Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Taylor Hicks ~~ good things will come...and they DO!

UPDATE: Good things will come....and they DO!

"Seven Mile Breakdown" is once again NO. 1 on AOL's "Most Viewed" video list!!
(July 30, 2009)


I love it when things come together.

It just seemed like things came together last week for Taylor Hicks. The first hint was a twitter from Taylor that the Prime Minister wanted to see him “pimping ice cream.” i.e. The Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, was coming to see “Grease” and Taylor would meet him afterwards. The prestigious Canadian newspaper the Globe and Mail carried the story with pictures. It even made the political page.

Opening Night sold out in Ottawa! We know how all entertainers love the words “Sold out.” Taylor has even told us that. All the shows were packed. The Teen Angel was flying high north of the border. The rains didn’t dampen anything.

Then “Seven Mile Breakdown” video hit No. 1 on AOL Music Videos. It had been hanging out in the Top 11 for five weeks. And now, it was trumping some very impressive competition. For an artist who cannot seem to get radio play for the song, here was the same song on video topping the chart! He even talked about it himself saying it was “BIG.” It’s sits at No. 2 at this writing.

There are over 21,000 videos currently on AOL accounting for hundreds of thousands of “views.”

Taylor Hicks was the “most viewed.”

Seven Mile Breakdown” had already been in the Top Ten on for six weeks!

Perhaps not quite as significant, but nevertheless “interesting,” was that Taylor reached the Top Twenty in the monthly Mr. Twitter USA contest on If he stays there this week, he will be permanently enshrined on the wall. Finishing No. 1 would bring even more accolades!

Taylor NOW sits in the TOP TEN in Mr. Twitter USA! Amazing, if you think about how many tweeters are out there!

All of this made me wonder how one young soul singer gets from the wrong side of Mississippi to greeting foreign Heads of State and making a music video that is the “most viewed” on the internet giant, AOL. What are the chances?

The answer that comes to mind is, “He never gave up.” Taylor Hicks never stopped doing what he loved.

Good things come to those who wait. No! Good things come to those who work their heads off to get what they want.

It’s coming together for Taylor Hicks. His years of hard work and dreaming are paying off.

Makes you want to get a dream and get to work!

Taylor came home this week and headed south to Ft. Lauderdale.

More work, and more good things to come.

Why don’t we do a little bit of the work? He deserves the help…

Keep “Seven Mile Breakdown” on top at AOL –MySpace it. FaceBook it! Twitter (or is it TWEET?) it! WATCH it! (Now, that ain’t work!)

Vote for Mr. Twitter USA. Hey, who knows what accolades and recognition it may bring?!

Go see “Grease” in Ft. Lauderdale this week or when it comes to your town. Now that, for sure, is NOT work!

Let’s keep the good things coming…

I’ve got some “work” to do...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Taylor Hicks ~~ Thanks, Canada!

Canada welcomed Taylor Hicks and the cast of “Grease” to Ottawa on a grand scale. The opening night show was sold out and Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, was there.

When you are living the dream as Taylor is, what makes his list of lasting memories?

I think his stay in Canada will.

“Grease” is playing to packed houses at the National Arts Centre through Sunday. Canada’s Head of State escorted his young daughter and her friend to see “Grease” and met Taylor and the cast after the show.

The highly regarded and nationally distributed Canadian newspaper, the Globe and Mail, captured the event:

“Prime Minister Stephen Harper, his daughter Rachel and her friend Sheetza McGarry pose for a photo with Taylor Hicks after a performance of Grease at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa on July 23, 2009.

“Hot: Stephen Harper. The Prime Minister took his daughter, Rachel, and her pal, Sheetza McGarry, to the National Arts Centre's Thursday-night performance of Grease. Taylor Hicks, the 2006 American Idol winner, plays the Teen Angel role. During one of his songs he did a little shout-out to the PM, telling the audience to behave because the Prime Minister was among them. The crowd applauded.”
This is Taylor’s first trip to Canada since his appearance at the Niagara Wine Festival during his 2007 solo tour. He has had many fans north of the border since the beginning of this journey. I think he added a few more this week.

One Canadian fan told me that she was sorry they couldn’t give Taylor the usually beautiful Canadian summer weather. Still, he was out and about the city viewing the beautiful and impressive Parliament buildings. He has become quite the tourist and has said many times he likes being in a city for a week so he can get to “know” it. He is even shopping locally. He was wearing a new safari jacket in media appearances this week that he bought in Philly, his last stop.

