King Solomon Hicks was an unknown quantity to me but goddam when you saw the visuals and his standing there in a metallic looking red suit, you can’t help but wonder if you’ve ever seen an even more dapper bluesman before. He certainly looks the part but can this 24-year-old guitarist deliver. Hell yeah, he can, the 24-year-old grew up in Harlem “around a lot of great musicians,” he says. Music runs through the veins of the city, so there was no doubt that the young Hicks, who was only 6 years old when he started playing the guitar, was going to absorb those surroundings. By 13 he was on the stage at the Cotton Club, four times a week, as lead guitarist in the clubs’ 17 piece band and was already playing in legendary venues such as St. Nick’s in Sugar Hill and the iconic Lenox Lounge which Malcolm X had been a patron, and had seen the likes of Miles Davis and John Coltrane grace the stage.
The album kicks off with ‘Rather Be Blind’ announcing that this kid has exactly what is needed to make it on the modern blues scene, a voice all his own both vocally and musically through his instrument, he hasn’t hit the ground trying to emulate the greats but instead delivers a style that he can certainly call his own. Hicks covers songs here by the greats such as B.B. King in ‘Every day I Sing The Blues’ yet he makes it his own with an individual interpretation as too does he on Donny Hathaway’s ‘I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know’ which again shows Hick’s confidence and ability to reconstruct the classics.
Hicks enrolled to the Harlem School of Arts and the prestigious educational program Jazzmobile, and while performing on his home turf, he also expanded to venues such as the Iridium, the Red Rooster, Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar, Terra Blues and more. After high school Hicks began playing in Europe, opening for Jeff Beck and Ringo Starr, playing festivals in Spain and France, as well as at the Cotton Club in Tokyo, and being booked on KISS Kruise V in 2017 and on this year’s Joe Bonamassa Blues Alive at Sea Cruise. He’s shared stages with the likes of Tony Bennett, Beth Hart, George Thorogood & the Destroyers, Mavis Staples, Paul Shaffer and others. He has also performed at the United Nations in New York City, for former Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, former Governor of New York David Paterson and during a New York Knicks game.
All the above experience makes for a musician well beyond his youthful years and the solidity and composure across Harlem is testimony to the musical education and life education collected as he clocked up the miles touring with some of today’s musical royalty. All of that is poured out across eleven majestic tracks that announce King Solomon Hicks’s arrival in style.
KING SOLOMON HICKS DEBUT ALBUM ‘HARLEM’
was RELEASED: 13th MARCH, 2020 VIA PROVOGUE/MASCOT LABEL GROUP
1. Rather Be Blind
2. Every Day I Sing The Blues
3. What The Devil Loves
4. 421 South Main
5. I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know
6. Headed Back To Memphis
7. My Love Is Alive
8. Have Mercy On Me
9. Riverside Drive
10. It’s Alright
11. Help Me