Barbara Higbie

Barbara Higbie is a longtime Windham Hill recording artist now recording for Slowbaby Records. Both a singer and a songwriter, Higbie is a championship fiddle player, as well as a pianist and composer. The co-founder of the successful acoustic group "Montreux," Higbie has recorded two award-winning solo CDs, "Signs of Life" and "I Surrender." In addition, Higbie has played on more than 45 albums, recently recording with Bonnie Raitt on Rosalie Sorrels' tribute CD to Malvina Reynolds. She also worked with Rosalie on her album "Borderline Heart." The two met in 1994.

barbara higbie

Q: What makes Rosalie distinctive?
A: She's a truly great artist. There's no artifice at all. She is completely who she is. I think the best description I've ever heard is, "the hillbilly Edith Piaf." She's got that universal kind of expression of human emotion on that level but it's through a whole country hillbilly kind of lens.

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But also just being on stage with her or recording with her, she will take it emotionally just to the wall. She will go fearlessly into these emotions that she has obviously experienced in her life and bring them out in this way that is fearless. I just know that most people will go to a certain level and stop, but not Rosalie. She will take you to a point. I've played the song many times with her but I'm sitting there scared. "Wait a minute, don't go that far!" And then she brings it all around and makes it whole again. It's an amazing magical thing that she does.

"She will go fearlessly into these emotions that she has obviously experienced in her life and bring them out in this way that is fearless. "

Q: You say, don't go that far, because you worry that she might crack?
A: Right. Exactly. She might crack and we all might crack. You're not supposed to get that intense and that loving towards life. She loves life in a big way that I think most of us don't let ourselves do.

barbara higbie playing violin on stage Q: What have you learned from her?
A: I've learned that life is precious in a way. You know that, but there's a way that she has kind of the death and life right there all of the time which makes you really realize that life is precious and emotions are precious and people are precious. She certainly isn't about material success and the trappings of fame or anything like that. She is just about the moment of life is all we really all have, the moment we're in. And she is about that moment and about taking it into your 70's and 80's. She has taught me about being awake to life in another way.