLER "mouth trombone" solo. You had to be there.
Merry Christmas (War Is Over) Beyond beautiful. Her version stopped time in its tracks.
A Slice Of Heaven – Sara said this was a first, it was "da’ bomb"
Simply – for an encore, Sara shouted out "What do you want to hear?" Everyone started screaming at once, and someone requested "I Couldn’t Help Myself," to which Sara whispered "Not in THIS lifetime, buddy!" Sara then proclaimed "My Dad is here, and he never gets to request a song. So, Dad, what will it be?" Before she finished the question, he was already saying loudly, "Simply!" And she did a wonderful version, for us and her Dad.
Not that Sherry and I could tell. The staff of the Mucky Duck decided right then to dispose of all the empties in the house, one by one, into the trash can. Between the clinks and clanks of beer bottles, we thought we heard "Simply," but, quite frankly, it may as well have been "Ace of Spades."
But we had a great time, anyway.
-from Sara’s OneList Mailing List
Sons of Hermann Hall
— from Mr. TopSecret, Jeremy!
Geez, you want a review? "Lip Smackin’ Good." How’s that?
OK, let me give it a shot. I am really bad at these since I don’t write down playlists and tend to just mellow out with a few beers and a burger. On that note…
Colin Boyd started the show. I think Colin is a terrific songwriter, but perhaps not the best performer. He is at his best when he is doing his Buddy Holly style, which he did with a couple of new surf songs including "Peggy Sue went surfing (but her boyfriend’s dead in Lubbock)."
Colin sang "These Hands." Later Sara would ALSO sing "These Hands" and Colin came up on stage to join her.
Sara started out with several tunes from Newborn including her a-capella "Its Alright." Since the Sons of Hermann Hall is all wood (and about a hundred years old), the resonance was wonderful. "Eye Booger" was there in the first group as well as "We are each other’s Angels."
Sara then moved on to some tunes from Spiritual Appliances (which I don’t know the names of), but she absolutely rocked on a couple of the tunes. Lance jumped up on his electric guitar for one of the new songs. This was probably the longest section of the show and (for me), the most enjoyable.
As mentioned previously, Sara did "These Hands" with Colin. She also sang "Take me with you" and said that if anyone couldn’t handle her crying, they needed to visit a therapist. I thought my wife was going to need medical assistance, she was laughing so hard as she poked me in the ribs.
Sara did "Two Kinds of Laughter," "Joy," "Shadowboxing" (in which she forgot about half the words!), and "I Wear the Crown."
Sara ended her show at Sons of Hermann Hall with "Shortstop." I had not heard her perform "Shortstop" in quite some time. It was terrific.
This was Sara’s first time back to Sons of Hermann Hall in a long time and I know she was nervous about coming back, but she was terrific. She looked great, talked about her new baby quite a bit and was generally chatty. Show lasted about two hours. All in all, a most enjoyable Sara show.
I happen to know that Chris was also at the show and I would ask her to add comments to all of the missing pieces of my "review."
Best of days to the Group…
-from Sara’s OneList Mailing List
Fall Folk Festival at the Ranch, Menomonee Falls, WI
Review By Jeff Beiriger
Meanwhile, back at "The Ranch" ….
Sara performed at a benefit concert for Ranch Community Services, just outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The setting was a riding arena used for the therepeutic riding programs for kid—the first time, Sara claims, she has played in such a venue.
I’m inclined to believe her. (Carrie Newcomer, who was also on the bill, made the same claim!)
In a nutshell, Sara blew away the crowd. For anyone, like myself, who’s seen Sara before, this comes as no surprise. But, being far removed from Texas, this was a crowd that had little if any exposure to her music prior to the gig (though there were a few Sara-holics in the crowd).
The set included Lily, Goops In It, It’s Alright, We Are Each Other’s Angels, Simply, Last Night Was A Big Rain, 500x (Train Song), I Wish I Were A Princess, Too Fast, Take Me With You, Radiation Man, Let Go, Best Of Times, Two Kinds Of Laughter, Take Whatever I Can Get, I Wear The Crown, Look At It This Way, and an audience sing-along as she/we covered Happy Together.
A few notes on the set. I Wish I Were A Princess was requested by a young man of about 5. Sara said she hadn’t done the song live in ages but would try. Try she did—and the young prince was very pleased. Many a sniffle was heard after the a capella rendering of It’s Alright and again after Take Me With You.
We Are Each Other’s Angels featured a quartet of backing vocalists that I’m sure you’ll be hearing of in the future—Joe & John DeMasi, who opened the festival, Sara’s fiance (Lance), and this reviewer. Given the site, it’s no wonder how we were dubbed by Sara as "The Stableboys." An unbelievable experience for this fan!
Aside from her own show, it’s so refreshing to see an artist thoroughly enjoy other artists and the people. She was so good with many of "The Ranch’s" clients—folks with Down’s Syndrome, primarily; so generous with her time to the other performers, and so kind to the audience—she signed autographs for more than an hour!
It was a first-year festival, but if Sara fans in the Midwest pull together and support it, and if Sara’s so inclined, we’d love to see her back next year!
McCabes Guitar Shop, Santa Monica, CA
Review By Rob Peirson
One of the drawbacks of not living in Texas is that there are not many opportunities to see Sara Hickman in concert. My wife Derry and I were very happy that she was in Southern California again and jumped at the opportunity to see her at McCabes. We got into Sara when we saw her opening for Dan Fogelberg two years back at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles.
