Local Musician Interview – from Kentucky?

Dave and Mom

Hello Everyone.  I know you are going to enjoy this interview because it is from someone who has some real Kentucky roots, Mr  Dave Hicks.  I first met Dave in church in Kansas City, Missouri.  Dave is a fine friend and musician, so just enjoy his musical journey.

BB: Introduction – Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? 

Dave Hicks: Yes. I grew up in Eastern Kentucky near the town of Ashland. If you want to find it on a map, just look at the point where KY, OH and WV all meet together.  I joined the Air Force when I was 18 and spent the next 25 years traveling around the world until I retired in 1999 and settled in IndependenceMO.

BB:  When did you get started in your musical journey?   

Dave Hicks: [I always loved music. No one in my family played an instrument but the radio was always playing. Mom and Dad like Country Music and that is what I grew up listening to. Back then the country stations played a combination of country and bluegrass so I was exposed to both styles of music.

BB:  What happened after that?

Dave Hicks: I separated from the Air Force after my first enlistment and moved back to KY. While I was there I was attending vocational school and one of the guys in school played the Dobro and the teacher played guitar. They would sometimes play at lunch and I tried to get the guy to teach me the Dobro. He told me he couldn’t teach me so I bought a guitar and basically taught myself to play by listening to and playing along with records. I would close myself in the bedroom and play along until
I could keep up. The first song I really learned was Rebel Soldier. My wife still hates that song because I played it so much. During this time I reconnected with Bluegrassand that has been what I have mostly listened to since then.

BB:  Where did you go from there?

Dave Hicks:  I reentered the Air Force but didn’t really play much Bluegrass. I was heavily involved in church and mostly played Contemporary Praise & Worship music in church and small groups. Traveling around in the Air Force I played with a lot of different music but always preferred Bluegrass.  I continued playing in church and a little bit of county/bluegrass when I could.

BB:  How did you get into Bluegrass/Old Time/Other Music?

Dave Hicks: My Mom is probably one of the biggest Bluegrassfans in the world. So she and I have always kept up with the latest releases and talked about our favorites groups. I always loved it and played when I could. Then after settling in IndependenceI met a guy name Bill Barker at church. He told me he played the banjo and would like to get together. He and I played together some and then he took me to the jam at the Blue Rridge Mall and then to HABOT. That is when I really started playing Bluegrass almost exclusively (Thanks Bill). I have stuck with HABOT and have now been a board member for the last 2 years. Since then Bill and I started the weekly CountyMeadow jam which has now become the 4thFriday Picking in the Heartland Jam. I started playing Upright Bass about 4 years ago and it has become my main instrument.

BB:  What is your favorite Bluegrass Band or Artist? and who influenced you the most?

Dave Hicks: Being a Kentuckyboy I have to say Bill Monroe of course. Since I grew up second generation I have always listened to Ricky Skaggs and Tony Rice. I also listen to anything by the original Seldom Scene and Country Gentlemen.

BB:  How many songs have you written?

Dave Hicks:  That’s easy; None. I have written some additional verses to a few of the two verse songs that I play but never have been able to write a whole song. It is a goal of mine to do some songwriting someday.

BB:  What advice would you give to young people wanting to get started in Bluegrass?

Dave Hicks: Pick an instrument, find a good teacher and take lessons. I never did and many times have regretted it. Stay close to the music. Listen to a lot of different artist. Go to jams watch and listen. Play in groups to learn your timing and how to interface with others.  Learn and utilize good jamming etiquette.

BB:  Anything else you want to say to wrap up this interview?

Dave Hicks: Sure. Be serious about your music. That is practice and work on your craft but keep it fun. This music is great for enjoyment and relaxation but if it becomes a job you will resent it. I’m not a musician in the strictest sense of the word but I play an instrument. I’m not a singer but I enjoy singing. Most of all I love getting together with those who share my love for this music
BB:  Thanks again to Dave for sharing his musical journey!