Thank you, Canada, for welcoming Taylor Hicks and “Grease!”

Canada rocks!

And lest we forget...

Halifax Airport, a safe haven for U. S. planes, September 11, 2001.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Taylor Hicks photo courtesy of
Halifax Airport photo courtesy of

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Pause in Our Usual Programming

If you are a regular at the blog or our boards/website, you will know that I don't venture much off of the subject of Taylor Hicks. After all, that is why they were created. However, occasionally something so great comes along that you cannot help but share it. And, I believe, this could be a Whomp candidate. Not only do I think Taylor would gladly step aside, I bet he would have loved to be there, harmonica in hand.

Years ago, when I lived in the French Quarter, Grandpa Elliot was a fixture in Jackson Square across from Cafe du Monde, and he provided wonderful music while you had morning coffee.

From the Playing For Change Website

Stand by Me
Four years ago while walking down the street in Santa Monica, CA the voice of Roger Ridley singing “Stand By me” was heard from a block away. His voice, soul and passion set us on a course around the world to add other musicians to his performance. This song transformed Playing For Change from a small group of individuals to a global movement for peace and understanding. This track features over 35 musicians collaborating from all over the world. They may have never met in person, but in this case, the music does the talking

And be sure to visit the Playing For Change website .... they have a great rendition of A Change is Gonna Come, which we have all heard, and their newest is God Bless America.

I hope this makes you smile and feel as good as it did me when you watch it.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Taylor Hicks~~"Seven Mile Breakdown" filmmaker talks to TTHC...

“I just love making music videos in general. I love music of all kinds, and I love film making, so to me I have the best job in the world.” Spence Nicholson

With the enthusiasm for music and filmmaking of Spence Nicholson and the camera friendly smiles and vocals of Taylor Hicks, “Seven Mile Breakdown,” hit the music video screen and shot up Top Video lists everywhere.

They made magic and the viewers came.

Seven Mile Breakdown” has been the No. 1 music video on Top 200 List for five weeks with over 200,000 views and No. 1 in MuVids country genre’s Top Ten List. It reached the top of Yahoo Music List and No. 2 on AOL list of Most Viewed music videos.

Seven Mile Breakdown” is the country rock single release by Taylor Hicks from his current album, The Distance, out on his own label, Modern Whomp Records.

Spence Nicholson, award winning filmmaker from Portland, Oregon, talked to TTHC about the one-day video shoot in Ojai, California, that he called the smoothest video shoot he has ever done.

If you haven’t seen “Seven Mile Breakdown,” give yourself a treat and watch our embed. Then read Spence Nicholson's entire interview including the memorable moments, issues of shooting video in a car, and Taylor’s specific wishes about the car.

Photo above courtesy of Gabe Ulloa and Spence Nicholson Productions.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Taylor Hicks~~going home, "Free Bird" and legacies...

Taylor Hicks goes home to Birmingham again in September. He went home during the American Idol competition in 2006 still chasing an elusive dream. He went home in 2007 on his dream ride—a new shiny tour bus and played sold out concerts at the historic Alabama Theatre. He goes home in 2009 as a Broadway star with musical theatre clearly on his resume.

Returning home as the Broadway star of “Grease” is only half the playbill. He headlines in the hometown venue where he played with The Taylor Hicks Band before all of this happened. Taylor plays two Shadow Tour concerts at WorkPlay on Friday, September 25th and Saturday, September 26th.

WorkPlay, a premiere entertainment complex in the Southeast, opened in autumn, 2001. The Taylor Hicks Band was playing the chitlin’ circuit throughout the Southeast and at WorkPlay when they could get the gig.

They were also playing City Stages—a Birmingham venue that will be silent this year.

While WorkPlay has seemingly thrived, City Stages has not. It was announced last week that the nonprofit organization that has run the Birmingham cultural icon for 21 years is going out of business, and the future of the Homegrown Stage is uncertain.

City Stages, in the very heart of the city, was more than brick and mortar. President and founder, George McMillan impacted the lives of young musicians like Taylor Hicks, who spoke about the hometown stage that gave him confidence and a chance to hone his craft.

Birmingham entertainment reporter, Mary Coloruso, captured the spirit of City Stages when she recently wrote:

“Still, for musicians such as Taylor Hicks, City Stages' legacy lies not in money, but in personal inspiration. Hicks, who struggled on Birmingham's nightclub scene before catapulting to public attention on ‘American Idol,’ says McMillan always encouraged his career.

