"Skeptical Optimism" by Rick Wicker
Rick Wicker's bio tells the story of a veteran singer-songwriter who refuses to give up on his passion for music; a sense of purpose that has formed his entire life. Not surprisingly, the title of his CD, "Skeptical Optimism," reflects a wary caution that just may relate to where his music is intended or is hoped, to take him, knowing all the while that what really matters is the journey itself. And this particular journey is by no means unrewarding. Recording at home, Wicker, a gifted guitarist and a singer/songwriter of considerable skill, delivers country-rock reminiscent of Loggins & Messina as heard on "Hurrien Nowhere" or Pure Prairie League heard on "Youniverse," and stretches out on a hook-laden rocker with muscular guitar proficiency on "Hell's Gate." The last of the 4 tracks, "Space Age Kids" blends Byrds-like folk-rock and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young harmonies to perfection, investing the song with the kind of classic but timeless, urgency that continues to make rock and its variant styles both satisfying and vital. Above all, Rick Wicker's "Skeptical Optimism" is an original and compelling work that recalls '70's country-rock influences without copying them and it's an excellent 4-song release that deserves no less than out and out optimism.
-Rice B. and the RadioIndy.com Reviewer Team
Rick Wicker: Sweet Country Life
A Journeyman Through Time
Rick Wicker has explored his world, inside and out, through music since his childhood in the late 1950’s. He’s worked hard, explored what he can, and had a full life. His words and songs grab you in a unique way. His foot-tapping, sing along country songs get you excited just thinking about the good times.
Today, country musicians are everywhere and they all seem to sing about love, loss, life, and the good times. But words only go so far. Rick Wicker paints a vivid picture in the minds of his listeners of his own life; his triumphs and defeats. He describes “Life’s Road” in his own words as, “those were interesting years of exploring the world around me and self within me. These songs reflect that sense of questioning and reaching.”
Wicker’s sound is unique but certain songs bring out reminiscence of some of the greats over the years. The Stream (This Dream), from the album “Life’s Road”, has a very mellow feel like Simon & Garfunkel’s The Only Living Boy in New York and The Sound of Silence. As you sink your teeth into “Life’s Road”, you can’t help but be reminded of greats like The Band and Willie Nelson.
Wicker’s music appeals to older generations because he is a part of an older generation. His work reflects the themes of the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s (although thankfully not as much the ‘80s as the other three decades.
However, his music is not beyond the younger generations. Mr. & Mrs. Happily Everafter for the album “Sweet Country Life” immediately reminded me of a down-home version of Ben Folds’ ever-popular, Zak and Sara. A song about unlikely love, it enchants you instantly. Some of Wicker’s songs, including Mr. & Mrs. Happily Everafter, may remind Christian music fans of Jeremy Casella’s lyrical melodies in his songs Lazarus, 10,000 Angels, and She Told Me.
Besides his great country and acoustic stylings, no doubt highly enriched by his 19 years spent in Nashville, TN, he also presents an anthology collection entitled “Meditating Nude” in which he experiments a bit with some new age instrumental tunes.
At the heart of his six albums, is one life, enriched by music and lived to the full. He describes his work as “an Anthology of sorts” because it was written and recorded over a span of so many years, now coming together as a tale of the ages.
If good music and a good life is something you’re looking for, look no further than Rick Wicker.
Review by Grant Fitzgerald for MyMusicSuccess