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Over the years, Texas-based Sara Hickman has applied her talents to everything from confessional balladry to children’s music. She reaches especially high on 2006’s Motherlode, a two-disc album examining womanhood from strikingly different angles. The first is a collection of probing, downbeat tunes that are redeemed from gloominess by Sara’s supple folk-pop touch. Whether she’s chasing her own phantoms in “To A Maddening Ghost,” putting a fresh spin on the traditional “Wagoner’s Lad” or retracing childhood scars in a cover of Tears for Fears’ “Mad World,” her performances are quietly riveting. The lighter-hearted songs on in the second group emphasize Hickman’s playful, slightly off-kilter side. “Birdhouse” ranks among the most sophisticated compositions here, filled with intriguing atmosphere. “Always A Saint” stands out for its unaffected happiness and slip-sliding acoustic groove, while “Are We Ever Gonna Have Sex Again?” shows that Sara’s wit has only grown sharper with time.

Customer Reviews

Worth the Wait

After several years of recording mostly children's recordings, Sara Hickman returns to music for grown-ups. And with the double-CD concept of "Motherlode," she empties out the cupboards of all the goodies she's been stashing for the decade so far. Guests include Shawn Colvin, David Grissom, Kelly Willis and Gretchen Phillips, among others. And, no pun intended, Sara (and by extension, we) hit the motherlode.

Dividing 20 songs over two CD's, Sara offers two takes on femininity: The first disc deals with the darkness, the depression and the desperation. Songs of women pushed too far ("Twenty Years To Life"), Motherhood that seems like a dark tunnel (a somber cover of Tears for Fears' "Mad World") and another cover that portrays the ultimate in the female mental escape (The Rolling Stones' "Mother's Little Helper" jazzed up) are all here. But there is also hope, shown on my favorite song from either disc, "Comfort's Sigh." Written by Sara,

I must have faith in my own journey
I must believe that I belong
Though I am weary and feel forgotten
I'll find the strength in my own song
I'll find the strength to carry on.

Even though it is still a deeply sad song, it still offers the resolve of the strong will. In a catalog of many wonderful compositions and performances, this could easily make it into my top-ten Sara Songs.

Sara changes the mood for the second CD, which is more a celebration of that strength. Stretching out musically on "Birdhouse," guests Adrian Belew and Tony Levin (they of latter-day King Crimson) make a progressive and trippy number about remembering to dream. Things just get better from there. The kind of giddy fun that Sara's live shows are famous for pops up in "Are We Ever Gonna Have Sex Again." The disc closes with the Motherhood that is the ultimate treasure in "Your Reward."

I got to see Sara play a show in Philadelphia in the Fall of 2006, and I was enthralled by the new songs. "Motherlode" has been in my CD changer ever since. If you have ever been a casual fan, this CD will make you a believer. If you ever have been remotely curious about why Sara's angels revere her as much as we all do, this CD offers positive proof. "Motherlode" is not just Sara Hickman's personal best, it is one of 2006's best. Play it next to recent CD's from Shawn Colvin and Slaid Cleaves.


Born: March 1, 1963 in Jacksonville, NC

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Sara Hickman was born on March 1, 1963, in Jacksonville, NC, but was raised in Houston, TX. She launched her professional career at age 14 at a Houston Oilers party with just her guitar and voice. Through the remainder of her teenage years, Hickman performed at bank openings, weddings, and even psychiatric units. Following her graduation from the High School for Performing Arts in Houston, she went on to receive a bachelor of arts degree in painting from the University of North Texas. Hickman released...
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