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Hot Ticket: What the world needs now - another guitar god

Published June 29, 2006

If you consider yourself a guitar-god aficionado but don't know who Johnny Hickman is, you should be ashamed. As the lead axeman in seminal alt-country crew Cracker - the smart-alecky rockers whose '90s hits Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now) and Low defined that decade - Hickman has always been overshadowed by offbeat frontman David Lowery, above right. (He's famous for launching Camper Van Beethoven and that band's hit, Take the Skinheads Bowling.)

But the truth is that Hickman is a true marvel, informing his searing switchblade solos with country twang, metallic oomph and playful twists. If you want an iPod primer on Hickman - or the perfect air-guitar soundtrack - cue up the wah-wahing goodness of Get Off This, the carnivalian majesty of I Want Out of the Circus and the clashing chords of Euro-Trash Girl. You won't be sorry.

Cracker, with Garrison Starr, performs at 8 p.m. Friday at Skipper's Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $15 advance, $18 at the door. (813) 977-6474.

- SEAN DALY, Times pop music critic

[Last modified June 28, 2006, 12:39:57]

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