Saturday, January 30, 2010

Taylor Hicks ~~ Whomp train running

Try to understand the music industry and the major changes happening today and be confused and perplexed. It is in flux, to say the least. According to widely-read bloggers, the major labels are dead, fans are fed up paying high prices for tickets for bad seats, Madonna is not singing live on stage, and the biggest music stars in the world can’t sell out stadiums or arenas. Music is shared for free all other the internet and available to purchase by the track. How to sell an album?

What are artists to do?

Stick to the music. Make good the live performance. Carve their niche. Connect with the fans.

In January of this year, Taylor Hicks released the long awaited DVD, “Whomp at the Warfield,” captured at the historic Warfield Theatre in San Francisco near the end of the first leg of his 2007 National Modern Whomp Solo Tour. The second leg of the exhausting tour continued until November 1, ending in Philadelphia, Mississippi, at Pearl River Resort.

The killer schedule paid off, and the American Idol alum set course on a road to long term success.

This long term success of the reality music show alumni was the subject of a recent blog.

As American Idol prepared to launch Season Nine, Jayelle Hartley, a blogger at looked “beyond the 15 minutes of Idol fame.” Taylor Hicks was on her list of 15. Her focus for his longevity was his “touring mindset.”

“So what will it take to keep their careers going into the future? Diversification is key to extending a run on the show into a lasting career. …Touring is providing the Lion's Share of income, while Broadway is cherry picking the stage proven performers. Film and TV offers are also in the works for many. Diversification is key and these alums must work hard to maintain momentum.

“Which idol alum are most likely to achieve long-term success in the entertainment industry? Here is an alphabetical list of 15 idols who may have the best chance for extended careers in entertainment.

“Taylor Hicks (2006 Season Five, Winner)
Hicks utilized his decade of experience as a professional singer-songwriter/musician /performer to sail to Idol victory. His joyful, uninhibited performances and soulful voice mobilized an enthusiastic fanbase dubbed the 'Soul Patrol'. Post-Idol, He debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with his single 'Do I Make You Proud'. The album 'Taylor Hicks' debuted at #2 and was certified platinum, but sales soon flatlined due to the music industry's lack of interest in promoting the 30 year old's hybrid rock/soul/blues sound.

“Touring proved his strength when he became the first alum to come directly off the show as a successful solo concert headlining act, a status he maintains to this day.

“After a mutual split from Arista, Hicks went indie, formed his own music company and produced 2009's 'The Distance' and the 2010 concert DVD 'Whomp At The Warfield'. In summer 2008, Hicks surprised many with his Broadway debut as 'Teen Angel' in Grease. The part went over so well that he was subsequently offered a lucrative deal as their marquee star on the national tour. His box office draw has the charismatic Clooney look-alike fielding future Broadway, TV and film offers. Hicks emphasis on business and artistic control as well as a tireless touring mindset has him in the game for the long term.”

That touring mindset has served him well.

The 2007 snapshot taken in “Whomp at the Warfield” showcases mindset turned magic that made his Modern Whomp Solo Tour the …

27th highest grossing tour of 2007!

That’s pretty amazing considering how many long-established artists toured that year!

As Ms. Hartey points out:

“…he became the first alum to come directly off the show as a successful solo concert headlining act, a status he maintains to this day.”

In a cover article in the Birmingham Magazine in July, 2009, Michael Douglas of Taylor’s management team, recounted the tour’s success and said that it gave the necessary jumpstart for Taylor to pursue business ventures like forming his own recording company, Modern Whomp Records, as well as a touring and merchandising company.

With Taylor’s unwavering devotion to his music, business acumen, and tireless work ethic…

He looks headed for way beyond 15 minutes of fame.

He has said over and over that this is a marathon, not a sprint.

From Warfield to WorkPlay…

Taylor Hicks is on a long train running…

And it’s on track.

Photo by Natalie Goik: Taylor at WorkPlay, September, 2009.

Quotes from:
Jan. 8, 2010 4:06PM
Beyond 15 minutes of American Idol Fame

Sunday, January 24, 2010

"Whomp at the Warfield" ~~ Gamut of good music...

In “Whomp at the Warfield” The Interview, Taylor Hicks explains the naming of his “whomp” music with words like “raw,” and “gritty.”

However you define or describe it, Taylor’s modern whomp plays a grand gamut from raw and gritty sounds to tender and melodic songs. One he even identifies as a connection between himself and his loyal group of fans, The Soul Patrol.

Whomp at the Warfield,” setlist was created from long standing Taylor favorites of his early roots music and new sounds from his post-Idol album, “Taylor Hicks.” It’s eclectic and, as one reviewer said, delivers the funk.

Gonna Move” has been a frequent concert number from AI Shadow Tour shows to Shadow Tour concerts now. It’s an upbeat song about moving on with a beat that makes you want to get going. Its lyrics speak volumes for the young man who attended Auburn University only to finally realize that “those books were making me lose my smile.” It was time to move on to what really made him smile. He left Auburn with what became a long term commitment to his music.

