Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Distance ~~ Taylor Hicks

Streaming on …

Taylor Hicks promised a musical journey, and it is on the road and rolling through genres and emotions.

AOL posted its Listening Party for The Distance on last night. You can hear all the new songs from Taylor Hicks, create your own playlist and be part of the buzz on AOL that is so important to getting new music out there.

Taylor said the music would cross genres, and it does. The journey goes through Delta country, painful goodbyes, and hopeful pleas that “…there’ll be no distance between us one of these days.” There is fun and humor in up-tempo tracks. And The Distance tells a poignant story of the American dream cut short--one that is too often repeated.

One has to believe that this is the music of Taylor Hicks that we are suppose to know!

Listen to The Distance on KOL… It really feels like a journey!

Whomp in the desert...

Taylor Hicks can finally put away Chicago’s sweaters and Ohio’s wool scarves. He can pull out the t-shirts and baseball caps again. Well….maybe…

Whomp visits the Southwest as Taylor Hicks dons his Teen Angel wings again and rejoins the cast of Grease in Tucson, Arizona, February 24 through March 1. Sunshine is always expected in the desert, and it promises to welcome the Grease troupe as they travel west for the first time on this national tour.

Taylor’s upcoming return to Arizona brought back pleasant memories of his first visit in 2007 when he appeared at The Marquee in Tempe. It was a small venue compared to others on that concert tour. The performance was not small. It was one of the best on the tour, and I saw a few of them.

From Relix Magazine: “At the Marquee, he affirmed that the stage is where he excels, offering a soulful charisma, rich voice and imaginative setlists littered with multi-genre selections.

“Perhaps what made Hicks a contest champion became evident by show’s end as the band eased into Elton John’s “Take Me to the Pilot” without a hint of misplaced showmanship. The man appears determined to deliver the entertainment goods his way and if that means that he earns his crown via the road one gig at a time then it is certainly a setting he embraces without qualification.”
(Relix: The Magazine for Music, by Randy Ray, 5.25.07)

In Tempe, Taylor opened with Runaround and never looked back. He romped around the stage with his usual abandon… walking to the very edge and once, turning around and encountering a stage light, jumped over it without missing a note! From “Runaround” to a soulful exit all alone playing “Long Way Home” on his harmonica, it was one of the most memorable performances in a long list of unforgettable concerts. The smaller crowd never deterred him from giving it his all. It was another “I never phone it in” performance!

This was just the kind of performance we have come to expect from Taylor Hicks….every venue, every night, every song. You know what to expect…only the very best from this Alabama son who keeps raising the bar with new music, new experiences and new horizons for himself and his fans.

Welcome back to the West, Taylor!
Now, if you know the desert or Tony Hillerman novels, you know that the weather can change like the tags in a Taylor Hicks song…in a moment. Better pack a couple of those sweaters!

Just looking over the sweaters... I’m going along on this one!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

"The Wrap Out: Taylor Hicks 'What's Right is Right'"

by Jake Davis

“Ultimately I’d like this video to stand the test of time.”

With “What’s Right is Right” playing on Yahoo, Videographer Jake Davis had time to reflect on making the first music video for Taylor Hicks. This Manhattan director is an artist who challenges himself with each new endeavor. From Jake’s look back at “What’s Right is Right”:

“I went into directing this project with the same expectations I always do. …you're going to push yourself like never before, and you're going to be a better director at the end of it. That was the bar and I think we raised it. With my videos I want to make timeless, beautiful, cinematic, iconic, imagery that tells a story people can connect with on an emotional level. I want to be able to look back with no regrets and I want the motion picture to hold up the same way my favorite classic films hold up decades later. I think for the most part we're living in a disposable culture right now and I've never really related to that ideology. The concept of quantity over quality has never appealed to me. Ultimately I'd like this video to stand the test of time.

“…The styling was all classic from the Burberry trench coat to the fitted tailoring of the Dolce & Gabbana suit. …Taylor is actually quite a clothes horse and was really into it. We even incorporated a silk scarf reminiscent of a late sixties Miles Davis. We looked at a lot of my references from the great photography of Jim Marshall's book Jazz and Dennis Stock's work of James Dean. If you watch the video closely at 26 and 36 seconds in you can see that iconic James Dean photograph. It was actually already in the Edward Hopperesque diner when we scouted it. That was a sign that what we were doing was right.

“Ultimately Taylor and I wanted to tell the story of everlasting love. From the older couple at the diner who have overcome the obstacle of the husband's physical disability to the younger couple at the diner embarking on their first romance. And finally Taylor's own potentiality of love at the end of the video. These all represent the different stages of true love.”

