Monday, June 25, 2012

Solo album from Cracker's Johnny Hickman due next week

Johnny Hickman will be releasing his second solo album, Tilting, on July 3 (Campstove Records). It will be available in CD and digital formats.

Hickman's songs have leaned heavily towards Americana/alt-country territory as lead guitarist in Cracker and on his 2005 solo debut, Palmhenge.

On Tilting, the musical boundaries are broader than ever before. There are still traces of Americana ("Measure Of A Man," "Destiny Misspent," "Whittled Down" and the bluesy "Resurrection Train") and also strains of Dust Bowl-era jazz ("Papa Johnny's Arms") and rockers ("Takin' Me Back" and "Another Road"). The earthy folk of "Drunkard's Epiphany" is elevated by sunny harmonies and keen pop sensibilities.

"Personally, all my favorite records and bands have been those that don't flatline into one tiny sub-genre (Beatles, Kinks, Radiohead, Tom Petty, Neil Young). When I write, I just do it and don't worry about it. As [Cracker bandmate David Lowery] and I always say, the only real rule in music is 'don't suck.'"

The album's title Tilting is tied to one of Hickman's favorite countries, Spain, and it refers to Cervantes' classic novel Don Quixote. "I sometimes feel like the impassioned madman with his lance trying to slay the windmill giants," Johnny reveals. "I think a lot of people do in these troubled times. The idea of battling these mighty, unbeatable foes both real and imagined is disturbing yet darkly amusing to me."

"The songs on Tilting are definitely more personal, more autobiographical than on either Palmhenge or Cracker records. I didn't set out to do that but it's just where I am in life, I suppose. I didn't steer cautiously around any of my feelings or experiences, good or bad. It's as honest as hell, I can tell you that. Lyrically, there’s a little mid-life crisis catharsis going on here, not that that's a bad thing. That and just being pissed off and reveling in it."

“Producer Jason Larson and I played most of the instruments and sang most of the backing vocals on Tilting...At times we would call up our very talented musician friends to come in and play too, but mostly it was the two man band - laughing and running back and forth until we dropped at 3 a.m. Then we'd get together the next morning, listen and see what we had. A kind of crazy way to make a record, but it worked."

1  Measure of a Man
2  Destiny Misspent
3  Not Enough
4  Dream Along With Me
5  Sick Cynthia Thing
6  Whittled Down
7  Our Little Movie
8  Papa Johnny's Arms
9  Takin' Me Back
10  Resurrection Train
11  Drunkard's Epiphany
12  Another Road

Hickman is scheduled to perform various solo shows in 2012 in support of Tilting and will tour with Cracker this summer as part of Barenaked Ladies' "Last Summer on Earth" tour, alongside Blues Traveler and Big Head Todd & The Monsters.

For tour dates go to: 

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