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    Spotlight on Barbara Higbie’s New CD and December 18 Release Concert

    By Irene Young–

    Barbara Higbie and I have known each other since she was 22 years old. She has toured the world, played in multiple groups, recorded with Windham Hill and Olivia, and garnered multiple awards. We had a chance to discuss her new CD just before she left to perform in Germany.

    Irene Young: Barbara, how would you describe your new album?

    Barbara Higbie: The music is inspired by nature and the healing power of music. It is called Presence, and is the final part of an instrumental trilogy, or “Chillogy,” as some are calling it. The first album in the series, Resonance, was released in 2019, then Murmuration in 2021, and now Presence in 2022.

    Irene Young: You have played such a variety of genres during your career, from bluegrass to jazz to new age and everything in between. What inspired you to revisit your Windham Hill roots and compose healing music?

    Barbara Higbie: The series came about to fulfill a bodyworker’s request for music to play during her sessions with clients. I set about making an album with healers in mind: melodic and spontaneous, played by fine musicians on great instruments in a great studio. The first album in the series, Resonance, became quite a hit. I heard from people all over the country who were playing it on constant replay. A sequel was called for, and during the making of that second album Murmuration, I had a creative burst, and composed the third album, entitled Presence.

    Irene Young: Did you self-produce this Chillogy, or work with a producer?

    Barbara Higbie: I credit my co-producer, Lisa Vogel, with coaxing all three albums out of me. She also played a major role in the recording studio.

    Irene Young: Will the show at The Freight on December 18 be solo or with a band?

    Barbara Higbie: I will be performing with an amazing, all-star quintet! The great Vicki Randle, guitar and vocals; Seattle-based cello star, Jami Sieber; the brilliant world music percussionist, Michaelle Goerlitz; and bass legend, Dewayne Pate. It’s a dream band of my very favorite musicians!

    Irene Young: Oh, yes. I am familiar with each of them, and every member is a master musician. Any other Bay Area gigs lined up?

    Barbara Higbie: We warm up for The Freight’s December 18 show with a December 17 show at the Occidental Center for the Arts in Occidental.

    Irene Young: Will you be showcasing the new album?

    Barbara Higbie: The show will be a mix of new, seasonal, and original high energy music. We will be celebrating the first night of Hanukkah, the season, the new release, and the pure joy of making music together.

    Irene Young: Since meeting you, your life in music has been very constant and full. Barbara, how the heck did all this begin at such a young age?

    Barbara Higbie: As the youngest of 6 kids from a very musical family, I played from age 4. My family moved from Indiana to Ghana when I was 13. I experienced a profound cultural awakening. Later, attending Mills College, then the Sorbonne and being a musician in Paris, I started composing. At 22, I became the first female instrumentalist signed to the Windham Hill label.

    Irene Young: You must have quite the discography by now. How many album projects have there been throughout your career?

    Barbara Higbie: 9 solo, 9 group, and 15 compilations.

    Irene Young: Wow! Fun Fact #1: You introduced Windham Hill to my photography, which resulted in a long-lasting gig photographing their artists. Fun Fact #2: I introduced you to Teresa Trull and told you two that you should play together.

    Barbara Higbie: Yes! I began recording for Olivia Records as a duo with the great singer-songwriter Teresa Trull. We toured with Cris Williamson, Ferron, Holly Near, Linda Tillery. So many women making fantastic music, and many will be featured in your upcoming book!

    Irene Young: Barbara, thank you for taking the time to do this interview right before you head for Germany to perform on an Olivia travel riverboat cruise. I’ll see you at The Freight on December 18!

    Barbara Higbie and her All-Star Band will be performing at the Freight & Salvage on Sunday, December 18, 7 pm.

    For tickets and more information:

    Photographer and videographer Irene Young has over 600 CD covers and thousands of promo photos to her credit. Her upcoming book, “Something About the Women: Five Decades of Seeing by Irene Young,” will be available in early 2023.

    Published on December 15, 2022