“‘He was one of those people who liked my music at the very beginning and gave me an opportunity to perform,’ Hicks says. ‘I'd always submit CDs, call George and ask him to consider me.’

“Playing even a short set on the festival's Homegrown Stage, which catered to local acts, was a coup for an unknown performer, he says. ‘It gave me some self-confidence and an exposure factor back then.’

“That's partly why Hicks returned to the festival in 2006, shortly after he won the ‘Idol’ crown, playing the Homegrown Stage for free in an effort to boost ticket sales and help to fill City Stages' coffers.

“Also, Hicks says, he remembered seeing two of his own idols, Ray Charles and Randy Newman, draw large crowds and evoke civic pride with their sets at City Stages.

“‘Ray was one of my musical heroes, and seeing him there made me proud of my hometown,’ Hicks says. ‘Hearing Randy Newman play 'Birmingham' with the moon rising and the city as a backdrop ... well, it was like seeing Van Gogh paint 'Starry Night' or something.’"

The Homegrown Stage was a place for the well known and for those still struggling to have their voices heard. Taylor Hicks appeared there as both.

The final song performed at City Stages was Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird.”

It is unfortunate when we lose those people and places that have inspired and encouraged us. Then it remains for others to continue the legacy of giving a hand to those coming along.

There was a stunning performance this week on America’s Got Talent by a young unemployed farmer from Mayfield, Kentucky—a town just a few miles from where I grew up. Kevin Skinner is just starting out with a dream like Taylor Hicks once did.

Taylor has said that he hoped someday to sign new young artists to his recording label, Modern Whomp Records. Although music will always be his passion, perhaps Taylor will continue the legacy in Birmingham of giving a leg up to young musicians just as George McMillan and City Stages once did for him.

It is a legacy to be proud of and one worth pursuing.

Passing along to others the opportunity to realize a dream really makes all of this a long train running…

And a little like…

Dreaming it forward….

Sources: Mary Coloruso,

Photo courtesy of Gypsee: Taylor Hicks at The Magic Bag, Ferndale, Michigan, 6.22.09

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Taylor Hicks~~an American voice...

Three years ago today…

In the bright summer sun of Salt Lake City, Taylor Hicks stood waiting to go on stage and step into the glare of fame. His sunglasses reflected the cheering crowd waving small American flags and celebrating the birthday of our country. The huge Stadium of Fire celebration on July 1, 2006, was the first major appearance for the newly crowned Season Five American Idol.

It began this Idol’s “American” journey.

In his first post-Idol stage appearance, Taylor Hicks remembered our troops. When he sang “Do I Make You Proud” that day, he began the tradition of dedicating it to our troops. And he continued the dedications throughout the American Idol Tour in 2006. His followers, inspired by his recognition and thanks to the brave men and women in our Armed Forces, sent copies of the recording and subsequent albums to our troops.

When Taylor’s latest album, The Distance, was released in March 2009, the tracks included “Nineteen” –what Taylor calls the story of an American hero. “This one’s for the troops.” There is a hushed reaction to it when he sings it simply and emotionally on the concert stage. It reminds us of the high cost of freedom. “Nineteen” is played on the Armed Forces Network.

In American Idol tradition, Taylor has sung the National Anthem several times. It is a proud presentation of our country’s song with the strong and remarkable vocals of the Alabama native. He has sung The Star Spangled Banner at Nascar events, baseball games, and the NBA finals. Perhaps the most memorable and flawless rendition was for the Los Angeles County Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Pasadena in March, 2009. It not only represented his affinity for the Anthem, it spoke for his compassion and support for causes that matter. His performance at this event supported another one of our finest American traditions—reaching out to others.

In 2008, Taylor joined the country’s largest birthday celebration for A Capitol Fourth in Washington, D. C. He sang for millions on the Capitol Mall and around the world on television. This year Taylor performs for the fun and family friendly celebration in Fontana, California, “Red, White, and Cruise” showcasing another American “idol,” the automobile!

This Fourth of July holiday is a time to remember and appreciate our American values and traditions. Taylor lends a face and a voice to our celebration!

Remember our troops.

Fly the flag this Fourth of July!

Photo: Taylor Hicks sings the National Anthem for the San Francisco Giants, April, 2009