Thus, this was the first time for us to hear her play a full set. Not only do we like her music, but also we like what she is all about.
The venue is literally a back room to a guitar shop. It seats a little over 100 people and was almost a full house. We arrived early and got seats in the second row. The sound was very good in this intimate setting. During the show Sara mentioned she used to live nearby.
She began the show with three songs from her new Newborn CD that were directed to her daughter beginning with a capella version of Its Alright. She told a cute story of her and her mom singing about Goop in her daughters eyes while visiting the pediatrician. This was her last visit to this doctor since she was unable to find the humor in the moment.
She said that We Are Each Others Angels (which is also on Newborn) will have a newer version on her next album Spiritual Appliances due out in the spring.
She offered the comeback I Wear the Crown to any of us who need the right words in an argument. These words she wished she had in a conversation with a friend of high intellect. For the intro to Salvador, she spoke of her art school days and wrote this song to show the positive side of Salvador Dali.
While dumping out her garbage she met a women in her dumpster. Over time a summer she grew grow close to this special lady and wrote the song Joy to remember her by. She had to fight to get the song released and even shot her own video to help promote the song (I am going to try to buy a copy of the video, which benefits Habitat for Humanity).
With all of the terrible things going on the world she wanted to write a positive song pointing to the goodness of people for the 90s. She penned Best of Times (even though a friend pointed out that Styx already did a song of that title in the 80s). She told of a touching story of being with her grandfather after her grandmother passed away. He was a former musician who kept his feelings to himself but on that day he cried at the loss of his wife.
She sang a song that I believe is called Moment of Grace. I could not place this tune but it sounded great and we enjoyed it.
During Too Fast she broke into a version of the Rolling Stones Satisfaction where she sung, She cant get no satisfaction, no popsicle action. Too bad there werent any popsicle factory workers in the audience.
Take Whatever I Can Get was one of many songs (around 30 ?) inspired by the breakup with a boyfriend in LA. At this point in the show she seemed to break from her song list and take some requests from the crowd. It was clear that most everyone in the room was familiar with Saras work and all had songs they wanted to hear.
Less than a minute into her new tune, Everythings Red, she forgot the words and had to restart from the beginning. This song really has some energy and I look forward to hearing it again.
At age 17, she had a crush on a boy. She wrote Simply to express her love for him. She played it for him in his living room but he just didnt get it and simply said the song was alright and went and got a coke from the kitchen. This hurt Sara so much that she filed this song away for 10 years before bringing it out for a wedding she was doing.
I bought the Newborn CD from Sara after the show. She went from performer to CD salesperson as people lined up to buy her new CD. She printed 3,000 Newborn CDs with proceeds going to the Mautner Project and the Hill Country Youth Ranch. She signed mine To Rob!, God Bless & Enjoy!, thanks for the pen, Love Sara. (I donated my pen so others could add their email address to her distribution list).
Altogether a wonderful experience. We cant wait for her return to Southern California.
Jefferson Freedom Cafe, Ft. Worth, Texas
It has been a wonderful weekend. It was a good beginning with a GREAT ending because I got to see Sara again.
Sara was her usual greatness on and off the stage. Always giving all she can to her audience.
Sara started the evening with "Its Alright" and continued with some songs from her "Newborn" CD. We got to hear "Lily," "Goops In It," "Moonshadow," "This Heart" & "We Are Each Other’s Angels." She sang a couple of songs that are going to be on her new "Spiritual Appliances" CD, which she said would be out on Valentines. What better Valentine gift could we all receive from Sara, her heart & soul in musical form.
Sara sang some songs from each of her CDs. "Pursuit Of Happiness," "The Best Of Times," "Sister & Sam," "Take Me With You," "Two Kinds Of Laughter," "Salvador" and more. She broke 2 strings on her last song. She returned to the stage for an encore. Sara ended the way she started a capella. I guess you could say her concert came full circle. She asked if anyone wanted to join her in this song to please feel free to join in. Now most things are started with this song but Sara being Sara
she decided to end with the "Star Spangled Banner" everyone stood and sang with her. As I looked around after the show I saw nothing but satisfied looks on peoples faces and there was a lot of happy chatter. Sara did it again, pleased all of her audience. 🙂
Thanks, SARA, You’re The BEST.
-from Sara’s AOL Message Board
Sara Hickman and the Will Taylor Quartet!
by Karen Robinson
Saw Sara with her Strings Attached (Will Taylor Quartet) last night at Cactus Cafe. It’s always a pleasure to see how she reinvents her music with new arrangements. Nice to hear her vocals being emphasized rather than drowned by a band. But I digress….. 🙂
Here’s my unsolicited review of the CD "Newborn": just fabulous. For babies, kids, and your own personal inner child—this CD hits the empty spot; that to my knowledge has never been filled so well by any performer. Some a capella, some with a guitar or viola accompanient, regardless—the songs are stellar. Sara’s voice is absolutely beautiful.
I personally prefer her solo shows and this CD reminds me of those. It’s warm, soft, comforting and peaceful but still an upper with happiness throughout.
Just thought I’d share because it’s so rare I find a CD this wonderful and it’s a children’s CD to boot.