People I Play With

Posted on July 29, 2006 by Sara Hickman. | Comments Off on People I Play With

Making music is such a team effort. Even if it is just me, solo, many times I am dependent on the sound engineer at a show. Or, if there is no sound, I am dependent on the kindness of strangers—those who throw house concerts or invite me to sing in their back yard—and then those folks become friends, too.

But making music with a band….wow! Filling out the sounds of my guitar and voice with other instruments and players ideas is so fulfilling.

When I was in Domestic Science Club, I don’t think I had ever experienced anything like that, except, to some degree, when I did madrigal singing in high school or performed with the Folk Group (Gretchen Phillips, Julie Campbell, Julie Prejean).

Domestic Science Club had some very fine moments. To this day, I think “Blue Diamond Mines” and “Unseen Angels” are perfect pieces of music.
Our three voices (Robin Macy, Patty Mitchell Lege and myself) were each so unique and undeniably our own, but blended together we became a completely different creature. Sometimes on stage, the flow would be so evident, so ripe, so lush. It was almost too much. Although we had our squabbles and didn’t always see eye to eye, that was a highlight in my life and I am grateful we recorded two records for posterity.

Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to play with amazingly gifted players. From Chester Thompson to Andy Timmons and Rose Stone (Sly’s sister) to one of my favorites, Abe Laboriel. You can imagine how excited I was to record with Adrian Belew and Tony Levin; sitting on a bench with David Sancious as we discovered the voicings I’d created (in an open tuning) and transcribed them for piano. Watching Tori Amos play on “One In Our Happiness” through the control room glass….(not released, sorry! In my closet, on a shelf…) Laughing with the awesome drummer, Brian Hartig, at rehearsals, and seeing the concentration on his face as he gives his all on our “Austin City Limits” performance…Doug Bryan coming up with the killer hook on “Last NIght is a Big Rain”….Brad McLemore bringing so much love on classical guitar to “Simply”, and really bring a marriage of his guitar and mine for all time…

Singing harmonies with Debbie Talasek, my first back up singer….You can see her on “Austin City Limits”, as well….or singing year after year with the beautiful Kristin deWitt (who is in the car with me at this very moment!), a woman who can match my breath and depth and range with aplomb…
Having Eddy (also in the car today) play the piano so tastefully, so masterfully…whether on recording or live…His subtle Mona Lisa smile always there when I look over…I will ALWAYS love “The Wave” on the album “Faithful Heart”….totally sexy and stunning moog work!

And Brad…our drummer/percussionist. We’ve worked together since “Faithful Heart”, as well. I will never forget the day we were recording the title track,and Brad got all choked up over the way it was sounding…it really moved his heart, and moved us all to see him with tears in his eyes.

Zirkel on bass. His trumpet on “Coolness by Mistake”, by the way, is killer. I love that version of the song (“Faithful Heart”) That song means so much to me, as it is about a time when love was washing over me completely….Anyway, Zirkel’s bass on “Mother’s Little Helper” totally rocks (“Motherlode”). It is exactly what I hoped it could be. Zirkel can also get caught up in the tidalwave of emotion….When we played at Gruene Hall a few months back for Mothers’ Day, I looked over as we performed “My Mama’s Hands”, and tears were streaming down his cheeks. He lost his mother last year, and to be together, playing this song of great love, on a day of great meaning, well….he made it all the more special by openly sharing his heartache…

Sitting in the studio of KBCO in Colorado, performing Adrian (Belew’s) song, “Dreamlife”, which I love so much. I had worked up the guitar part and surprised him by playing it on the air while we were in the studio together (we were there for the Gavin Convention—1994)

Being on stage at Carnegie Hall with 350 people singing “Just One Race” behind me. THAT was a surreal moment!

But, mostly, I just want to say the swirls of sound that surround me when I am on stage with my current band are the arms of support I could only dream of…and I want to thank all the musicians who are here in the car with me, and all the musicians along this path to the city of glass…..

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