“Paul Hickey’s songs are punchy, intelligent, melodically appealing… among his many fine attributes is his uncanny ability to fashion a familiar phrase into an original line” Colm O’ Hare - Hot Press
Paul Hickey began his musical life as a young boy in Marino where at school he played the tea chest bass. Its a simple instrument that when plucked creates an deep bass sound. Paul embarked on his musical trip in good company, as another member of this childhood group was Brendan Gleeson, the renowned actor.
In the early ‘70s Paul formed the Jazz Rock band Chessnut. Following an introduction to a young Jim Sheridan the band were recruited to perform the music for his rock opera ‘One Bad Apple’ in Trinity. Around this time Paul joined the Civil Service and the first thing he did was buy his beloved Fender guitar.
Paul formed The Alsatians in the late 70’s which was a 7 piece band featuring a brass section. They did their first recording for the Libra label in 1978 and from that came their most well known song 5 Honours and A 175. On the RTE playlist for 2 months the track featured on several television programs and the film ‘Inner City Looking On’.
The group disbanded in 1986 following several successful years gigging the major venues at the time including McGonagles, The TV Club, Liberty Hall and Corks City Hall and a stand out performance on the same bill as U2, Rory Gallagher, Thin Lizzy, Paul Brady and Clannad in Punchestown.
Solo stints followed as Paul guested with Mary Coughlan, Scullion and The Neighbours. Delving back into band life, Paul went on to form Keep the Faith, a band laden with traditional influences and The Critters, a country rock band. The Critters featured Tom Courtney who had played drums with Paul in The Alsatians and who now features on Paul’s latest album Coolhouse.
2002 saw the release of Paul’s debut solo album Cheap Cabaret, which like many debuts was recorded on less than a shoestring. Hot Press’ Colm O’ Hare enthused “Paul Hickey’s songs are punchy, intelligent, melodically appealing and lyrically well rounded. Among the many fine attributes to be found on this, his solo debut is his uncanny ability to fashion a familiar phrase into an original line. On songs such as the title track and ‘Rose of Tralee’ and his classic ‘5 Honours and a 175’ he manages to find the right balance between wry, sardonic humour and mature observation. Cheap Cabaret is an impressive collection of songs by any standards. Expect to hear more from him in the near future.”
Coolhouse is the soon to be released follow up album. The title track is based around the imagery of a warm hot night after a long hot day when you can go to a ‘Coolhouse’, enjoy a cold longneck and wait for your lover to arrive. As Paul himself articulates “Coolhouse came into being after almost 2 years of immense care and consideration. I wanted to present the 12 songs in the best way possible and get the listener excited. Working with insightful musicians like Frankie Lane, who also produced the album, the wonderful Paul Kelly and my old cohort Tom Courtney on drums has been a first-class experience. I’m looking to the future and eager to get ‘Coolhouse’ out there through gigs and to people who I hope will value it too”
Now based in Athy, Paul Hickey will be on tour throughout Ireland as special guest to award winner John Spillane.