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Dan Hicks and his ‘Tangled Tales’

Sandra Rockman
Special to the Union

Whether posing as “Smoky Dan” playing bluegrass, preparing an evening of cocktail standards a la Mel Torme, or crooning his version of Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” Dan Hicks is nothing if not versatile.

Saturday’s concert marks the premiere of the Sneak Peek Tour featuring Hicks’ 10th CD, tentatively titled, “Tangled Tales.” Nine of 13 tracks are original folk-swing compositions and the Hicks band pairs with such music powerhouses as Bruce Foreman, David Grisman and Charlie Musselwhite. As coincidence would have it, slide-guitarist Roy Rogers, the other half of our concert, plays two tracks on the CD (and expects to have his new record out this fall).

Hicks began as a drummer in the seminal ’60s San Francisco rock band, The Charlatans, and became the legendary musician of today carving his way from proto-psychedelia to western swing and jazz.

“When people think of Hicks, warm memories rush forward – the smoky, smaller venues, like Great American Music Hall in SF and the Catalyst in Santa Cruz where you would dance so close you could smell the cologne on your partner, and then Hicks would play the moody ‘Simply’ and stylistic ‘Lonely Avenue’,” says loyal fan Marty Coleman-Hunt, Executive Director of NCLT. “What is great about Hicks is his ability to use satire in song which reminds us to never take life too seriously.”

Stars at the Peak is the major fundraiser for Nevada County Land Trust. This year’s setting in pastoral Penn Valley promises another unique ambiance yet all the amenities that our audiences have come to expect. Dinners from local vendors can be paired with fine wines from the award-winning Pilot Peak Winery. An auction will help support NCLT’s mission of preserving open space and safeguarding our treasured rural quality. Like-minded community partners such as SYRCL and the Local Food Coalition will be on site. The evening culminates with an annual tradition: The release of a rehabilitated raptor by Wildlife Rehabilitation and Release.

“If you haven’t heard us in a while or never, it’s all gonna sound pretty fresh,” says Dan Hicks. “The well is not dry.” How can it be for an artist who claims to have found three new rhymes for the word “orange.”

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