Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Taylor Hicks owns the Idol stage...with miles of attitude!

Taylor Hicks belted out a whole bunch of attitude...with a grin!

He held nothing back! “Seven Mile Breakdown” rocked the Idol stage tonight and Taylor Hicks, in chic-country black, smiled, growled and hit every note like no one was listening. It was pure joy in performing.

It was an absolutely stunning performance by Taylor Hicks!
Taylor to the world: "What'd you expect?"

Thanks to Gypsee for the screencap from tonight's Idol performance.

Taylor Hicks~~tonight on American Idol..."What'd you expect?"

The harmonica was Taylor’s first instrument—the first one purchased at an outdoor sale for $2 when he was fifteen. He later disclosed in his autobiography that it was his wisest $2 purchase although the girls were not impressed with a harmonica-wielding teenager.

Taylor Hicks and his screaming harmonica has become a signature. On the stage, it can take him to his knees. He is very good. He even took it to Broadway!

When he appeared on a radio show last week in Portland, he wielded the harmonica, not to a familiar tune, but to the station’s theme song. It couldn’t have been something that Taylor had practiced or performed many times. In the background, the radio tech listened attentively, then smiled, and then smiled broadly. At the end, grinning from ear to ear, he said, “That was awesome!”

Taylor smiled and joked, “What’d you expect?”

It was just a little bit of good-natured attitude by someone who has paid his dues—traveled the wrong side of Mississippi, performed in empty clubs, sold CDs from his car trunk, and never given up on his dream. He has practiced, performed, and perfected his craft into “awesome” musical artistry.

Taylor Hicks has earned the right to a little attitude! He has the talent to back it up.

Yet, that rare bit of “attitude” is balanced by a remarkable and humble spirit that is reflected when the modest Taylor Hicks says over and over how blessed he is to have had opportunities like American Idol and “Grease” on Broadway.

Taylor returns to American Idol tonight to perform “Seven Mile Breakdown,” the new single release from The Distance, his new album on his own label, Modern Whomp Records.

We wish him the very best…

“Wield that harmonica tonight, Taylor!

And giv’em a little attitude!

You’ve got it coming!”

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Taylor Hicks on American Idol~~I did it my way...

The Rat Pack meets Delta blues, and the real Taylor Hicks brings it to the American Idol stage this week.

Idol’s theme for the week’s competition is the Rat Pack standards, and I found the Taylor connection when I looked at the leader of this illustrious group, Frank Sinatra. He always said, “I did it my way.”

Taylor Hicks recently told an interviewer, “I’ve remained true to myself, and I’m still in the game!”

Taylor returns to American Idol Wednesday night with his game and his music—“Seven Mile Breakdown.” The new single release from his current album, The Distance, out on his own label, Modern Whomp Records is a true Taylor song from “the wrong side of Mississippi”—bluesy, Southern, and fun with swamp rock vibes from Doyle Bramhall II on slide guitar. Taylor says he has been on the wrong side of Mississippi in the hot summer.

“You know you hate being down before you ever love being up.”

Taylor can return to American Idol and love being up! No judges, no voting, and no bottom three. Of course, he never did have to endure the bottom three. On the stage Wednesday night will be the real Taylor Hicks—the Broadway star, platinum recording artist, concert performer, working musician—making a guest appearance with a new single release from his new album and “doing it his way.”

When Taylor competed in Season Five of American Idol in 2006, competitors were not permitted to play instruments. It was a singing competition, and America voted for Taylor Hicks. There was no wailing harmonica, rocking guitar, or amped up road band. Then the many dimensions of Taylor Hicks were seen on other stages. America got a lot more than it voted for!

The quintessential entertainer returns to the game where it all took off. It must be sweet! It must be a time to stand tall and say, “I’m a long way from the wrong side of Mississippi.”

“I did it my way.”

It would be interesting to see how America would vote for this Taylor Hicks.

I’m betting that America would get it right again!

Photo "Taylor at Roxy's" by san_tthc. Please do not repost without permission.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Taylor Hicks~~"Seven Mile Breakdown" new single release!

From the land of swamp rock and delta blues, “Seven Mile Breakdown” claims the raucous side of both and gets ready to roll out as the new single release and music video from Taylor Hicks!

And it's coming to American Idol! Taylor returns to the American Idol stage on April 29, to perform “Seven Mile Breakdown,” from his current album, The Distance!

Seven Mile Breakdown,” goes to video according to an update on by the videographer, Spence Nicholson. The Portland film maker, who studied at the prestigious Brooks Institute of Photography and was mentored by the legendary Wayne Isham, will direct the endeavor that promises to be a fun ride! Shooting is scheduled for April 27th.

Seven Mile Breakdown” was written by Taylor and friend and fellow musician, Wynn Christian. It’s a rowdy song about struggling with the road on the wrong side of Mississippi— Taylor has said that he’s been there. Now, he can look back and love being up!

“You know you hate being down before you ever love being up. Come on Mississippi, don’t point your finger at me. Just put me on your straight and narrow just as far as my eyes can see.”

