Lost Dogs in the Courtyard will be available on April 17, 2018

Love Away is available digitally on iTunes and cdbaby

Love Away, Chris Hickey (Work-Fire Recordings) by Rick Moody, Jan 2017

Chris Hickey: Love Away | Pop Matters By Ed Whitelock, 26 January 2015

Michael Bennett's Top 40 albums for 2014 | Hablo Ennui

Chris Hickey Talks About Love Away and Sings About Strummer, Cash, Whitley and McLennan | NO DEPRESSION

Hal Bogerd's Top 10 albums of 2014 | NO DEPRESSION

Sweating the Small Stuff: Chris Hickey’s *love away* (album review)

let me just straighten up a few things

let me just straighten up
a few things
standing on the groundless ground
falling with no end down
so maybe i’ll reach out, try to grab some
knowing there is none

let me just see
i don’t know
i guess i get it
i get lost so easily
but i can see
there’s no one to be
no sorrow and joy
to take personally

in the fragmentary desert
we will try to fit in
but nowhere to go
nowhere to have been
just the unfold
is all that can be
the rest is a memory or a want to be

let me just straighten up
a few things
before you get here


waltzing to clinging to you

i didn’t see any tracks
i didn’t hear the whistle blow
but there you were abruptly
a black and white rainbow
a tattoo on your neck
and kerouac on your shirt
and your facial bones and teeth
it was all i needed
it was all i needed to
go waltzing to clinging to you

i sat down beside you
there was sadness in your face
but it was mostly faded
there was just enough to trace
and so your beauty isn’t
the kind that wears away
i still see it every day
since i first saw it
it was all i needed
it was all i needed to
go waltzing to clinging to you


maya’s day off

maya’s day off is a walk on the beach
and an ordinary dream
though she will try to keep her mind on what is going on
the silver bucket of sand, the sun on the part in her hair
and without fail, without doubt
she will think about an average life
an existentialist’s wife and a dinner table with one short leg
when the tide, by surprise, wakes her up to the present time
she’s reminded where she’s been to get here
she slips in the past, the door slams
and the fading man…
and everyone stops in their tracks to say
it wasn’t meant to be this way
they raise her up on their shoulders like after the prize fights
the champion raises his gloves
the fight is done and away
she’s back on the sand again


hospital

you were so smart in the hospital
i didn’t want to go home
you were making sense in the hospital
now i’m on my own

pain is a funny thing
to let go of
pain is a funny thing
to let go of

even the food in the hospital
was a banquet where everything flowed
the cool release in the hospital
knowing where you’re going

your face and words wash over my name
i’m standing on the sidewalk singing
raindrops keep falling on my head
i’m crying with everything


same train

was not expecting to sit here like this and feel so free
like there was nothing to do, nowhere to go, no one to be

the winds wash over like the tide, the blood in your veins
the water on the pavement, moving away
it's all the same
it's all the same
do you know
it's the same train
the same wind
the same we are
on the same train

seems like sometimes the choices have all already been made
like you were already there but you just couldn’t see straight

the winds wash over like the tide, the blood in your veins
the water on the pavement, moving away
it's all the same
it's all the same
do you know
it's the same train
the same wind
the same we are
on the same train

do you know
it's the same train
the same wind
the same we are
on the same train

the same we are
on the same train


down the turmoil

lay your head down
down the turmoil
lay your weary body
down the silence
take the trash out
wednesday the angry shout
let the yellow light
in the chance you take

this is the last hour
a thousand miles away
gonna leap all the way
in a single bound
gonna put it right down
gonna write it down
free myself of weight
move to a higher place
lay your weary body down down down down down


eye

i just want to change it now
go back to the front, let it be
bleed like a bridge on a cold wind
easy to please
bleed like a bridge on a cold wind
easy to please

look at those children all ramped up for their causes
no one really even stopped to think about it
eye ah eye, eye

i don't want to hold to this
as if it could be in a tree
sweet like a swing in a blank face
looking through me
sweet like a swing in a blank face
looking through me

look at those children all ramped up for their causes
no one really even stopped to think about it
eye ah eye, eye

i just want to have it like it is
go back to the day, let it sift
sit for a spell in the drift
easily free
sit for a spell in the drift
easily free


