Today we meet transatlantic pairing, James Hickman and Dan Cassidy.
James is a home-grown talent born in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, with an upbringing of folk and bluegrass music. Dan grew up in Maryland, USA, in a musical family, picking up the violin at the age of 10 and exploring everything from classical, jazz, bluegrass, country, blues, and rock, and recording with his late sister, Eva Cassidy.
James and Dan first performed as a duo in 2008 but they had known each other for many years before, having worked together on a number of projects including the Dan Cassidy Swing Quartet whilst collaborating in Iceland. They admit that the duo has “manifested itself beyond our expectations”.
It has been said that the lively wit of James set against the bone dry irony and American drawl of Dan really does take the audience on a dynamic and unforgettable transatlantic journey. Describing their music as “something with a strong connection to the past, but not without a contemporary flair…” James, who sings and plays guitar, handpicks his songs carefully and is equally adept at singing both American folk songs and Celtic and English traditional songs. Dan’s fiddle instrumentals also borrow from both American and Celtic roots and usually convey either a beautiful, reflective flavour or an up-tempo toe-tapping type of energy.
Talking about their music James said “we like to think that this music appeals to people because it makes them feel good….possibly something in the conscious evolution that reminds people that folk music can help bring joy and meaning into people’s lives”. Whilst James and Dan pull from a wealth of traditional material they have also recently started writing their own songs and tunes, saying “the new self-penned numbers would be our favourites to play, mainly due to the satisfaction of performing numbers we can call our own”.
James and Dan told us that they enjoy rural touring gigs because of the community atmosphere: “it’s almost like performing to a big extended family. We find these audiences to be a good cross-section of the general public of various ages. We invariably find these gigs enjoyable, with pleasant people that are happy to help contribute to a musical event that hopefully creates a buzz locally. And not to forget…a home-cooked meal is a real godsend for us as it is indeed a challenge to find a healthy meal while on the road.”
See a snippet of this super talent duo here: http://hickmanandcassidy.co.uk/media.php and keep your eyes peeled as they may be coming to a venue near you from Autumn 2013.