Rumor Has It

Remembering Lucas Hicks

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

I’m going to go ahead and say that Lucas Hicks was the best musician to ever call Bellingham home. From his early days in Pacer and Jill Brazil to his later years with the Gallus Brothers, the Shadies, Deakin Hicks, and the massive amount of music he played during and in between, the sheer depth and breadth of his talent and skill were always on display. He was eternally musically curious, which led him to learn the conventions of the various genres that interested him—only so that he could disregard them to create something that was entirely his own, even when he was playing music written by other people. If the song in his head required an instrument he didn’t know, he would learn it, showing a command of everything from saxophone to accordion to banjo to ukulele to whatever else might happen to be lying around needing to be played. And he made it all look effortless—more than that, he made it all look fun—even when he was sick and playing a show took more energy than he really had.

Because Lucas had cancer, and that’s the other piece of his story. He had it for a long time—14 years, give or take. He never wanted his life to be about that though, and so even as he was forced to cede more and more of his body to the disease, he refused to give it a second more of his time or a fraction more of his existence than he had to. It was why, immediately after one or another of his surgeries, or when he’d finished a round of increasingly intense treatment, he returned to playing music as soon as he was able, often while he was still in the hospital. Nothing, it seemed, could stop him from trying to fill the world with as much music as possible. It’s probably why we thought he’d beat cancer and outlive us all.

Sometimes it doesn’t work that way. Lucas lost his fight with cancer. He died last week, at home, surrounded by friends and family.

As news trickled out about his death, tributes began to appear on social media, written by friends, acquaintances and those who did not know Lucas but had long admired him. It became clear immediately that his ability to forge meaningful connections to people was not limited to his music. He gave freely of himself, as much as he was able and often more, and the result is an astonishing number of people who now have a piece of Lucas to remember him by.

I have my own piece of Lucas. He was my friend and I loved him. He was a good friend to have, wicked funny, always interesting and interested, ready to engage in meaningful discourse or utter nonsense depending on the situation—and he was also tough as hell. To be frank, I’m having a hard time coming to terms with losing him. What happened to Lucas was so brutally unfair that I am unable to take its measure or to reckon with it just yet.

In lieu of acceptance, the feeling I am left with, other than grief, is profound gratitude. I am grateful that, after his initial diagnosis, Lucas opted to move back here, to call this place and this community home. I am grateful that he was driven to push so much of his music out into the world and to share so much of his skill and creativity and sheer joy with us. To have his music now and to know its impact will continue to reverberate is a wondrous gift. I am grateful that, as a community, we showed up for him, and that we tried to make performing for us worth the increasing effort he put into it. When cancer had taken so much from him physically, he still played with skill and focus, and I am grateful for those times we filled rooms and honored not just the music itself, but also the remarkable level of musicianship he was able to maintain until the end.

Mostly, though, I am enormously grateful to those people in Lucas’ life he was closest to, the ones who helped make it possible for him to find his way through this on his own terms as much as he could, the ones who gave generously and unreservedly of themselves to him so that he could give so much to us. They surrounded him with friendship and fellowship, gave him a soft place to land, supported him and never left his side. And then when there was nothing more to be done and his time was waning, they gathered at the home Lucas had made with longtime partner Jenny Rose and filled it with love and music and let him go.

I don’t know how to reconcile the loss of someone like Lucas. I don’t have those words or possess that wisdom. But I am going to take my piece of him and hold it close. And I will be grateful.

Before his death, Lucas was working on bringing Brazilian family band Choro das 3 to Bellingham for a concert. In the interest of making certain the show will go on, Jenny would like to invite everyone to see Choro das 3 at 6:30pm Sun., Oct. 15 at the YWCA Ballroom, 1026 N. Forest St. Tickets are $15 and available at the door.