broken

is already broken
breathe a sigh of relief
the glass is already broken

is already dead
breathe a sigh of release
the life is already dead

is already gone
breathe a sigh of relief
the coming is already gone

is already out
breathe a sigh of relief
the garbage is already out

is already broken
breathe a sigh of relief
the glass is already broken
the glass is already broken


tossup

i’m on the verge, about to merge with you
you say the word, i go inside
and melt like ice
til i’m water on the vine in your vineyard
when i evaporate it isn’t with hate
i’m not going anyway

so the piano player plays
with rings on his fingers
and loss lingers into joy
the coin is tossed, it’s a tossup

i was averse to pain
hiding from the rain
hiding from the stain
that was left in the wake
of a broken sleep
i am not a creep but i am creeping away
drawn to butter and cream
where i can dream
i know what i mean

so the piano player plays
with rings on his fingers
and loss lingers into joy
the coin is tossed, it’s a tossup


grapes from a thorn

so you don’t paint as separate
grapes from a thorn
and you don’t walk the street alone
like grapes from a thorn
and you don’t move around really
like grapes from a thorn
and you aren’t what you think you’ve done
grapes from a thorn
nor grapes from a thorn
hey ya hey now
grapes from a thorn
nor grapes from a thorn
hey ya hey now
so you don’t see the layers
nor grapes from a thorn
and they’re falling away from you
like grapes from a thorn
and you slip from the sidewalk
grapes from a thorn
and you don’t feed the monkey
grapes from a thorn
nor grapes from a thorn
hey ya hey now
grapes from a thorn
nor grapes from a thorn
hey ya hey now


see

whatever you want, we forget under our hat
there is no this and that, no dotted i in rembrandt
there is no cash for gold, no process is due
no crease is in the wind, no line is running through
no no no…
see what we can do, see what we can do without a rule
see what we can do without a doubt, see what we can do
no limit to this, no cage exists
no corner of the room, no bucket of paint
no saint come marching in, no thinning of the gin
no thinning of the gin, no thing
ring ring ring…
see what we can do, see what we can do without a rule
see what we can do without a doubt, see what we can do


i could live

i don’t wanna say
that i won’t let you go
i would let you go
if you wanted to go
also i don’t wanna say
that i can’t live without you
if i was without you
i could live
i don’t wanna say
that i can’t wait to see you
if i can’t see you soon
i will wait to see you
i don’t wanna say that i’m always thinking of you
though that might be true
it might be too much thinking of you
to say that i do
but i want to say
that i love you


so little time

so little time for posturing anymore
getting closer to the back
than i am to the front door anymore

one more night, look for the futile
one more time, steer the ship
and i know there is no cover
one more try, slip away from ground
into breath, foolish ship
strike the iron in decline

so little time for posturing anymore
getting closer to the back
than i am to the front door anymore

where have you gone, joe strummer
god bless you please, johnny cash
where have you gone, chris whitley
god bless you please, grant mclennan


all songs written by chris hickey ©2014, work-fire songs, ascap


Produced by Walter Zooi
Recorded and Mixed by Walter Zooi at Zero Sum Recording
Additional Mixing by Jeff Peters at The Pie
Mastered by Adam Samuels
Cover Photo: Harry Gruyaert, Magnum Photos
Inside Photos: Laura Heffington
All songs written by Chris Hickey (work-fire songs, ASCAP)
except “Monkey” written by Joe Henry (True North Music,
Lemz Music, WB Music Corp., ASCAP)
©2014 Work-fire Recordings. All rights reserved.

