Kelli Shay Hicks
This is not the banal story of a doe-eyed Midwestern girl, with a big voice and three chords, who migrates to Nashville in search of Country and Western riches.
Truth is singer-songwriter Kelli Shay Hicks, performing at Flicker Theatre on Monday, came to Tennessee for the movies. No, she's not looking for music-to-silver screen crossover success; she's a film preservationist."I came here for work," she says. "I take care of old film collections. It has brought me from Chicago, where I spent my college years, to upstate New York to Nashville. I play music wherever I go."
Of course, being in a town with a musical reputation doesn't hurt."There's a lot going on in Nashville besides Music Row. I haven't been here long, but like anyplace, you can find a niche," she says, adding, "I play fiddle in a band called Mother's Best and sometimes we'll busk on the streets. It's a lot of fun."
Hicks is on the road in support of the recently released "Bucked" (Carbon Records), a three-song EP recorded spontaneously and without pretense in "abandoned strip malls off the upstate New York highways on very simple equipment."
The field recording, of sorts, was recorded by filmmaker Jem Cohen who has worked with musicians in the past; most notably R.E.M., Cat Power and Vic Chesnutt. It's no accident the man known for capturing artists on Super 8 or 16mm and the performer who preserves films collaborated to create a record that exudes a cinematic quality. "Bucked" is a record listeners can see.If the EP can not satiate your audio appetite, rest assured Hicks has plans to release a full-length, titled "Buck Again," as soon as a suitable record label can be found. An advance copy of the mastered mix reveals more of the ethereal sound Hicks can conjure with her sparse guitar, lilting voice and autoharp.