Emily Hicks• “Canned Wine” Single Release”• June 7, 2023
Reviewed and Photographed by Kevin Rolfe
Emily Hicks is a Utah-based Americana singer/songwriter who has captured the hearts of audiences through her soaring vocals, intimate lyrics, and quippy stage banter. With a passion for storytelling, Emily’s music is a reflection of her experiences and emotions, offering a glimpse into her world and connecting with listeners on a personal level. Her unique blend of folk, country, and pop influences creates a sound that is both timeless and contemporary, making her music accessible to a wide range of listeners. Think Taylor Swift meets Nanci Griffith with a little Brandi Carlile vocal spice thrown in.
After a three-year break from releasing songs, Emily Hick recently released the single “Canned Wine”. It’s a great catchy song. and perfect for the summer. I asked her how the song came about. She told me she was in Nashville for some songwriting sessions and was talking about how it’s the epicenter of Country Music.
“So you know how in Country Music there are all these songs about drinking beer? I hate beer. I’ve always hated beer. So I don’t relate. So just as a joke I was like, ‘You guys, you know how all the country songs are about beer or tequila? Can we just write a canned wine song?’ That’s what I drink when I’m at the bar. And no one talks about canned wine. So we did it as a joke. But it came out in about an hour and a half. And we were like ‘This is a really cool song’.
So I started to play it at my shows. People would grasp onto it and relate to it. I think because it’s probably a silly idea. And people would call me the “Canned Wine Girl”. They’d say “Play your canned wine song!”. So I realized that this is the perfect song to start creating that momentum.”
We were invited to attend her single release party recently. The event was fittingly a backyard pool party. When I arrived people were swimming in the pool or sitting around the edge as opener John Sherril was on the mic getting the show going. I thought his music was perfect for the setting and casual nature of the event. It’s always interesting performing at a backyard pool party. It can be difficult to know if people are socializing and you’re just background noise. Or if people are actually listening. While people were definitely getting acquainted with one another I did find them listening and enjoying Sherrill throughout his set.
Unfortunately, there had been a rainstorm an hour or so before the concert. I think that might have scared a few people away from the event. But by the time the single release began, it was a perfect June evening. People were sipping on canned wine. The wine was provided by Old Town Cellars in Park City with the cans and canning provided by Heber Valley Brewing Co in Heber. All of this was done specifically for this single release. I thought that was such a cool idea.
By the time Emily Hicks was set to perform, most people were out of the pool in camping chairs or sitting along the pool, facing the band, with their feet in the water. All eyes were on Emily and her band. Hicks was joined by Nick Steffens on bass, Kim Correa on cajon, and Caroline Garlick on violin. I thought they all added a nice touch to the songs and I enjoyed that each one stood out in their own way musically. I remember thinking as they were performing the second song of the set, “Addicted” that they seemed to be having so much fun up there and it carried out to the crowd. People were bobbing their heads, and feeling the groove. It was a fun group and the band seemed to really enjoy the positive response.
The first thing I noticed was Emily Hicks’ voice. I must admit I’m always drawn to vocals first and then make my way to other elements of the music. Hicks’ voice stood out immediately. She has such a smooth natural tone and she’s really good at writing songs to fit the way she sings. The thought kept crossing my mind throughout her set that I could easily hear her voice and many of these songs on country radio.
Utah has such a deep well of musical talent. I’m constantly impressed by the talent here. And I thought, ‘Here I am, in this nice backyard, with all these nice people, and we’re getting this private concert from someone who could easily be performing at Sandy Amphitheater, or Country Fan Fest one day. Emily sounded great and the people in attendance were totally drawn to her voice. It was great to hear people singing along to the songs Hicks has released.
Another thing I enjoyed was the personal nature of her music. Whether songs about love, or a friend’s breakup, her lyrics brought us inside the story. At times at a very deep level. While Emily Hicks is living in Utah, she originally hails from Indiana. She performed two great songs “Goodbye Indiana” and “Hickory Road” that reflected on those times. Another highlight for me was hearing an unexpected cover of “Royals” by Lorde. I really enjoy that song and I thought Emily Hicks’ arrangement and performance of it was very original.
Before we reached the end of the show, Emily’s friend and sometimes collaborator, Alicia Stockman joined Hicks to sing a couple of songs that she co-wrote with Emily. They performed “Breathe” and “One Piece At a Time”. I thought they sounded really good together. Their harmonies were tight. Which was impressive because sometimes it can be difficult to hear each other in this type of setting. As these songs were performed my thought was how much I’m looking forward to Emily Hicks releasing more music.
The time finally came for Emily to perform the song we were all there to hear. The band joined Hicks to perform the single, “Canned Wine”. And just like when we heard it in between performers, people sang along. This time everyone was on their feet, many of them dancing. Some of them were even live streaming and singing to their phone audience. A pool party is definitely a different environment than a club, but during “Canned Wine” it felt like we were at a proper venue watching a concert. People were singing “Hey!” after the lyric “Baby, hand me my canned wine”. It’s a fun song and a great way to close out the set.
It sounds like “Canned Wine” is gaining momentum. From what I’ve been told, the song has already been played on Nashville radio and has even been on the radio overseas. I’m really looking forward to following Emily Hicks’ career. She certainly has the talent to go far. Hopefully, I’ll be seeing her headline a large venue and bragging to my friends about the time I covered her single release party back in the day.
Weird Wild Wonderful You – Emily Hicks
Addicted – Emily Hicks
Long Distance Loving You – Emily Hicks, Janie Waddell
Make Me Leave You – Emily Hicks
Goodbye Indiana – Emily Hicks
Hickory Lane – Emily Hicks
Different Kind of Life – Emily Hicks
Breathe – Emily Hicks, Alicia Stockman
One Piece at a Time – Emily Hicks, Alicia Stockman
Royals – Lorde (cover)
You’ve Got Drive – Emily Hicks, Janie Waddell
When You Look at Me – Emily Hicks
Canned Wine – Emily Hicks, Janie Waddell, Emily Gurklis
Emily Hicks will be performing with her band at Garage on Beck June 18 from 7-9
She will also be performing a couple of solo sets in the near future:
Utah Arts Fest (Sat. June 24, Garden Stage, 7:45 – 8:15 pm
Miner’s Park in Park City Main Street with Mountain Town Music (July 1st, 1:30 pm-3:00 pm)