Black Music Matters Festival

Dan Hicks makes you want to spike the punch in Nashville

McCabes Guitar Shop, Santa Monica, Cal., May 13, 2000

By Dan MacIntosh

SANTA MONICA, CA - By the time Dan Hicks got to his alien abduction song ("Hell, I'd Go"), this singer was pegged as a kind of Django Reinhardt on LSD fronting the '60's Byrds. Then he played a Reinhardt song ("Swing 42"), cementing the initial impression.

Hicks may be a modest man, but with the sophistication he and The Acoustic Warriors revealed this night, Dan is anything but a hick.

In addition to the aforementioned Reinhardt influence, Hicks also displayed an affinity for ragtime, Bob Wills swing and straight blues.

All the while, Hicks kept things lively with his wry sense of humor. Much of this humor spilled over into his songs, too. Especially in the one-of-a-kind for - musicians - only song, "I've Got A Capo On My Brain."

Hicks acted as the perfect master of ceremonies and sang all the lead vocals. He limited himself to just playing rhythm guitar, except for switching to snare drums and brushes for the old jazz standard, "Comes Love." His Acoustic Warriors chipped in with jaw-dropping fiddle and lead guitar work.

Being that this was the first of two sets, Hicks' hour-long set just didn't do him justice. This point was driven home when he got to "I Scare Myself," a song about romantic paranoia he wrote himself. It's so good, it ranks right up there with some of the other classic songs he included in his set. And he was just warming up.

If this great music was really the LSD talking, somebody please spike all the punch in Nashville!