Feminist singer-songwriter Cris Williamson is credited as a founder of women’s music in the 1970s. Versatile multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter Barbara Higbie cofounded the acoustic supergroup Montreux with Darol Anger and has played with the likes of Carolos Santana, Rosalie Sorrels, Laurie Lewis and Holly Near. Williamson and Higbie will perform at The Palms Playhouse on Thursday, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.). Tickets are $23 general/$12 students. Decades before indie labels were the norm, and years before women had any real access to the industry, Williamson was busy changing the face of popular music. In 1975, the 20-something former schoolteacher recorded her fifth album, “The Changer and the Changed,” for her brainchild, Olivia Records, the first woman-owned woman-focused record company. Her music and voice quickly became the soundtrack of a movement, and was the cornerstone of what would become known as “women’s music,” music created, performed and marketed specifically to women. Today, that recording, “The Changer and the Changed,” remains one of the best-selling independent releases of all time. For Williamson, the music became the vehicle for something larger. Her lyrics appear on a regular basis in books and thesis papers. Her albums are part of the curriculum for women’s studies courses, and thousands of people who may not even know her name join their voices in “Song of the Soul” around campfires and places of worship. Women embrace her. She is sampled in hip-hop. Her music is used by midwives welcoming life into the world, and hospice choirs sing her songs in tender sacred escort. “She is often considered a treasure, passed hand-to-hand, person-to-person,” says the Boston Phoenix, “Williamson is an heroic character whose tireless activism continues.” Says Bonnie Raitt, “The first time I heard Cris’ music, it was like hearing honey dripped on a cello… Cris has been a whole lot of women’s heroes –– including mine.” Today, with 30-plus full albums to her credit, Williamson continues to tour the acoustic circuit adding new material at each juncture. Her performance career includes three sold-out shows at Carnegie Hall and the headlining of many of the great folk festivals, including Newport, Kerrville, Moab and Vancouver. The songs and the celebration continue with the release of her 32nd and most recent album, “Motherland.” Higbie’s family moved to Ghana, West Africa when she was 13 years old. It was there she first fell in love with music and studied with master drummer Mustafa Tetty Addy. Later in life, after musical studies at Mills College, studies at the Sorbonne and a sojourn performing in Paris, she returned to West Africa with a Watson Fellowship to collect traditional music. A professional musician since age 17, Higbie has played everything from traditional jazz, bluegrass and Irish to new classical music, blues and African pop. She is known for her ability to compose in a style that is both genre-bending and accessible. A Grammy-nominated, Bammy award-winning composer, pianist, fiddler, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Higbie has performed on more than 100 albums, including Carlos Santana’s 2007 release. She recorded her latest solo release, 2014’s “Scenes from Life,” at Lucas Film’s Skywalker Sound. Tickets are available online via The Palms’ website and through Eventbrite, as well as at Pacific Ace Hardware in Winters, Armadillo Music in Davis, Davids’ Broken Note in Woodland and at the door if the show is not sold out. For more information, visit palmsplayhouse.com, criswilliamson.com and barbarahigbie.com. ]]>
Cris Williamson, Barbara Higbie play The Palms on Thursday, Oct. 3
Williamson and Higbie will perform at The Palms Playhouse on Thursday, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.). Tickets are $23 general/$12 students.