Their vision was to tell the story of everlasting love as the song does. And just as the iconic images like that of James Dean that inspired this work remain with us, the timeless, classic scenes and music in “What’s Right is Right” promise to never go out of style nor off the charts.

A salute and thank you goes to Jake for caring about what endures and for putting in the hard work and talent to create a beautiful visual of things that really matter. Taylor’s music has touched our hearts and souls, and now Jake has put a face on those emotions.

This is a must read wrap for all those who followed this journey.
Read Jake’s complete “The Wrap Out: Taylor Hicks ‘What’s Right is Right’” at:

Monday, February 16, 2009

Taylor Hicks takes it first music video!

Taylor Hicks takes modern whomp downtown in his first musical video, “What’s Right is Right,” now on Yahoo Music!

It is a stunning package of city classic wrapped around Southern soul! It is the new sound of soul from Taylor Hicks! ~Timeless images and intense, raspy sounds of enduring commitment~~

“When there’s joy inside your heart I’ll share it
When you got a dream I say reach for the sky
And if you ever fall I’ll catch you

What’s wrong with you is wrong with me
What’s right is right.”

Bringing the big city vibes is the award-winning Manhattan film director, Jake Davis, who created the clean, classic images with inspiration from what he called the “iconic”.

Bringing the soul is Alabama’s native son, singer and songwriter, Taylor Hicks. “What’s Right is Right” is the single release from Taylor’s new album, The Distance, due out March 10 on his own recording label, Modern Whomp Records.

This is classic and modern and all Taylor Hicks soul! Stunning in its images, intense in its sounds!

Taylor Hicks via music video!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Taylor Hicks Whomp Meets Jake Davis Films

The Taylor Hicks Community had a chance to interview Jake Davis and get some insights about the video for Taylor's new single, "What's Right is Right." Jake dicusses what it is like to work with Taylor Hicks in a creative endeavor and about how the concept for the video came to be. See what Jake Davis has to say about Taylor Hicks and his blue eyed soul style of music! You will enjoy this one!

Link to our interview on Connections:

Please also stop by Jake's sites as thanks for taking the time to give us all this great interview!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Taylor Hicks~making his mark...

Another Perfect Frame from Jake Davis.

one Widget at a time...

It’s hard for an indie artist…the giants of the musical industry do not have a vested interest in your success. Radio stations may or may not play your music. It is life in the uncertain world of making it on your own. As one indie artist has said, “It is a marathon, not a sprint.” It is one spin at a time at one radio station at a time, one sold-out venue at a time where he performs the new song, and a whole lot of perseverance.

Since Taylor Hicks released What’s Right is Right to radio play January 27, it has steadily climbed the radio play charts. It has enjoyed added spins continually since its hitting the air waves, especially in Huntsville, AL and far away Hawaii!

Current stats from Mediabase:
Feb. 10, 2009
7:00 AM EST
# 25 on the MediaBase A/C Chart
107 spins
18 station average
up +3.4

Making it for the indie artist is one fan at a time who takes the artist’s music to places where others can hear it and perhaps buy it. There is seldom an overnight sensation or an instant hit. There is a long, steady road of hard work, grueling schedules, and endless media contacts. At the end of the day, an artist must lay it down and hope that he has connected with those who will love his music.

That connection between the artist and the music lover may be an elusive one to make.

The internet has become an amazing connector. We all know a little bit about that. Connections are made in message boards, blogs, googles, and now “Widgets.” You can grab the Widget to the right, take it anywhere to your web places. It is from a blog, The Distance, which has been set up to track information about What's Right is Right and The Distance. It will only be open until The Distance has made its initial sales cycle.

It will ONLY have information about the CD, sales, and radio play--nothing else.

IT IS NOT RELATED TO THE TAYLOR HICKS COMMUNITY OR OUR MESSAGE BOARD, CONNECTIONS. It will not refer to any boards or websites. It is designed to create interest and excitement up to the release.

It follows the current stats and information on the climb of our own indie artist, Taylor Hicks! You may take it somewhere that he will be able to make that connection with one more person who will love his music.

That’s how the indie artist does it!

Grab The Distance Widget and help Taylor make one more connection…or many!

For the indie artist, “making it” may just depend on one Widget at a time!

Thanks to Jake Davis for another perfect frame!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Taylor Hicks~~and the house is packed! UPDATE...

The perfect frame from Jake Davis.

"Sold Out" matters...
Please read my update!

From the Hippodrome Theatre to Ram’s Head Tavern, Taylor Hicks will perform in sold out venues this weekend. Baltimore’s Grease performances for Saturday, February 7 and Sunday, February 8 are sold out. Taylor’s shadow tour concert in nearby Annapolis at Ram’s Head on Stage Tavern has been sold out for some time.

