Dan Hicks? In Palmer? Really?

Mike Dunham

I had to look twice at the press release that accompanied Dan Hicks' latest CD, "Live at Davies Symphony Hall." The master of Pecos-dry "outlaw swing" would be performing in Anchorage and Fairbanks as part of the CD's promotional tour.

A knowledgeable local musician tells me Hicks, without the Hot Licks, performed in Anchorage at the old Grand Central Station on International Airport Road in the mid-1980s. The Daily News data base, which goes back to 1987, doesn't mention any other appearances here. The correspondent recalls the man as "grumpy and brilliant," which is about as good an encapsulation as I can think of.

With a considerable cult following, Hicks may be the most important pop musician to never have had a hit. Not that that's important to those who count themselves among his fans. We like the smooth tuniness, quirky chords and often hilarious lyrics that sound like Hick's found them tucked in Willie Nelson's notebook, though you could also say the opposite. 

The list of guest artists on the new album, recorded live at Davies Concert Hall in San Francisco last year on the occasion of Hicks' birthday. David Grisman, Harry Shearer, John Hammond, Maria Muldaur, Ramblin' Jack Elliott and Rickie Lee Jones are among them.

Anyway, the press release puts Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks (and hopefully the lovely Lickettes) in the Discovery Theatre on Oct. 5 and 6. And in Palmer's Vagabond Blues Theatre ("Theatre?"), also on Oct. 6.

Calls to Vagabond Blues got routed into the black hole of the coffee shop's answering system and I never heard back from them. Centertix listed no performances in the Discovery on either date. But I did find confirmation, of a sort, from Whistling Swan, who I should have guessed from the get-go would be the local promoter. They have a listed date for the 5th at the Discovery and one given as "tentative" for Vagabond Blues on the 6th.

Check back.

Mike Dunham