---------------------------------

01 let me just straighten up a few things
02 waltzing to clinging to you
03 maya's day off
04 hospital
05 same train
06 down the turmoil
07 eye
08 broken
09 monkey
10 toss up
11 grapes from a thorn
12 see
13 i could live
14 so little time

---------------------------------

Chris Hickey: vocals, guitar
Walter Zooi: guitars, bass, trumpet, keyboard, zither, yayli tambor
Alison Chesley: cello (3,5,9,10)
Charlie Hickey: vocals (7)
Sally Dworsky: vocals (6,11,12,14)
Rachel Ware Zooi: vocals (11), bass (5)
Anne McCue: vocals (5,13)
Jay Bellerose: drums (2,4)
Chris Garcia: drums (6,7,11,12)
Jennifer Condos: bass (2,4)
Dylan McKenzie: guitar (4)
David Greiman: piano (6,12)
Max Zooi: bass clarinet, soprano saxophone (11)
Matt Rubin: trumpet (3,10,11)
Eric Patterson: clarinet, tenor saxophone (3,10,11)
Bill Plake: tenor saxophone (3,10,11)
Noah Levine: spoken (8) from a dharma talk at
Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society in Los Angeles, CA


jindrich streit

photograph by jindrich streit

laura heffington

photograph by laura heffington

Razzmatazz (2009)
CD - OUT OF PRINT

Razzmatazz (2009) is available digitally on iTunes and cdbaby

Tracks: Only Way Track , Kerouac, Down, The Heat The Light, Over And Over, Down A Long Haul, Shine, Soft Sell, Run, Salty Tears, Slow Me Down, Tell You They Know, A Man Is Rich, Places To Go, Nothing Is Real, What You Are

I wrote and recorded a song, each day, for about three weeks in March 2009. The result is "Razzmatazz" -- 16 songs, just vocal & guitar, recorded in my bedroom on a hand-held digital voice recorder.

cover photo by Scott Seskind

The record is simple, austere and real-as-hell. You feel as if Chris is right there singing to you. No budget, no studio, and pure musical connection. -Larry Crane - Tape Op


It’s rare to hear an artist exposing his thoughts, observations, and himself, in such a simple and direct manner. This album has moved me more than any other I have heard this year, more than that I cannot say… - Shakenstir

Subversively and sublimely, he has managed to create songs that propel the listener to rethink ideas, reconsider past notions, and get moved in the process. The way Hickey creates songs as reckoning media can only be compared favorably to the work of the greatest living songwriters, such as Bob Dylan, Sufjan Stevens, Joni Mitchell, Mark Eitzel, Sam Phillips, and Tom Waits. Like these other artists, Hickey doesn’t censor himself and restrict his output to positive, uplifting songs. He focuses on questions and on the meaning of existence. - Puddlegum

"Razzmatazz" is one of my favorite discs of the year and was one of the most pleasant suprises of 2009. - No Depression

Hickey is not one to waste a note or let any kind of studio noodling interfere with the force of his words. And increasingly throughout his career, he has devoted the power of his words not to the big idea but to the expansive poignancy of the small things. - Rambles

What puts his music over the top are his concise and revealing lyrics and his plaintive, matter-of-fact vocals... Hickey is a very special artist, who combines intellectual depth with emotional resonance and well-crafted music to accompany his lyrics. - Hablo Ennui

Tonight, I rescued what I reckon is a loose diamond from my Spam folder... Kerouac, an understated, tongue-twisting paean to the unwitting and ill-equipped face of the "Beat Generation... For his latest, Razzmatazz, Hickey summoned the muses of low-fi accidents and general providence, composing and recording 16 skeletal songs on a digital voice recorder in the comfort of his South Pasadena bedroom. - My Old Kentucky Blog

I strongly suggest getting into Hickey's music, for it is as beautiful, moving, and sad as a simple gift from your little brother on Christmas Day. - The Mad Ones

One highlight of Razzmatazz (among many) is Hickey’s tribute to Jack Kerouac. He says, “I’ve only recently discovered Kerouac and I agree with Allen Ginsberg when he said that Kerouac’s work is ‘The most sincere and holy writing I know of our age.’” Hickey does the man justice with “Kerouac”. - Owl and Bear

Songwriter Chris Hickey Goes On Kerouac-Inspired Writing Spree -- “It’s a satisfying thing,” says Hickey. “I think this is my favorite of my records because it’s a simple and true reflection of where I am… in my bedroom, faraway from the record business, and faraway from the art of complication.” - American Songwriter

Chris Hickey makes beautiful lyrically rich, wonderfully simple music. - Gonzo Shots Hickey used nothing but his own voice and guitar, recording the entire album in a bedroom using a hand-held voice recorder. The effect is nothing short of haunting. - Shaking Like A Mountain

