James Hickman and Dan Cassidy have been playing concerts together for close on a decade. Their duo was formed in 2008, beginning with several successful local shows in James' hometown of Shrewsbury and the surrounding county of Shropshire. Their relaxed banter and unique musical style was well received and they were soon performing further afield. The following year, with the prospect of more comprehensive tours approaching, they recorded and released their debut album ‘Severn Street’, featuring arrangements of traditional songs and tunes and several of their own compositions.
Their successive tours have grown steadily in size and they now perform throughout the UK, enjoying concerts from the Scottish Highlands to the Isle of Wight. Inspired by their love of traditional music from Britain and America, James and Dan have continued writing together incorporating the new material into their live shows to keep them fresh.
Dan Cassidy is a superlative violin player, his playing encompassing a myriad of musical styles including classical, jazz, bluegrass, country, blues, and rock. Born into a musical family from Maryland, USA (not the one I’ve only just discovered teetering at the end of the central line in east London) Dan’s travels have taken him far from his homeland. It was in the 1980s that he came to the UK and discovered the fiddle playing of Shetlander Aly Bain and this inspired his passion for celtic music. Now resident in Iceland, Dan is a successful session musician, returning to the U.K regularly to perform with his own group, The Dan Cassidy Swing Quartet as well as with James. He appears on several recordings of his sister, the late, much missed Eva Cassidy.
The other half of the partnership, James Hickman, also shares a musical heritage, his father being an avid bluegrass musician. His father bought him his first guitar when James was 13 and he has never looked back, learning his craft in folk clubs and at sessions before heading off to music school. As well as playing with Dan, James sometimes performs with another member of the Wild Hare Club Hall of Fame, Chris Quinn.
Luckily both James and Dan share a sense of humour. The first time I booked them I publicised the show as Hickman and Quinn, so used was I to seeing those two names together. Oops, not my proudest moment as a promoter so I hereby make a public apology.