Taylor talked to hometown reporter, Mary Coloruso, about this track when his album, The Distance, was released:

Seven Mile Breakdown: "Traveling to the west side of Mississippi in a conversion van with no air-conditioning in the middle of summer. That was the inspiration, and I have first-hand experience. Doyle (Bramhall II) plays a great slide guitar part in it."

With swampy rock sounds of sliding steel and relentless rhythms of the road, Seven Miles is a fun musical trip. Taylor’s voice slides, bends and growls with the mossy blues sounds of a Mississippi road house. It is a band and vocal party with each getting wrapped up in the other—a concert favorite from the first performance.

Images from “Seven Mile” flood the mind. This is a land where, in many ways, time stands still. People still live along side the two lane. There is an exquisite musical journey through this country called “Deep Blues,” a movie project that captured the music of these people who still gather on the porch and in ancient road houses to play timeless blues songs. This could be the home of Taylor’s “modern whomp.”

“The sun is sinking down on the delta. Seven Miles is the only sign that lights our way. I hope someone is there to care about me. I’m gonna tear this old place down, and I’ll be on my way.”

This is a good-natured song for the hardscrabble life in all of us, and it may just look and feel like a trip “back home.”

“Seven Mile Breakdown” will be as much anticipated as the first beautiful video, “What’s Right is Right,” from a snowy Chicago. But it may be more than just miles away from the cold, dark streets of the city.

Will he go from city chic to delta down? That’s the many sides of Taylor Hicks!

Get ready for the down and gritty Taylor Hicks!
Photo by san~"Taylor at Roxy's." Please do not repost.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Taylor Hicks on the phone in the cone...

“Hello, hello…is this thing on?”

Who would have thought the malt shop cone could cause such a twitter.

All of Taylorland is twittering about the sweet tweets from the cone—Easter greetings from the cone…wobbly tweets while the cone is moving…

Holy Smokes! What if the cone opens and he’s twittering!

This is Taylor Hicks taking connections to a new high…high above the “Grease” stage as he waits in the chocolate-covered cone through the opening scene of Act Two. This is time management to the max. Taylor connects with fans from the phone in the cone—actually the latest Blackberry hooked into the social phenomenon,—for the few minutes he is caught in the cone waiting for Frenchy to dream her Teen Angel onto stage.

Since Taylor is a perpetual motion machine on stage, one can only imagine his chagrin at being stuck in the small confining confection. So, it may ease his stay in the sugary prison to reach out to the far corners of fandom and anywhere else that anyone is curious enough to investigate a tweet from a phone in a cone. It’s only flying fingers on the keyboard, but it is motion for the moment. After all, he can’t roam in the ice cream cone.

Will the phone ever make it out of the cone—a tweet from the trolley? From the golf course, would it be a tweetie bird or a birdie tweet? The cone phone could travel like the gnomes with tweets from Tuscaloosa and Talladega. He could tweet from stage as Frenchy swoons, “I’m all atwitter!” On the concert stage—next to the water—a quick tweet, “Flown the cone and lovin’ to roam!”

Taylor Hicks tweeting from the cone just hammers home what he has said before. “The best is yet to come.” We ain’t seen nothing yet from the man who tweets from a cone and is prone to surprising us all!

Along with the phone, there’s a genius in the cone!

I’m off to twitter…or is it tweet? Or…off to tweet on twitter?

I think I’ll just have some ice cream…while I try to figure out all this tweeting and twittering…

If you understand any of this, you can follow the phone in the cone at

~~The cone is still in San Fran this the latest from the cone.

If you want to see what happens to this twitterer…or tweeter, I’m at

Photo "Taylor at Roxy's" by san. Please do not repost without permission.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Taylor Hicks~~An Indiscriminate Act of Kindness

I have been waiting for “An Indiscriminate Act of Kindness” from Taylor Hicks.

Before I ever heard the track, someone said that it would “blow me away.” It was more like it completed the many sides of Taylor Hicks, the entertainer and singer. It is the other end of the soul-rock-blues- spectrum—the storyteller with a raspy, expressive voice who gently touches notes and holds tones just for the moment and weaves them into a memorable narrative. It made me realize that I had wanted to hear Taylor “back off” the music with only the sound of his incredible voice and little more.

If “Badge” gave us Taylor rocking out the house, “An Indiscriminate Act of Kindness” gives us Taylor holding the house in the palm of his hand and telling a story that needs nothing but simplicity. From the first uncomplicated instrumental sounds, to the whisper of notes, to the emotional lines of “consider it an indiscriminate act of kindness, consider it an indiscriminate act of kindness,” you are drawn into the brief journey of these two people. There is an intense emotional depth to some lines and a quiet tenderness to others—“how can you be so kind...” It is a story made compelling by the voice of Taylor Hicks.