I've been waiting for Chris Hickey's new CD Razzmatazz to be released; it's here, and it's as wonderful and sly as his best work, both solo and w/ Show Of Hands. Chris is an underappreciated treasure, and "Kerouac" off the album is a lo-fi beauty. - The Recluse Show Blog

There is something extraordinarily appealing about the simplicity of these arrangements. - Music Induced Euphoria

Razzmatazz is a fascinating, entertaining, engrossing album that allows access to the unfiltered workings of a musician’s writing process. - Independent Clause

Release(2003) is available on iTunes and cdbaby

Tracks: Release, Kitchen, Wolf's Footprint, Friday Morn', Unprotected, Palisdades, Breaking, So Many Pieces, Wheel, Soul Asylum, Walking Away

This is my third solo record. That's me on the cover (photo by Sally Dworsky) on my son's scooter in front of our old house in Los Feliz, CA. This is a mixture of home and studio recordings produced by Jeff Peters.

Contributing musicians: Sally Dworsky, Andy Kamman, Al Wolovitch, Andy Stoller, Mark Shark, Patrick Warren, Greg Herzenach, Jeff Peters, and David Jackson.

KITCHEN VIDEO with Sally Dworsky:

Top 20 Recordings of 2003 - Mike Bennett: January, 2004 - fufkin.com
Chris Hickey – Release (Work-Fire): I can't quite call Hickey underrated, since he's spent so little time even near the spotlight. Two major label one shots and two solo albums in the ‘80s aren't quite enough to establish a presence. But I think he is one of the best singer-songwriters I have ever heard. He has a voice that commands attention – not because of some incredible range, but because his voice has a plaintive intensity. It is perfect for his concise sketch-like lyrics that don't tell the whole story, yet give you enough to go on. His music is likewise simple. He knows the secret of the perfect bridge and the ultimate chord change that can lift a song into sublime territory. This album is haunting and beautiful, vulnerable and reassuring.

---------------------------------

Chris Hickey's peripatetic career has found him issuing two excellent and hard-to-find lo-fi solo albums, as well as performing with folk-rock trio, Show of Hands, and the more recent Americana-influenced Uma, over the span of two decades. With Release, he returns to his homegrown roots, crafting minimalist songs with sparse instrumentation. Painterly, imagistic and self-questioning, he writes quiet ruminations on the human condition that are deeply personal, yet with subtly ingratiating hooks. Hickey's songs decline the overblown bombast of today's singing-songwriting blowhards, largely deferring to graceful, folk-style acoustic accompaniment behind his burnished vocals. Cello underpins the contemplative "Kitchen," with close harmonies by Hickey's paramour, Sally Dworsky; should-be hits "Friday Morn'" and "Palisades" belie sparkling pop nuances; '60s-styled psychedelia echoes through "So Many Pieces" and "Wheel." Judicious use of percussion, bass, accordion and keyboards augment songs in an almost subliminal fashion. The 11 tracks here are pithy and immediate, clutter- and fat-free, the antithesis of the CD era's largess. Once the last track, "Walking Away" finishes, you will find yourself drawn back - naturally and effortlessly - to the beginning. -Larry O. Dean / AMPLIFIER MAGAZINE

---------------------------------

On "Kitchen," the standout track of his third solo record, Chris Hickey sings, "If my vision fails when I'm crossing over / I'll use my hands like anyone / Sometimes a nail in my kitchen table rises / I hammer it down like I would in anyone else's kitchen." The musical accompaniment is understated but evocative: palm-muted eighth notes on acoustic guitar, well-placed cello swells, shaker and percussion loops, and the ringing vocal harmonies of Hickey and his former Uma bandmate Sally Dworsky. Like most of the tunes on Release, the quiet but powerful "Kitchen" resonates long after the last note has rung out. Although his wordplay sometimes recalls Dylan, Hickey also has a knack for sharp, melodic tunes that are evocative in spite of their simplicity. Twenty-five years ago, Hickey was a member of the Spoilers, an LA punk/pop band influenced by Johnny Rotten and Bruce Springsteen. He recorded solo records in 1985 and 1987, plus albums with the bands Show of Hands and Uma. Release doesn't betray his hard-rocking roots, but it definitely reveals a talent born of experience and persistence. It makes you want to check out his previous work and, more importantly, look forward to what he'll produce next. -Drew Pearce / ACOUSTIC GUITAR