—Carey Ross

Book Group Mixers

5:30pm|Village Books

Bringing history into sharp focus


Fall Craft & Antique Show

10:00am|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

U.S. Citizenship Class

6:00pm|Lynden Library

Balkan Folk Dance

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library


7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

The Women of Lockerbie

7:00pm|Lynden Christian High School

Summer Bike Stories

7:00pm|Cafe Velo

Young Frankenstein

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Mt. Baker Theatre Undersea Bubble
Fall Craft & Antique Show

10:00am|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds


7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

The Women of Lockerbie

7:00pm|Lynden Christian High School

Young Frankenstein

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Wild Things

9:30am|Stimpson Family Nature Reserve

Book and Bake Sale

10:00am|Lynden Library

Grand Opening and Open House

11:00am|Social Fabric

Books and Bites

1:00pm|Blaine Library

Clean Eating

2:00pm|Cordata Community Food Co-op

Coffee Tasting

3:00pm|Camber Cafe

Food Not Bombs

4:00pm|downtown Bellingham

Art Night

5:00pm|SpringHill Suites by Marriott

12 Minutes Max Auditions

5:00pm|Firehouse Performing Arts Center

Amber Sky CD Release Party

6:00pm|Presence Studio

Gore & Lore Tours

6:00pm|Historic Fairhaven, downtown Bellingham

Falliday Vintage Market

6:00pm|Port Transit Event Center

Family Story Night

6:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Wild & Scenic Film Festival

6:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

Poetry Party

7:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre


7:00pm|Village Books

USA Dance


Thriller Dance Class

7:00pm|Moles Farewell Tributes

Halloween Movie Night

7:00pm|BHS Performing Arts Center

Friday Night Flicks

7:30pm|Van Zandt Community Hall

Sanford-Hill Piano Series

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center


8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Holding the Light

8:00pm|Honey Moon

Bellingham Farmer’s Market Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1
Fall Craft & Antique Show

10:00am|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds


7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

The Women of Lockerbie

7:00pm|Lynden Christian High School

Young Frankenstein

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Book and Bake Sale

10:00am|Lynden Library

Gore & Lore Tours

6:00pm|Historic Fairhaven, downtown Bellingham

Falliday Vintage Market

6:00pm|Port Transit Event Center


8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Harvest Happens

8:00am|Bellewood Acres

Lynden Breakfast

8:00am|VFW Hall

Ferndale Breakfast

8:00am|Ferndale Senior Center

NSEA Work Party

9:00am|Terrell Creek

Scarecrow Stuffing Contest

9:00am|Garden Spot Nursery

Twin Sisters Farmers Market

9:00am|North Fork Library, Nugents Corner

Landscape stewards work party

9:00am|Chuckanut Center

Pumpkins 4 Pajamas

9:00am|Lakeway Fred Meyer

Anacortes Farmers Market

9:00am|Depot Arts Center

Pumpkin Patch on Rails

9:00am|Wickersham Station

Port race ponders a wasted waterfront


Everyday Superheroes 5K

10:00am|Squalicum Creek Park

Blaine Gardeners Market

10:00am|H Street Plaza

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Bellingham Comicon

10:00am|Ferndale Event Center

Fall Family Fun

10:00am|Glen Echo Garden

Blaine Oktoberfest


Community Cider Pressing

10:00am|Chuckanut Center

98221 Studio Tour

10:00am|Fidalgo Island

Correspondence Club

10:30am|Mindport Exhibits

Enlightened Caterpillar

10:30am|Village Books

Holiday Gifts from the Kitchen

11:00am|Community Food Co-op

Crown Jewel Wilderness

11:00am|Western Washington University Bookstore

Mushrooms gone wild


Fidalgo Youth Symphony

1:00pm|McIntyre Hall

Conquering Writer's BLock

1:00pm|Blaine Library

Winter Birds of Whatcom County

2:00pm|Ferndale Library

Undersea Bubble Fantasia

2:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Brew on the Slough

5:00pm|Maple Hall

Community Library Celebration

5:00pm|North Fork Library

Bellingham Hoptoberfest

6:00pm|Bellingham Sportsplex

Seeds of Change

6:30pm|Edison Granary

The Great Unconformity

7:00pm|Village Books

Skagit Symphony's Gala Concert

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Whose Live Anyway?

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Concert Hall

The Tannahill Weavers

7:30pm|Littlefield Celtic Center

Original Comedy Night

8:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

see our complete calendar »

Trove Village Books Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Mt. Baker Theatre Undersea Bubble Bellingham Farmer’s Market CWWarrenMiller