CANTINERO
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CANTINERO

Catskill, New York, United States | INDIE

Catskill, New York, United States | INDIE
Band Alternative Pop

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Cantinero is Christopher Lee Hicken, an English ex-patriot who came to the states in hopes of a musical breakthrough. Hicken was in several bands while in England, but while he enjoyed playing with these bands, they had a hard time getting signed. In many interviews, he admitted to wanting to be a superstar. So instead of giving up, he moved to New York City at the suggestion of another musician and found a job bartending, hence the name Cantinero (Spanish for bartender). Hicken finally got the time to making some demos and was signed to Artemis. Championship Boxing is the result of these demos and life in New York City.


Championship Boxing is an endearing album that could please listeners across the music spectrum. In other words, there's something from everyone. Recorded in his homemade studio apartment, Championship Boxing is best when Hicken's lyrics fit perfectly with his melodies. It is with this he expands into different genres of music almost flawlessly.


There's moments in this album that you could classify as Brit-pop. Other times you hear a bit of electronica. Hicken's singer/songwriter and folk sensibilities, though, are what holds this album together. This album would be nothing without his ability to extend his vocal range to fit the atmosphere of the song. On opener "So Low" you hear fantastic piano playing much like Ben Folds with a thumping bass guitar. This song is a perfect example of how to show the soul of what pop music is missing these days. On "Tuesday," my favorite song on the album, you can hear Hicken's dog in the background. The song features some electronica loops, samples, and sweet bassline while Hicken sings, raps, and broods about looking for love.


Hicken, as many good songwriters do, covers heart-wrenching and personal subjects on this album. The death of his father is the theme behind "The Conversation." Questions about faith come up in "Jesus Loves You."


I should also point out that the instrumentation on this album is excellent. For having been recorded in a spare apartment that doubled as a studio, his band members did an excellent job at keeping the music persistent to Hicken's direction and lyrics. Overall, Championship Boxing is like the perfect glass of lemonade on a hot sunny summer day. If life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. Life gave Hicken lemons, and Championship Boxing is his lemonade. And it's quite refreshing too.

 - Jason Wilder, 3/17/2005 - Delusions of Adequacy


http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4505242 - NPR


Discography

"Championship Boxing" - Artemis Records/V2, 2004.

"Better For The Metaphor" - Tinkle Tone Recordings.
Nov 5th 2008

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Bio

BETTER FOR THE METAPHOR - NPR BEST CDS OF 2008
.Cantinero is the Nom de plume of Christopher Hicken, a British born NY based singer-songwriter/composer who makes lovingly crafted alt/folk -pop. Witty, incisive and coolly melodramatic, Instantly hummable pop song’s, meet keenly observed insights that chronicle the complicated world we live in. Set to live instrumentation with subtle electronic and organic textures.

“Championship Boxing”, the critically acclaimed Artems/V2 Records debut, hit Top 40 on Amazon.com and Top 20 on the CMJ/Triple A Radio , was featured on National Public Radio’s “All Songs Considered” and earned an 11 minute special on NPR’s "Weekend Edition", which drew an audience of over eight million. MTV played the video multiple times.

New album “Better For The Metaphor”, was recorded over an 18 month period after a move from NYC to a rural, secluded log cabin in the Catskill Mountains. Producing the record himself, the album features a wealth of studio and touring musicians who had previously worked with everyone from Frank Sinatra and Stevie Wonder to James Brown, Lambchop and Britney Spears.

Prior to his solo career, the native of Birmingham, England, arrived in America in 1993 with the Alternative-Rock group Bigmouth. When the group dissolved, Hicken spent seven years working as a bartender (hence the moniker “Cantinero,” a nickname bestowed on him by a Spanish co-worker) before deciding to give music another try .

PBS is currently using seven of Cantinero’s songs for its hit TV show “Roadtrip Nation” (which has also featured Sufjan Stevens, Of Montreal and Jack Johnson.) Hicken has recently worked with the Blue Man Group and was the only outside artist opening for Steve Earl on his recent tour. Fuse TV recently produced a special on the making of the new record.