Called "a bolt of bright sunlight" by the L.A.Times, a “classy talent” by the Boston Globe and “the most exciting musician we’ve heard” by the S.F. Chronicle, Barbara Higbie brings joy and virtuosity to every performance. She is a Grammy-nominated, Bammy and Glama award winning composer, singer-songwriter and fiddler, appearing on over 100 albums, including 18 of her own and 12 compilations that have sold in the millions. She has recorded with Carlos Santana, Bonnie Raitt, Cris Williamson, Ferron, Linda Tillery, Holly Near, Teresa Trull and many others. “Unexpected,” a duo album with singer-songwriter, Teresa Trull (on Olivia/Second Wave Records) made Higbie/Trull one of the most popular acts in Women’s Music. At the same time, Barbara was the first woman to be signed to the famed instrumental label, Windham Hill Records, where she co-led a group that recorded live at the Montreux Jazz Festival, touring internationally for 15 years.
The youngest of six children from a midwestern musical family, Higbie started piano at age four. At age 13, her family moved from small town Indiana to Ghana, West Africa. She attended Mills College and the Sorbonne in Paris. At 21, she was awarded the prestigious Watson Fellowship to collect traditional music in West Africa. At 22, she placed 6th in the National Women’s Fiddle Contest. At 23, she released her first original album on Windham Hill, the critically acclaimed “Tideline” on the Windham Hill label.
Barbara’s first solo CD on Sony Records, a singer-songwriter album in 1990, was named “Top Ten of the Year” by the Washington Post. In 2011, Higbie was named the first “Artist in Residence” for the famed west coast jazz club, Yoshi’s. There, she founded the group “Hills to Hollers” with gospel/blues singer and original Olivia collective member, Linda Tillery and bluegrass star, Laurie Lewis. Recently, Higbie’s composing and recording has harkened back to her Windham Hill roots, with a popular 3-part, all women “Chillogy” series, produced by Lisa Vogel, featuring the brilliant Jami Sieber, cello, Vicki Randle, guitar and Michaelle Goerlitz, percussion. December 2023 marks the release of her new “Solstice” album. In addition to composing, recording, playing festivals and touring, Barbara loves playing for Olivia audiences. She has performed on over 35 Olivia trips and counts them among the best experiences of her life.
CURRENT OLIVIA TRIPS