---------------------------------

If you haven't heard of Chris Hickey, I wouldn't hold it against you. This is only his third solo recording, the first two coming out in 1985 and 1987. He also played a big role in two bands that released a single album apiece -- Show Of Hands and Uma. This means in 18 years, this is basically his fifth release (not including a punk band he played in earlier in the ‘80s). So he's not taken the Robert Pollard/Guided By Voices release-anything-you've-ever-recorded route.

I strongly feel that you will be a more satisfied music fan if you hear Chris Hickey. Hickey sings acoustic folk songs that often edge into pop song territory. He is an astute lyricist, capable of eliciting a great deal of emotion and more than his fair share of trenchant observations. His voice compliments this perfectly. The closest comparison I can make, and I've been making it since 1985, is T-Bone Burnett. And that isn't so close. So I'll just say that Hickey's vocals are a key component that elevate his music to greatness.

His first two solo platters, Frames Of Mind, Boundaries Of Time and Looking For Anything, were classic home recordings. The plaintive and intimate quality of Hickey's music does not require top flight production, and both of those records had a winning combination of intensely memorable songs (including the superb "I Can't Wait to See You") and songs that delved into everything from personal politics to poetry to trenchant observations of how people are.

I am happy to report that other than a slight expansion of his musical vocabulary and more sophisticated production, Chris Hickey has not changed one iota since 1985. The voice is there, the songs are there. Hickey keeps his melodies basic and is equally economical with his words. Perhaps one good comparison would be Ron Sexsmith – not so much in sound as in approach. There is simply nothing wasted here. Each song is as long as it needs to be. Hickey makes his point, makes it memorably and moves on to the next track.

For example, in less than two-and-a-half-minutes, Hickey (with writing assistance on this tune from Sally Dworsky) succinctly portrays the feelings of someone who doesn't want help in the midst of an emotional crisis on "Breaking": "you want to fill me up/with the time that was/save me from the fate/that you're afraid of." Musically, the song is Dylan-inspired (somewhat akin to "The Times They Are A-Changin'"), and tweaked a bit to be a couple shades popper. The verses are short, move quickly to the bridge, the melody rising into the chorus. Hickey's voice (as it is on both the tracks he produces and those mentored by Jeff Peters) is way up front, so that every quaver and nuance is naked and up front.

"Breaking", however, is "Good Vibrations" in comparison to the minimalist "Soul Asylum". Light percussion, some faint strings and softly picked guitar rest below a slightly nervous vocal. Hickey cycles through the initial lyrics, as if he's trying to cope with the misunderstanding of which he sings. The effect creates a compelling air of mystery – an effective ambiguity.

"So Many Pieces" also has a dramatic edge, with a fuller sound. There's some stinging guitar work and heavy drumming. This might be the closest that Hickey will come to the passionate desolation of some of Richard Thompson's work. Meanwhile, "Palisades" has a very familiar folk structure in the verses. But the magic is in how he folds in a totally unfolk melody into the bridge, the juxtaposition making the melody all the more striking. And the chorus is rousing and uplifting. Dworsky contributes a backing vocal and gets an even bigger turn on "Kitchen", her honeyed voice perfectly complimenting Hickey on the track with perhaps the most expansive melody on the disc.

The tracks that typify both the disc and Hickey's particular talents are the songs that begin and end the album. "Release" is a plea for personal resolution, with a somewhat morose tinge to it: "Walk in the graveyard/knowing the past/picking out plots/moving too fast/might as well give in/I need release". The song is just Hickey and his guitar, but it rests on a repetitive basic guitar part that adds to the emotional weight of the tune. Something needs to be let go, and I don't think he's sure what it should be.

On the closer, "Walking Away", Hickey is in a somewhat better place. He announces that he is walking away "from complication." Unlike the title track, which offers no musical ray of sunshine, this has a middle eight that speaks volumes about the mindset at work: "I feel good/don't know how long I can take it/man on the street/is running for the bus/but I don't think he'll make it." Simple pleasures are temporal. True happiness is harder to find.

