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Ronald Drew Higgerson

Musical Information Tape: A



Hailing from Flint, Mich., Higgerson is now living in the Big O (Omaha, that is). He says in his bio that his voice and music are reminiscent of Elvis Costello and acoustic Springsteen. Instead, Higgerson's voice and writing style are the spitting image of John Mellencamp, whether he wants to admit it or not. And that's nothing to be ashamed of. This demo reminds me of when I first heard a Freedy Johnston demo cut way back when in Lawrence (a good friend of mine at the time was a friend of Johnston's and had a copy). You weren't sure if it was good, but you knew there was potential to be good.

The production here is homemade, but not that bad (there's obviously some recording mistakes, a couple times where Higgerson either doesn't know what to sing, hasn't written lyrics or is mumbling; and the levels are all over the place). It's good enough, however to figure out where Higgerson is headed. He's got a pretty good, natural songwriting sense. There's no great leap in styles here, he's playing a sound that's seems to be the product of years of listening to AM radio and noodling a guitar in his bedroom. Hints of folk and country, but not too overpowering in either category. His lyrics are fairly basic and mundane, and could use a little more thought. What breaks these kinds of performers  from the rest of the pack of pseudo-folkies is extremely personal lyrics that avoid clichés at all costs. In other words, honesty. Forget that you're writing a song and focus on telling a story, a memory, whatever, as long as it's real.

The overall sound is sparse (hey, this is an all acoustic effort, remember?) Because his style is so "poppy," however, the songs suffer from not having drums or a bass (yeah, I know he probably never intended to have a band backing him, but the style of music he writes pretty much demands one). When he does add additional instruments, the results are hit and miss (a couple songs feature piano -- a nice touch, adds to the overall sound -- one has a harp -- a mistake that makes the track sound cheesy).

Higgerson's bio says he's played at a handful of coffee houses throughout Indiana, Nebraska, the East Coast. There doesn't seem to be any real touring (and nothing in the past 8 to 10 months). What's in his future? Who knows. He says he's headed to the studio to record a CD. Does he have the chutzpah to actually go on the road and support it? That's a huge, expensive risk, but it'll be the key to any kind of future success, and I think Higgerson knows it.

Contact Higgerson at  

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Copyright © 1999 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.



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