Dan Hicks' last couple of albums have featured high-profile guests such as Jimmy Buffett, Willie Nelson and Elvis Costello. But his new "Tangled Tales," which is due out in March, goes light on the big names with contributions from just a couple of hot musician friends such as Charlie Musselwhite and David Grisman.
"It just kind of turned out that way," says the Arkansas-born Hicks, 67, who came to fame in the mid-'60s as part of the San Francisco band the Charlatans before forming his Hot Licks in 1968. "I did ask a couple of different singers if they would be interested or could do anything on it, but I didn't really pursue it a whole lot.
"I asked Linda Ronstadt if she'd be on the thing. She never got back to me -- well, first she said 'I'm only singing Spanish songs,' so we put the damn thing in Spanish for her, but that didn't even do it."
Hicks also tried to get actor Jack Nicholson to take an out-of-character musical turn on a song called "The Diplomat."
"I'd met him before," Hicks says, "and I got the thing to him. His manager said he toyed with the idea but decided not to do it. He didn't say exactly why; I think he just doesn't think he's a singer -- which is [i]why[/i] I wanted him to do it, of course!"
Dan Hicks & the Hot Licks perform at 8 p.m. Wednesday (Jan. 14) at the Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor. Tickets are $25. Call (734) 761-1451 or visit www.theark.org.