Described as “one of the best acoustic pickers on the scene today,” Cary Morin brings together the great musical traditions of America and beyond like no other. With deft fingerstyle guitar and vocals that alternately convey melodic elation and gritty world-weariness, Morin crafts an inimitable style often characterized as acoustic Native Americana with qualities of blues, bluegrass, jazz, jam, reggae, and dance.
“A man and a guitar, a lot of soul, and an understanding of the history of soulful men with guitars in American music can sometimes achieve this kind of timelessness in their work…,” comments Richard Higgs (Public Radio Tulsa).
“Cary Morin has the chops and is one of the best acoustic pickers on the scene today. [His] performances… would stand out, variously, among the old-school delta blues pliers, the Greenwich Village folk crowd at the end of the 1950s, the back-to-nature bards of the late ’60s, or today’s thriving singer/songwriter scene. Morin references all these styles; they’re in his vocabulary, but he’s no dilettante. His engaging sound is his alone….”
Morin’s third solo release, Tiny Town, follows close on the heels of an international tour that spanned the U.S. and reached as far as France and Denmark.
Crow tribal member and son of an air force officer, Morin was born in Billings, Montana. He spent the bulk of his youth in Great Falls, where he cut his teeth picking guitar standards at neighborhood get-togethers, before relocating to Northern Colorado. There, his musical career hit the ground running with The Atoll, a band he founded in 1989 and that toured nationally, gaining a devoted following. Later, he achieved international acclaim with The Pura Fé Trio, for whom the single “Ole Midlife Crisis,” which Morin wrote and performed with Pura Fé, placed at number 17 on France’s iTunes blues chart. With The Atoll and The Pura Fé Trio, and as a solo artist, Morin has played celebrated venues across the globe, including Paris Jazz Festival, Winter Park Jazz Festival, Folk Alliance International, River People Festival, Shakori Hill Festival, the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, and most recently Rochefort En Accords festival in France and The Copenhagen Blues Festival.
Morin’s stage credits also include Tribe at the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix, and co-authorship of Turtle Island, a 50-member production that played two consecutive years to sold-out audiences in Northern Colorado. With the Red Willow Dancers, he was a guest of the internationally renowned Kodo Drummers, performing at their 1998 Spring Festival and additional dates in Japan. He has produced or performed on over 15 recordings, and has toured across the US, as well as Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, and the UK. Morin’s performances have reached millions on national TV in Japan, France, and the UK, as well as on national radio in the US (NPR’s Beale Street Caravan), UK (BBC’s Whose London), France (RFI), Switzerland, and Belgium.
For two consecutive years (2013 and 2014), Cary won the Colorado Blues Challenge Solo Championship. He was also nominated for Aboriginal Entertainer of the Year and Best Blues CD in the Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Awards. In 2013, he received a lifetime achievement award from the Fort Collins Music Association (FoCoMA) and won the Colorado Fan Favorite Poll in the blues category for his second solo release, Streamline.
In addition to his solo pursuits, Cary Morin performs with Young Ancients, a collaboration with John Magnie and Steve Amedée of The Subdudes.
Hickman is best known for co-founding the band Cracker. His fiery lead guitar sound and spirited co-writing give flavor to that band’s alternative radio hits, including Teen Angst, Low, Get Off This, and Eurotrash Girl. Cracker, founded in 1991 with childhood friend David Lowery, has nine full-length releases to date. Kerosene Hat (1994) remains an alternative music collection staple. Lowery and Hickman together are seen as godfathers of the alternative music scene, who turned gently away from plaid-clad grunge in the 1990s with more countrified and bluesy stylings. Their collaboration with the jam-band Leftover Salmon in 2003 further proved that no one genre could contain them. Cracker’s album, Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey (2009), garnered indie press rave reviews, with the song “Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out” finding its way into the soundtrack for the cult TV hit Californication. Cracker (Lowery, Hickman, drummer Frank Funaro and bassist Sal Maida) continue to tour internationally, with a future release likely to appear in 2013.
Johnny’s solo work includes Tilting (July 2012), which takes Hickman’s reliable blazing guitar and roots-rock sounds in a broader direction that includes melodic pop, and 2005’s solo debut Palmhenge. No Depression magazine called Palmhenge “wildly diverse – from the arena rock of ‘Harvest Queen’ to the Bakersfield country of ‘Friends’ to the splendid folk rock of ‘Little Tom’ and ‘The San Bernardino Boy’ – it blends those genres with a dash of alt-rock to create a surprisingly coherent whole.”
Prior to his tenure in Cracker, Hickman toured as a solo/folk acoustic performer, had a brief stint in the Unforgiven (a tongue-in-cheek-Western guitar rock band), and co-founded the Inland Empire (California) cult band the Dangers. Influenced by punk rock, surf guitar, and true Bakersfield country, Hickman’s sound is often imitated but never perfected by anyone but he and his signature 1977 Les Paul.
Occasionally, Hickman ventures away from solo work and Cracker to spearhead side projects, including his Colorado-based outlaw country band The Hickman-Dalton Gang. Retired side projects include All Thumbs Trio (with moe. guitarist Chuck Garvey, and East Coast guitarist Gibb Droll), and Crazysloth, an Arizona-based band he formed while recording Palmhenge. Film and TV work to date include one full film score for the independent River Red, placement of “Lucky” from Palmhenge in the FX series “Sons of Anarchy,” as well as the placement of Cracker songs in several popular movies.