As Taylor introduces more new music from his upcoming album, The Distance, the crowds are showing up to experience modern whomp music live. And Taylor Hicks owns the live stage! He has said that the live performance is where it’s at and that the interaction with the audience and musicians is his source of high-voltage energy. When you see him in concert, it is evident that he feeds off that connection.

The Distance will hit the streets March 10. Taylor has performed the single release “What’s Right is Right” in Chicago at Martyr’s and 20th Century Theatre in Oakley, Ohio. He has also rolled out the upbeat “Hide nor Hair” and Bobby Womack’s “Woman’s Gotta Have It” from the eclectic track list of the independent release on his own label, Modern Whomp Records. Ram’s Head Saturday night promises more new music from the album which he has described as a “musical journey”.

Taylor talked to blogcritic Sherry Lippman about his musical style: “There's a lot of different styles that I think are reflective of my artistic expression. I think with this record I've been able to hopefully take the listener on a musical journey into the songs I've written, and a lot of them touch on different styles. But the common thread is my voice. There's a lot of storytelling in the songs. I've been able to hop into different genres and pull out the greatest music that I can.”

After the Baltimore run and a short hiatus, Taylor takes Grease and his new soul music to the Southwest for a week in Tucson, AZ, and then on a swing up the West Coast. He will make shadow tour appearances at Roxy’s in West Hollywood and Market Street’s CafĂ© Du Nord in San Francisco.

Happy weekend! It is Taylor Hicks live on stage and at his best! He will bring down those packed houses!


***Update, February 8--

I was pleased to talk with someone this afternoon who was at Ram's Head last night. I was told that Taylor said from the stage:

"Thanks for coming. It means a lot to an artist to see those words, Sold Out!"

Here's to many, many more "Sold Outs!"

“What’s Right is Right” is available for download at all digital retailers.

Thanks to the Jake Davis blog for the Perfect Frame.

For a complete schedule of Taylor’s appearances, visit:

Sources: Quote from Blogcritic Sherry Lippman

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Soul Music...

singing with the ugly face...

“Soul is singing with the ugly face.” Sharon Jones, a gospel-trained singer who started performing soul in the ‘70s can sing with sweetness and grace, but she says there’s more to it than that. “I think when you go soul, you got to get the ugly face.”

A newcomer to soul music is a young Eli “Paperboy” Reed who “knows how to sing ugly.” “My music sounds the way it does ‘cause everybody wears their influences on their sleeve...” he says. It is “marked by a passionate precision and raw intensity.”

According to National Public Radio writer, Ashley Kahn, “If you’re talking about music, soul is easy to define. It’s a gritty, vocal style, filled with a feeling straight out of the black church. Soul music was born in the ‘50s, took over the charts in the ‘60s, and remains alive and well today. Soul often has horn sections and sometimes strings, but it doesn’t like to be too dressed up with polished production: Soul is more about naked emotion and personal testimony.

“Soul music was born thanks to the innovations of a generation of post-war musicians who, essentially, turned gospel music into a secular form of art.” Ray Charles and Sam Cooke were two of the founding fathers, but there were many soul singers and groups who fostered the evolution of the mainstream black music into mainstream American music.

A stepchild of soul music was the “blue-eyed soul” singer—a white artist who performed the black music. Singers in the 60s like the The Righteous Brothers took soul music to the top of the charts. The ride for soul continues with music from a plethora of artists such as Michael McDonald, Joss Stone, Amy Winehouse and Taylor Hicks.

Blue-eyed-soul singer, Taylor Hicks, told NPR Tapestry in a radio interview in 2005, “My music is derived from the old soul artists of back in the day…the high energy live performers like Sam Cooke and Marvin Gay, Otis Redding and a lot of the Stax soul review—energy that you would have if you saw those play back in the day.” He writes in his autobiography, “Heart Full of Soul,” of his early attachment to soul music growing up in an imperfect world…”....And all the while, I was listening to soul music - music where you can actually hear a man’s heart break. So it just really made sense to me - even at such a young age.”

Taylor Hicks has the voice…a gravely, whiskey tenor with the “passionate precision and raw intensity” described by Paperboy Reed. He performs his music with the intensity of a tent revival testimony. Taylor can sing with the ugly face…the face he wears when he “takes us to church”!

The new sound of soul by Taylor Hicks will take us to church on March 10 when “The Distance,” is being released on his own label, Modern Whomp Records.

Soul music—emotions set down in music inspiring the ugly face!

Sources: Ashley Kahn, National Public Radio, and NPR Tapestry; Heart Full of Soul, by Taylor Hicks.