We Are Sydney Cline

October 16, 2015

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.E.F. Schumacher

I was given a tremendous gift, this past Saturday. Let me begin by sharing and paraphrasing the email I received.

On Oct 7, 2015, at 11:24 pm, Sydney Cline wrote:

Hey Jeff! Long time, no talk. 🙂 The deadline for the Tori Kelly audition submission was moved to this coming Monday, Oct. 12th. Thinking I would have to have the video recorded and edited by this past Monday, though, I went ahead and made a “Lay Me Down” cover by Sam Smith in the campus library’s music room, last week, anyway, just so I could submit something and compete. Sunday, when I got back to school, I went back to the library and quickly filmed, “Riptide.” Long story short, I’m home again for fall break; now until Sunday. I would love to make this video and song my best work; something I’m proud of and want to share with everyone, so they can vote. This being said, I would love your guidance and help. I know you are extremely busy and I would be grateful for whatever time you could offer. If you have any free time and would be interested in helping me, I would love it. I have this break, now, to focus on making it perfect, so I thought you could definitely help make it my best.

Sydney Cline was one of my Voice and Artist Development students for almost two years before being accepted and heading off this fall to North Carolina State University. From day one, she managed her own sessions. That includes her scheduling, her goals, her responsibility – her everything. That “everything,” in my experience, makes the biggest difference between those who “will” and those who “won’t.” Those who “should” and those who “shouldn’t.”

Sydney, like most (if not all) artists I know, is indeed a perfectionist. What I’ve come to realize and encourage through years of trial and error, is that there’s beauty, originality and style in imperfection. Imperfection is the very thing every artist should explore and exploit. But, that’s a blog for another day.

So, “Squyd” and I meet at the studio. She shares both videos with me. Half-way through viewing the second one, I asked her to stop. I was beaming with pride. It was imperfectly perfect. Sure, her voice sounded great. Sure, she had the right amount of variation and creativity. All the technique in the world didn’t compare to the initiative she took. I’m not talking about blind ambition or ego. She didn’t go big. She went smart. She knows who she is. She found the right track and arrangement for her voice. She secured a room at the library. It was clever. She recorded, edited, uploaded and submitted the video on her own terms, making the most of her resources on campus, for a campus-related event; as opposed to filming an expensive, technology and production-saturated chef-d’oeuvre. At the end of the day, that’s what makes the biggest difference to me. Simple. Smart. Autonomy.

Sydney gave me the greatest gift I could ask for as a teacher. Trust. I don’t define what I do or how I do it by how much I get done by the end of the day. Did I make a difference in someone’s life? The “she’s got this” kinda’ difference? She answered that question on Saturday. Thank you, Squyd.

Sydney Cline isn’t Hickory Arts. We are Sydney Cline.

Jeff Hartman, Artistic Director

The Cast of Junk – Finally

September 18, 2015

The Cast of Junk performing Finally. (C) 2015 Butterfly Moo | Plastic Moon

From the album Junk (Original Cast Recording), available on iTunes.

The Original Cast of Junk recorded 13 songs for the soundtrack from the Bass/Hartman musical comedy that premiered with a sold-out run in The Firemen’s Kitchen at Hickory Theatre. Directed by Pamela Livingstone. Developed for the Stage at Hickory Arts & Hickory Theatre.

Track 13, “Finally,” the finale (see what we did there?), sews everything together. It reminds us that no matter where you are, there you are. You can’t run or hide from your problems. “It’s up to you.” What are you waiting for?

The album is available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and more. Physical CD’s can be purchased at Hickory Arts and through Molly Bass.


Original Release Date — August 9, 2015

A play about a yard sale and a mermaid.