Which is not nearly as sad as it seems. Hickey is a thinker who is asking questions and seeking answers that he might never find. His music is so involving because no matter how bleak it can get, his empathy and warmth come through on every track. Too often bluster is mistaken for passion – Hickey's measured intensity in service of excellent songs is passionate as all get out, as he uses his head to figure out his heart. This was well worth the wait. -Mike Bennett / fufkin.com

Looking for Anything (1987) is available digitally on iTunes.

Frames of Mind, Boundaries of Time and Looking for Anything are on one CD (Sound Asleep Records). The CD is available on cdbaby.com.

Tracks: Another War, Langston Hughes, Freedom, This is My Land, Not My Place, When I'm With You, The Reason, Dark, Cold Day, Not Our Son, Save My Life, Five Words, Contagious

This is my second LP - also recorded on the Fostex X15 4-Track Cassette Portastudio. The cover photo was taken by Hannes Flaschberger. I remember using those rub-on letters to make the the text on the sleeve. Again, I toured across the country... started with a show at a guitar shop in Boulder, CO with my old friend Scott Seskind and proceeded on by myself. I finished up on the east coast with gigs at Gerde's Folk City in NYC and Maxwell's in Hoboken, New Jersey.

------------

My Old Kentucky Blog (02/08/11):

Of all the musicians I’ve been introduced (and reintroduced) to via my scribbling here at MOKB, South Pasadena’s Chris Hickey is easily one of my favorites. A folk-rock Jim Jarmusch, this cat is a criminally under-appreciated artist, whether with band (Show of Hands, Uma), as hired gun (Joe Henry, Michael Penn, Indigo Girls) or as solo artist. And I have to believe there’s a parallel universe in which Hickey is in high demand as a Super Bowl halftime performer. What a droll and wonderful world that must be.

But there’s an outside chance that Hickey’s following may actually expand in the coming weeks, even without that Super Bowl tie-in. Thanks to perseverance and technology, his first two solo LPs (1987’s Looking For Anything and 1985’s Frames Of Mind, Boundaries Of Time) are available again. If you’re not hip to Hickey or his tremendous catalog, you really oughta check him out, starting with Looking for Anything’s Dark, Cold Day, which features lyrics lifted (with permission) from the poem In Memory of W.B. Yeats by W.H. Auden. The lesson here is clear. If you’re gonna steal, steal from the best.

------------

CMJ (College Music Journal):

The Critical List by Robert Lloyd - The L.A. Weekly

Los Angeles Times Year in Review by Steve Hochman:

Bucketfull of Brains (summer 2014) Review by Nick West:
Chris Hickey Survives the 80s to Reissue Two Lost Gem // New York Music Daily (01/24/14)


Frames of Mind, Boundaries of Time, Looking for Anything, Release, Razzmatazz - REVIEWED BY LARRY CRANE · FEB. 12, 2014


Choice Music of 1987 by Jim Higgins, Miliwaukee Sentinel:


Frames of Mind, Boundaries of Time (1985) is available digitally on iTunes.

Frames of Mind, Boundaries of Time and Looking for Anything are on one CD (Sound Asleep Records). The CD is available on cdbaby.com.

Tracks: June Fifth, Faraway, Carol, Start Over Again, Not You, I Can't Wait to See You, Man of Principle, There Was a Time, Don't Just Say No, Real Life Dangers, Different Days

This is my first solo record. I painted the cover, oil on canvas - and I recorded it by myself on a Fostex X15 four-track cassette portastudio. It was mixed at Eldorado Recording Studio in Hollywood with engineer Tom Root. The LP was released jointly with my friend Scott Seskind's eponymous debut and we toured together. The two LPs were featured in CMJ (College Music Journal) and we got some college radio airplay. I have a nice memory of pulling into Lawrence, KS without a gig... we went straight to the radio station and played on the air and they set up a show for us that evening in a little cafe. A lot of people turned out (40) and we played without microphones and it was a good time.

