Musician and writer Dylan Hicks was born in a bohemian sector of Austin, Texas, in 1970, and has lived since 1983 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His parents and stepparents were discerning music fans and in some instances let him expropriate Sonny Rollins and Carole King LPs supposedly superannuated by CDs. His childhood piano studies were brief and not prodigious. Accidental Birds, his seventh album-length recording excluding cassette-only juvenilia, was written and recorded during the pandemic, largely in remote home-studio sessions, and released in the late spring or early summer of 2021. The album was performed by Hicks and a long list of players credited on the CD itself or on its Bandcamp page. That album’s predecessor, Munson-Hicks Party Supplies, was a set of Hicks’s songs mostly sung by John Munson (Semisonic, the New Standards), who also played bass and other instruments, and served as the album’s lead producer. On the album Munson and Hicks were joined by guitarist Zacc Harris, drummer Richard Medek, and enough guests to field a softball team, including vocalists Kelly Hogan and Nora O’Connor. Hicks has also published two novels with Coffee House Press and written journalism, essays, word puzzles, and fiction for the Village Voice, the New York Times, the New England Review, Slate, the Guardian, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Paris Review Daily, Mpls.-St. Paul, and other publications, many of them now defunct.
Hicks started putting out larkish cassettes and performing in clubs in his late teens. Over the nineties and early aughts he released three albums on No Alternative/TRG Records and built up a following in the Twin Cities along with coin pockets of support in other markets. These early musical endeavors were not profitable. In 2002, he shifted his focus to journalism, criticism, and, eventually, fiction and essays. His debut novel, Boarded Windows, was released in 2012. Its companion album, Dylan Hicks Sings Bolling Greene, was presented as a collection of songs written by one of the novel’s secondary characters. Hicks’s fiction has also been acclaimed. Reviewing Hicks’s 2016 novel, Amateurs, for the Los Angeles Times, Michael Schaub called Hicks a “wonderful, meticulous author,” while the Guardian called the book “sharply observed and very funny.”
Hicks lives with his wife, Nina Hale, an entrepreneur, craftsperson, birder, and photographer. Their adult son, Jackson, lives nearby.
Dylan Hicks is a musician and writer. His most recent recordings are Accidental Birds, a singer-songwriter album with electronic touches mainly produced in remote sessions during the pandemic, and Munson-Hicks Party Supplies, a collection of his songs mostly sung by John Munson. Hicks is also the author of two novels, Amateurs and Boarded Windows, and has written journalism, criticism, essays, and word puzzles for the New York Times, the Village Voice, Slate, the New England Review, the Paris Review Daily, and many other publications.