A Bass~Hartman Musical

1. Everything Must Go (1:42) 2. Treasure Hunters (1:45) 3. Crystal?s Ball (2:27) 4. Fish in That There Sea ? Lifeguard (1:40) 5. Dwight?s Plight (2:02) 6. Never Forever (3:28) 7. Crystal Lite (1:35) 8. La La La (2:24) 9. Fish in That There Sea (Reprise) [1:26] 10. The Extra (3:19) 11. Bite You (3:00) 12. Begin Again (3:06) 13. Finally (3:53)

Featuring Grace Bollinger, Connie Bools, Joni Coppinger, Bill Boyd, Daniel Breuer, Nathan Crabtree, Anne Elliot, Carol Anne Hartman and Shannon Underwood

Musicians — Winds: Steven Foster | Piano: Jeff Hartman | Bass: Charlton Seaver

Words and Music by Molly Bass and Jeff Hartman
Arrangements by Jeff Hartman

Produced by Butterfly Moo and Plastic Moon
Engineered by Chris Garges, Old House Studio
Mixed by Jeff Hartman, Hickory Arts
Mastered by Dave Harris, Studio B Mastering
Art by John David Brown III

For Charles

Butterfly Moo | Plastic Moon © 2015. All rights reserved.


September 9, 2015

19 years with and 15 married to my best friend. Can I ask you, again, for another 10?

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, May 1996
The Fantasticks, September 1996
Wedding, September, 2000
The Last 5 Years, July 2013
Sit Strong, December 2010

Legally Blonde

This is the oldest picture of Shannon Underwood and me together I could find; from “The Producers” in September 2008. The first time I met her was earlier that year at an audition. She sang “So Much Better” from Legally Blonde! There wasn’t a person in the room that could touch her talent and not much has changed, except to say she has the skills and experience to support that God-given talent. Meeting Shannon, investing in her as an artist, more importantly as a friend, is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. I’m so grateful to Susan and Dennis for believing in our family and our relationship with Shannon. We’ve been through a lot together. “I am so much better than before” Shannon. Break legs, Harley! I love you.

September 4, 2015

Regally Fond

The First 5 Years

June 12, 2015

The key to this business is personal relationships. Suddenly, it was all pretty clear. The answer was fewer clients.Jerry Maguire

A big, fat thank you to those we believe in.

How do you advertise without advertising? Get out of the way. You don?t wear our t-shirts. We wear yours. We’re here to help artists get from point A to point B, whatever that may be; tiny or big steps; workshops or private sessions; a place to create. You deserve all the credit and glory. It’s all about encouraging that personal motivation and incentive to grow at something meaningful to you. The more transparent we are, the more visible you are. Thank you for sharing your time and talent with us and for the privilege of growing together in skill as artists and arts advocates.

Home is where the “art” is. A personal relationship can strengthen the professional one. We are always willing and eager to personally mentor and produce independent artistry. We like nothing better than to see each artist enjoy and experience their own artistic sovereignty. Studios should only be interested in furthering your career, not the other way around.

There’s a very thin line, if any, between who we are and what we do as artists, so please know that supporting/subscribing to anything Hickory Arts and affiliated artists is very much appreciated.

Produced by Carol Anne Hartman Photography and Plastic Moon Pictures at Hickory Arts
Additional footage courtesy of Garrick Lane, Bill Rahn and, of course, Cameron Crowe
Music by Jeff Hartman
“Home is where the art is.” hickoryarts.com | Follow us on Twitter! @hickoryarts

Junk Cast Album (Sneak Peek)

April 14, 2015

The Original Cast of Junk recently hit the studio to record 13 songs for the soundtrack from the Bass/Hartman musical comedy that premiered with a sold-out run in The Firemen’s Kitchen at Hickory Theatre. Directed by Pamela Livingstone. Developed for the Stage at Hickory Arts & Hickory Theatre.

Track 10, “The Extra,” is an ode (a very bloviated ode) to musical theatre and a reminder that (in the immortal words of The Rolling Stones) “you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, well, you might find you get what you need.”

Nathan Crabtree delivers a showstopping performance, supported by his very own Greek chorus. Nathan, as “The Extra,” proves the smallest roles can pack the biggest punch.

The album will be available by summer on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and more. In the meantime, you can catch a sneak peek at the video for “The Extra.”