Bucketfull of Brains (summer 2014) Review by Nick West:


Chris Hickey Survives the 80s to Reissue Two Lost Gem // New York Music Daily (01/24/14
)

Frames of Mind, Boundaries of Time, Looking for Anything, Release, Razzmatazz
REVIEWED BY LARRY CRANE · FEB. 12, 2014

"Duo Plays Brave 'new" folk" by Beth Fertig - The Michigan Daily:

Music Connection Review by Ronald Coleman:

Mike Bennett's (fukin.com) Top Albums of 1986:

1. The Pogues – Rum, Sodomy And The Lash
2. Beastie Boys – Licensed To Ill
3. The Minutemen – Three Way Tie (For Last)
4. Stan Ridgway – The Big Heat
5. Chris Hickey – Frames Of Mind, Boundaries Of Time

Mike Bennett Picks 10 Obscure Great Recordings

Chris Hickey – Frames Of Mind, Boundaries Of Time: I had the pleasure of reviewing Hickey's most recent release in 2003... all three of his records deserve so much more attention. Hickey has a voice that cuts right down to the bone, simmering with intensity. His lyrics are either blunt and direct, or mysterious and poetic. And he constructs some of simplest and most enduring folk pop melodies I have ever heard.


Fare Well by Uma (1997) Available on iTunes

Tracks: Friday Morn', Downtown, Cemetery, Lullaby, New Year's Day, Palisades, Slow, Mailman's Blood, Untitled, Ghosts, Deep End, Jealousy, Under the Water, Wheel

Cemetery:
Friday Morn':
Under The Water:

Uma: Andy Kamman, Sally Dworsky, Chris Hickey

Andy Kamman and I worked on and off for about two years with producer/engineer Jeff Peters at Sonora Recorders in Los Angeles. We struck an old-fashioned type spec deal with Richard Barron, the studio owner, to record during off hours for a low price in exchange for a percentage of our record. Richard passed a tape along to Melanie Ciccone who would become our manager and before we knew it, we had several record labels interested in the band. We signed with Refuge/MCA Records, a new label started by producer Don Gehman. We kept a few of the original recordings but re-recorded most of the record with Gehman producing. At the same time, Sally Dworsky, who had done background vocals on the original recordings, joined the band. Uma toured with Jonatha Brooke, Todd Snider and others... The best part of the Uma experience was a final tour with Chris Whitley. It was truly great to watch Chris Whitley each night, a beautiful artist.

Produced by Don Gehman
except (1) Produced by Don Gehman and Jeff Peters, (5) Produced by Jeff Peters, (9) Produced by Tony Berg, and (13) Produced Jeff Peters and Tony Berg Engineered by Don Gehman, except (1,3) engineered by Don Gehman and Jeff Peters, (4) engineered by Don Gehman and Robert Read, (9, 12 intro) engineered by Jeff Peters, and (13) engineered by Jeff Peters and Tony Berg, Additional engineering by Robert Read, Richard Barron, Jordan D'Alessio, and Doug Tranton Recorded at Mad Hatter Studious, Sonora Recorders, and Zeitgeist Studio Mixed by Don Gehman and Doug Tranton at Scream Studios except (9, 13) mixed by Jeff Peters at Sonora Recorders Mastered by Joe Gastwirt at Oceanview Digital Mastering

All songs written by Chris Hickey (work-fire songs, ASCAP) except (7) written by Sally Dworsky and Chris Hickey (Almo Music Corp. / Tikki Merm, ASCAP / work-fire songs, ASCAP), (4) written by Sally Dworsky and Matthew Wilder (Almo Music Corp. / Tikki Merm, ASCAP / MCA Music Publishing / Streetwise Music, ASCAP) and (11) written by Sally Dworsky and Trey Bruce (Almo Music Corp. / Tikki Merm, ASCAP / W.B. Music Corp./ Big Tractor Music, ASCAP)

Michael Wilson: Photography
Coco Shinomiya: Design

The voice of Charles Bukowski ©1985, 1995 Denny Bruce

Chris Hickey Vocals, Guitar
Sally Dworsky: Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
Andrew Kamman: Drums, Percussion
Rusty Anderson: Sitar (Electric)
Jon Brion: Chamberlin, Guitar
Jennifer Condos: Bass
James Harrah: Guitar
Greg Herzenach: Guitar
Rami Jaffee: Optigan, Organ (Hammond), Piano, Vox Organ
Greg Leisz: Dobro, Guitar (Bass), Lap Steel Guitar
Dan McGough: Mellotron
Mike Meros: Organ (Hammond)
Robby Scharf: Bass
John Philip Shenale: Percussion Programming
Martin Tillman: Cello
Kevin Patrick Warren: Chamberlin, Wurlitzer
Al Wolovitch: Bass


