I’ll be playing in Virginia at:
Saturday, June 9th
Shady Grove Coffeehouse
PO Box 7139
Richmond, VA 23221
Sunday, June 10
Harris Creek Acoustic
BY BILL CRAIG
“Spiritual” is just one of many adjectives that could describe Texas singer-songwriter Sara Hickman.
“I’m a big believer that I’m really charged by God to do certain things, so I get these mental messages,” Hickman said by phone from her Austin home. “The more I listen to those, the more good things come to fruition.”
One very good thing that came to fruition is “Motherlode,” her 2006 double CD.
The album’s concept was born a couple of years ago when Hickman was doing some songwriting at her piano.
“I got to this one line, ‘No one is as mean to me as me.’ I kept thinking about that line and played the song for some girlfriends, who all told me that that is exactly how they feel.
“That night I had a dream and a message. Basically, the message said that I needed to make a CD from the point of a rock mom, a musician mom, and talk about all the things that you think about as a rock mom.”
The project is divided into two parts to represent the two very different moods of Sara Hickman. The first CD, “The Mirror (of Despair),” contains songs of “universal woe and quiet lament in conjunction with womanhood.” Disc two, “The Thread (of Happiness),” is “woman’s heart, bright and sparkling, with undercurrents of frustration and wanting.”
It’s Hickman’s attempt to allow listeners to get inside her head.
“I realized that I’m either in a place of euphoria, where I love being with my family and friends and this community and all the happiness those things bring me, and the other side is this universal low, where I feel burdened by the suffering of all the people on the planet. I really wanted to talk about some darker things.”
Subtitled “Start the Dialogue,” the album, with a painting by Austin-based artist Aletha St. Romain on the cover, also represents Hickman’s commitment to motivating discussion of the issues surrounding human sexuality.
“When I talk about the CD and the CD cover onstage, I talk about how important it is for parents to start talking and have this dialogue with their kids. Not only because they need to understand sexuality, but to prevent them from having early pregnancies and to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. I find that people are actually applauding and in some cases giving me standing ovations.”
The album’s 20 mostly original tracks are driven by the gentle yet provocative brand of folk-rock that Hickman has been perfecting during an almost-20-year recording career. That blend of deep lyrics and rock rhythms is a product of the sounds that surrounded her during her formative years.
“I was 8 or 9 in the’70s, and that was a big time for John Denver and Jim Croce and people who were singing these detailed storytelling songs. But I was also listening to the Rolling Stones, and when Heart came along I was very influenced by Nancy Wilson because she was the first female guitar player that I knew about.”
When she’s not singing, songwriting, or being a wife and mother of 7- and 11-year-old daughters, Hickman is contributing to her community.
Her latest project is a series of monthly concerts in Texas cities that will provide entertainment and raise the profile of the Texas Coalition Against the Death Penalty.
Slated to start in October, the tour will be another Hickman effort to start a dialogue — this time about the death penalty.