chris hickey | release

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Rock: Americana Pop: Folky Pop Moods: Solo Male Artist
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by chris hickey

Los Angeles singer-songwriter, former member of "Uma" and "Show of Hands"
Genre: Rock: Americana
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Release
Chris Hickey
2:18 $0.99
2. Kitchen
Chris Hickey
2:50 $0.99
3. Wolf's Footprint
Chris Hickey
2:20 $0.99
4. Friday Morn'
Chris Hickey
3:27 $0.99
5. Unprotected
Chris Hickey
2:11 $0.99
6. Palisades
Chris Hickey
3:21 $0.99
7. Breaking
Chris Hickey
2:21 $0.99
8. So Many Pieces
Chris Hickey
4:11 $0.99
9. Wheel
Chris Hickey
3:38 $0.99
10. Soul Asylum
Chris Hickey
2:02 $0.99
11. Walking Away
Chris Hickey
3:05 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
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.

- Top 20 Recordings of 2003 by Mike Bennett /

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.


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.

- AMPLIFIER / Larry O. Dean

produced, mixed and mastered by jeff peters at sonora recorders (4,6,8,9,10). produced by chris hickey at home, mixed and mastered by jeff peters at sonora recorders (1,2,3,5,7,11). pro tools engineer and assistant at sonora recorders: seth mclain. contributing musicians: sally dworsky, andy kamman, al wolovitch, andy stoller, mark shark, patrick warren, greg herzenach, jeff peters and david jackson.



to write a review

Matthew Cleveland

Chris Hickey is back!
If somehow you have followed the thread of music that Chris Hickey has produced over the decades, RELEASE is an essential addition to your collection. Lots of great melodies, intelligent lyrics, and songs that equally make your mouth and brain hum. It would have gotten 5 stars, but it only has 11 songs including 3 reworked Uma songs.

Maureen Johnson

As usual, Chris' music is unique, pleasing, and unforgettable!
As usual, Chris' music is unique, pleasing, and unforgettable! He never leaves me disappointed and always meets my highest expectations. I continue to marvel at the fact that he is not a household name. Thanks, Chris, for your music and do me a favor. Keep writing!

C. Grundy

I find more each time I listen.
I found this disc while trying to help my brother track down a legit copy of Hickey's 1989 release with Show of Hands. When I put the disc on for the first time, it was like a friend whom I hadn't seen in a decade had suddenly showed up at my front door -- with a guitar and some great stories. No need for a half-hour of chit-chat up front. A couple of tracks got produced a little too loud and complex for me, but that's my folky bias. As before, Hickey's voice is not always polished, but seems like it ought to be that way, and is always captivating. Good to see you out and about, dude.

M. Lins

Melodies that linger and words that ring
I agree with all of the above reviews and add that Chris Hickey manages to put poetic lyrics into simple melodies, occasionally with super-saturated harmonies (which I, for one, adore) for accent, over his beautiful and personal guitar-playing to create a very intimate folk sound all his own. I most highly recommend this disk to anyone who likes the singer-songwriter genre and is looking for something new to them.

Dan Davilla

Chris Hickey is FANTASTIC
Chris Hickey is not only an outstanding songwriter but he is an outstanding singer and performer. This is a welcome site to hear him with new material. I hope that this release will be successful one for Chris. Maybe then his earlier records will be released on cd. Treat yourself to someone who is one of the best singer / songwriters around.