‘Beatin’ the Heat’ with Dan Hicks
Singer-songwriter and guitarist Dan Hicks insists he hasn’t reached the top yet, although he has performed professionally since age 14.
Almost five decades since first stepping on stage, the Hot Licks frontman is on the road every month with his trademark gypsy jazz, folk, country and swing originals due to high demand from fans.
Along the way, Hicks has gained a great deal of respect from his peers. On his “Beatin’ the Heat” CD in 2000, Hicks was joined by several heavyweights, with guest appearances by Elvis Costello, Brian Setzer, Tom Waits, Rickie Lee Jones and Bette Midler.
“Twenty years ago, I never had any guess I’d make a CD with these people,” Hicks said Monday from his Marin home. “I’m pleased they went for it. It was like an added thought; I could have done it without guests but we made a short list of people I thought might be interested. In 1983, I didn’t think I’d be doing duets with those people, I was their fans. I liked doing this; I was maybe flattered.”
With or without the acclaim racked up so far, Hicks, 61, still has career dreams, such as to become a better jazz singer and sing more gigs on the jazz circuit.
“I think I’ve never peaked. I never got my big hit and lived off that and ran out of creative juices,” Hicks said. “I never ran out of ideas, I never ran out of enthusiasm. I’m still learning and getting better. Maybe the music didn’t try to sit in some era, like the San Francisco sound or psychedelic, I never had an attempt to be a pop band, not like the Doobie Brothers. I’ve been told – I don’t know – that the music is timeless, it kind of keeps its appeal.”
Nevada County audiences can judge for themselves June 19, when Hicks brings the Hot Licks to Music in the Mountains’ Summer Festival at the fairgrounds.
“I hope the audience there will have a smile on their face, thinking they spent their time wisely,” said Hicks about the Nevada County gig. “We got twin violins, one of the girls who sings plays the violins, it’ll be a snappy happy show.”
Expect to hear tunes there off Hicks’ latest CD, “Alive & Lickin,” as well as brand new material Hicks will record in Los Angeles this week. And while the Hot Licks isn’t billed as a dance band, don’t expect to remain seated in a chair.
“We’re not dance music per se, we don’t have a drummer, but the girls play percussion instruments and I have seen groups of people dancing,” Hicks said.
While most of the other Music in the Mountains’ Summer Festival of Classics are classically-geared, a few other genres are represented, i.e. Latin jazz, movie songs, folk and patriotic songs.
Other Summer Festival of Classics concerts presented by Music in the Mountains include:
Tuesday: Two Piano-team of Chie Nagatani and Timothy Durkovic with Music in the Mountains’ Festival Orchestra in Mozart’s “Concerto for Two Pianos” and Saint-Saens “Carnival of the Animals” plus Mendelssohn’s “Hebrides Overture,” Dello Joio’s “Easthampton Sketches” and Haydn’s “Symphony No. 31.”
Wednesday: “Bach’s Luncheon/Symposium with Timothy Durkovic.
June 20: “Jazz at the Fest” from swing and romantic ballads to Latin bosa nova performed by sister vocalists Kim and Jane Loeffler, along with Tony Kaye, guitar; Mike Horsfall, vibes and piano; and Dan Presley, string bass.
June 21: Pianist/guest conductor Timothy Durkovic performs and conducts the orchestra in Haydn’s “Piano Concerto in D Major.” Music in the Mountains artistic director Paul Perry conducts the Festival Orchestra in Mozart’s “Overture to The Marriage of Figaro,” Ravel’s “Mother Goose Suite” and Respighi’s “Trittico Botticelliano.”
June 22, 2 p.m.: Festival Orchestra’s Neil Tatman, Jane Lenoir, Robin Mayforth, Tom Rose, Eric Achen, Carla Wilson, RaeAnn Goldberg, Janet Sims, Janet Witharm and Timothy Spears in chamber works by J.S. Bach, William Grant Still and Franz Schubert.
June 23: Fourth annual Festival of New Music presented by the Nevada County Composers Cooperative features premieres by local composers David Dvorin, Mikail Graham, Ludi Hinrichs, Terry Riley, Jay Sydeman and Mark Vance with the Nevada Union High School Choir, Daniel Kennedy, Bill Barbini and Dmitri Cogan.
June 24: “Four Bitchin’ Babes” singer-songwriters who write about the joys and dilemmas of everyday life.
June 25, noon: KinderKonzert free outdoor concert for youth under 12 and their adult guests.
June 27: Felix Mendelssohn’s oratorio “Elijah” with soprano Kerry Walsh, tenor Antoine Garth and baritone Jeffrey Fields. Also the Music in the Mountains Festival Chorale and Festival Orchestra presents dramatic and inspirational music.
Also a Bach’s Luncheon/Symposium at 11:30 a.m. with the soloists.
June 28: “MIM Goes to the Movies” with soprano Stephanie Johnson, tenor Linus Eukel and the Festival Chorale and Orchestra in movie love songs and themes, including those from “007,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Mission Impossible” and “Star Wars.”
June 29, 2 p.m.: “The Three B’s” Bach-Beethoven-Brahms with violinist Jason Pell in Brahm’s Violin Concerto and the Festival Orchestra in Choral Preludes of J.S. Bach and Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 1.”
July 2: Music in the Mountains’ concertmaster Robin Mayforth solos in Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto and the Festival Orchestra performs Mozart’s “Divertimento in D Major” and the Symphony No. 20 and Debussy’s “Children’s Corner Suite.”
Also a Bach’s Luncheon/Symposium at 11:30 a.m. with the concertmaster.
July 3: “Happy Birthday, USA” celebration of patriotic songs and marches. Guest narrator Philip Charles Sneed, Foothill Theatre Company artistic director, joins the Festival Chorale and Orchestra, in this annual presentation.
Unless noted, all performances are at 8 p.m.
KNOW & GO
WHAT: 15 concerts in Music in the Mountains1 Summer Festival of Classics plus the fourth annual Festival of New Music presented by the Nevada County Composers Cooperative in conjunction with Music in the Mountains
WHEN: June 17 to July 3
WHERE: All concerts are at Nevada County Fairgrounds, 11228 McCourtney Road, Grass Valley
ADMISSION: Indoor concerts are $15 to $27 for adults and $5 for youth. Outdoor concerts are $16 in advance, $18 at the gate and free for youth under 18.
INFORMATION: 265-6124 or (800) 218-2188
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