DaShawn Hickman w/ Charlie Hunter

One of the foremost contemporary practitioners of Sacred Steel, a blues-gospel tradition dating back to the Pentecostal-Holiness churches of the 1930s, DaShawn Hickman grew up hearing the pedal steel in the tiny House of God church his family attended in Mt. Airy, North Carolina, and listening to his mother play lap steel in their home. Hickman picked up the instrument at the age of 5. In his teens, he formed a group with three of his cousins that found fame as The Allen Boys, North Carolina’s only touring Sacred Steel band.

Now, Hickman puts his own spin on the Sacred Steel tradition with Drums, Roots & Steel, his debut album on Little Village, produced by Charlie Hunter (who also plays bass on the recordings), and featuring the soulful vocals of Hickman’s wife Wendy on several tracks. “We just want to spread love and joy to people,” says Hickman. “That’s our mission, me and my wife both. We love what we do, and we just want to take it out and let other people experience it, and be heard in the right manner.”