Taylor has brought an incredible voice to many songs—The Fall, Maybe You Should, Places I’ve Been, and Do I Make You Proud. An Indiscriminate Act of Kindness goes a little beyond all those to an almost indescribable place. Perhaps it is the social conscience of the story, the raw emotion, and the voice that all combine to produce music that truly touches the soul. Perhaps it is that nothing gets in the way of your seeing and hearing this story unfold. You feel like you are there in the room, and Taylor is simply sitting beside you telling a story that he is caught up in. If lyrics paint the picture, Taylor’s voice brings the picture to life.

This is a captivating track and a remarkable performance by the entertainer who gave us “Medicated Goo” and more recently, “I Live on a Battlefield”—performances that I also love!

I don’t know what the future of this song will be. For me, it is a milestone in Taylor’s recordings because of what it is not. It is an exquisite example of “less is more.” His voice does amazing things—a little bit in the same vein as “Georgia on my Mind” from his album Early Works. While “Georgia” is not one of my favorite songs, (I much prefer some other Georgia songs like Midnight Train to Georgia, or Rainy Night in Georgia), I recognized the unique qualities of Taylor’s voice on that recording.

When The Distance dropped and I headed to my Target on March 10, I was disappointed that they did not have the album in yet. I knew this was the song that I especially wanted to hear Taylor sing. I waited and was content to listen to 11 other great tracks. It took some doing the hear An Indiscriminate Act of Kindness for the first time.

I knew from the very first listen that it was exactly what I had been waiting for…pure Taylor voice. It unlocked that little corner of Taylor Hicks that I had yet to hear. In many ways, it is the most stunning performance yet by Taylor.

Get The Distance with “An Indiscriminate Act of Kindness” bonus track at Target stores!
Photo "Taylor at Roxy's" by San_TTHC. Please do not repost.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Taylor Hicks~~in his own words...

Grease, acting, fans, touring, and performing…

When you thought Taylor Hicks couldn't do anything more, there he was in a media blitz that kept him busier than the week before. He phoned radio stations and talked; he was interviewed and he talked more. And, oh yes, he performed in “Grease.”

I thought you might like to read in one place some of the words that struck me as relevant and insightful about this extremely busy songwriter and performer. Here is Taylor Hicks in his own words.

Taylor revealed his dilemma as he traveled from Lower Alabama to New York City to star in the Broadway production of “Grease”: “What the hell am I going to wear?” So, he designed the Nudie inspired Teen Angel suit with 13,000 encrusted rhinestones! (KFOG Radio)

“Keep great musicians around you. I still keep that mentality.” He talked about the back up band on The Distance that includes members of Eric Clapton’s touring band. (KFOG)

“I’ve stayed true to myself and I’m still in the game.” (99SanFrancisco)

The music on the record is timeless. I’m very pleased about it.” (WRVR Memphis)

He described one of the “coolest moments” since American Idol: “Going into the White House and meeting the President. My ninth grade English teacher was Laura Bush’s press secretary.” (94.7 Austin)

In a discussion about lip syncing, Taylor gave an instance where it is totally unacceptable. “I can’t stand someone who lip syncs the National Anthem. I think that should be from the heart. I think it should be sung live every time.” Taylor will do just that at the San Francisco Giants’ season opener game Tuesday, April 7th. (94.7 Austin)

Taylor was asked about the enduring support of his fanbase, the Soul Patrol. “I think the main thing is touring. If you look at any great body of work by any great entertainer, you’ll always see that taking their show to the people and being on the road is the common thread in all of them. So for me, touring extensively is where you can come to a particular city and you’re going to have fans.” (CBS5 Sue Kwon Bay Sunday)

He spoke of being blessed to perform in “Grease.” “It’s the perfect fit. The more that I perform on that stage, the more that I think that being in a live theatre, and a live audience itself, fits me. It’s who I am as an entertainer.” (Bay Sunday)

In a somewhat surprising reveal, Taylor was asked what is next, and he talked about acting. His interviewer asked, “Is that something you’ll try? You have such a great presence.” “For right now, I need to stick to music. Music should be the common thread. I think sooner or later, yes. Learning the role [in “Grease”] is kind of an introduction to understanding theatre and acting." (Bay Sunday)

Taylor explained off camera to Sue Kwon on Bay Sunday that when the ice cream opens he can see the people. She asked him what it was like to see the audience. “I’m blessed to be able to have the opportunity to perform and be a working entertainer. I know what it’s like to not work as an entertainer. So that’s a key for being a performer…understanding what’s it like when you’re not able to.” (Bay Sunday)

Taylor talked about getting through the extremely busy schedule for American Idol participants and drawing strength from within. “You have to love performing and you have to love performing for nobody…to be able to perform for somebody.” (

There is always the temptation to expound on Taylor’s words, but I am not going to. He speaks very well for himself… especially when he sings!

Get The Distance at or with bonus tracks at music retailers: Target~”Indiscriminate Act of Kindness,” Walmart~”Hide Nor Hair,” iTunes download~”Yes We Can.”

Photo: " Taylor at Roxy's" by San/TTHC~~please do not repost without permission.