Once more, I find myself staring at the ass end of a year, wondering, “Is that all there is?” I could try to explain my thoughts about signing on for another go round the sun, the uncertainty, anticipation and ennui, but Chris Hickey beat me to it. Way back in 1997, Hickey’s band Uma released Fare Well. That record contains the song New Year’s Day (Stephen Hawking), the impetus of which Hickey explains as follows:

I saw Stephen Hawking on New Year’s Eve outside a movie theater in North Hollywood in 1994. He was the last person I expected to see that night. I was pleasantly shocked and wrote this song the next morning. “I don’t remember what the future will bring, I should have checked with Stephen Hawking last night.”

No way I can do better than that. Be good.

-My Old Kentucky Blog - 12/31/10

Uma Live on KCRW with Chris Douridas


"...remarkable debut disc, "Fare Well", a collection of resonating folk-pop reminiscent of R.E.M.'s early reckoning period... -Oregonian

"...serves up compositions both melancholy and urgent... "Fare Well" is a heartfelt, unobtrusive disc that begs to be played late at night , as you contemplate such weighty issues as life and love." - Entertainment Today


Show of Hands (1989) Available at Amazon.com

Tracks: Time Passes, Another War, Like Animals, Real Love, Contagious, Hard Lines, Retribution, Faraway, God Made the World, What Have We Done, Think Again Folky trio with Randell Kirsch, LuAnn Olson. We sang for Jay Boberg, the president of IRS Records in the stairwell at the label office, quickly made a record deal and teamed up with producer David Kershenbaum. We did two great tours with Go-Betweens and Indigo Girls and were one of the first American bands to tour in China which included nine shows in an arena in Shanghai and street singing in Tiananmen square.

Contributing Musicians: Denny Fongheiser, Larry Klein, Eric Nelson Pressly, Bob Marlette, John Helliwell, and Michael Penn

cover photo by Scott Seskind

East Coast Rocker Top Albums of 1989:


"Man of Priciple" from Fast Folk Musical Magazine (Vol 4, No. 9) Los Angeles is available on itunes

Secondly by Show of Hands (USA) is available at itunes and cdbaby

Spoilers (Dean Stefan, Chris Hickey, Craig Wisda, Micky Kessler, Bill Hickey, George Padgett) EPs (1978 and 1980), Rocket Records Single (1980), Employment Agency LP (2005)

Also appears on:

The Honey Guide
by Shannon Worrell (2008 - Dualtone Music Group)
*songwriting, select track


Boxes by Sally Dworsky
(2007)
*songwriting, guitar, background vocals - select tracks


Civilians by Joe Henry
(2007 - ANTI)
*background vocals

Palms & Runes, Tarot & Tea: A Michael Penn Collection
(2007 - SONY LEGACY)
*background vocals

Rarities by Indigo Girls
(2005 - Sony Records)
*background vocals

Mad Dog Sessions by Phil Cody
(2002 - Tiny Head Records)
*background vocals

National Boulevard by Shrubbers
(1997 - Raj Records)
*background vocals

Free for All by Michael Penn
(1992 - RCA Records)
*background vocals

Deadicated: A Tribute to the Grateful Dead
(1991 - Arista Records)
*background vocals

KINK Live 1 - Various Artists
(1998 - KINK FM)
*with Uma - select track

Breakaway: The First Year by Various Artists
(1989 - Mountain Railroad)
*with Show of Hands - select track

Fast Folk Musical Magazine
The: Vol. 4, #9: Los Angeles
(1989 - Folkways)
*with Show of Hands - select track

Trial and Error by Dean Stefan
(1987 - Rubber Tree Records)
*bass, guitar, bk vocals

Scott Seskind by Scott Seskind
(1985 - self-released)
*background vocals / scissors