Not truly being part of the “rock” generation, I have always been a fan of Taylor’s “pure voice” acoustic songs like “Wherever I Lay My Hat,” “The Right Place” and “The Fall.”

This is not to say that I don’t feel it on big blasts like “Badge” and “Naked in the Jungle.” They take the spirit for a ride that brings back the youngster in all of us.

They make you love loud music again!

Still, there is a depth to “Wherever I Lay My Hat,” with lyrics that must ring true to the young musician who has been on the road for much of his life. There seems a sense of sadness in the intense vocals about traveling with no home. Taylor has said he has not had a home since he left Alabama in 2005 for American Idol. This has always been a favorite from “Taylor Hicks” his first post-Idol album.

I would have bought “Whomp at the Warfield” just for “The Fall.” For me, this is the high point of the Warfield experience.

With intricate phrasing and lyrics and a gentle and uncommon melody, “The Fall,” will be the career maker for Taylor Hicks, the song writer. It is a song you can listen to forever. It was performed at the Warfield with astounding tenderness, yet emotional depth. It always makes you wonder about the story behind it, though you know it is only for the singer and song writer to know. Taylor somewhat reveals the future of this song in his interview. Whatever the future, I believe it will be a long one.

Many of the songs in Taylor’s live concerts have delightful little surprises tucked away inside—“tags” of other songs. You’re listening to say, “The Maze” and suddenly Taylor lifts his hands for the band to “pay attention,” waits for the audience’s sense of anticipation to peak, and, with a knowing grin, launches into a “tag” like “Brown-Eyed Handsome Man,” one of the most popular and one that brought down the Warfield as he slipped “Barry Bonds” into the lyrics. “Tupelo Honey” is another sweet and silky surprise, and “Eastbound and Down” takes you trucking to somewhere that Taylor has said is unplanned. It’s the art of the seasoned musician and entertainer.

The Right Place,” a song by Bryan Adams, was originally given to Ray Charles to record, but he never did. It must have been a thrill for Taylor to have the opportunity to record this song of his idol, Brother Ray. He sings it in a strong voice as if Ray Charles were sitting at the piano pounding on the keys.

These were instantly memorable moments for me in “Whomp at the Warfield.” The complete setlist is included below in a previous “Whomp” blog.

A Taylor Hicks concert is a party of musicians splashing color and personality all over the musical canvass. They are celebrating what they love—making music. The world class band in “Whomp at the Warfield” is as much fun to watch as Taylor. They are equal to the swampy sounds of Taylor’s whomp and take their music to the same intense, energy-laden heights and expanses as Mr. Hicks does. They are all ultimately serious musicians having the time of their lives every night they walk onto the stage.

That’s infectious to the music lover whether it’s captured on DVD or you are standing at the stage experiencing it live.

A music industry blogger, Bob Lefsetz, recently wrote that the live performance is where it’s at. He also said, “We don’t have to have music, but we want it.”

We want real music from musicians who make good music. I can think of a lot of good music out there—and some not so.

“Whomp at the Warfield” is good music!

Quote "does not fail to deliver the funk" from Lakendra Lewis in Musicouching.

Note: The production of “Whomp at the Warfield,” is superb and highly professional. Closeups capture the expressions, and sometimes antics, of the performers as they enjoy making their own kind of music. It records the magic of the place and time. If you want to know the music of Taylor Hicks, see him perform it live on stage in “Whomp at the Warfield!”

Photo by San: Taylor Hicks in Tempe, AZ, 5.1.07 a few days before the Warfield concert.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Taylor Hicks ~ "Whomp at the Warfield" ~ You gotta love the fun!

In 2007 on his first national Modern Whomp Solo Tour, Taylor Hicks was on stage, on fire and always “on!”

Forget radio play.

Taylor Hicks live on stage IS Taylor Hicks.

I waited.

I didn’t see “Whomp at the Warfield” on HDTV, so it was a gift for the New Year.

It brought back all the fun of all that whomp from opening night in Jacksonville, FL, the same town where Elvis launched his first nationwide tour, to the closing of the official tour in Seattle, and the final concert in 2007 at Pearl River in Mississippi.

Before the May, 2007, recording at the Warfield, I had seen Taylor live in concert only eight days earlier in Tempe, AZ. It was one of the smallest theatre crowds on the tour. That didn’t dampen the spirit and energy on the stage that night. I knew it was one of the best since I had seen him on stage in other concerts throughout the South.

I knew that he didn’t just turn “it” on for the cameras at the Warfield. “It” had always been there. Even when he was 18 years old and his father asked the legendary blues guitarist, Billy Earle McClelland, if Taylor had what it took to make it. His father was told by Taylor’s longtime mentor that yes, he had “it.”

It” takes us all over the musical stage at the Warfield from jumping up and down with bass player Al Carty (who is a show by himself) on the Cream classic, “Badge,” to bringing the crowd down to a whisper on the beautiful encore that he wrote, “The Fall.” Taylor had wrapped up a beautiful spectrum of music that takes us on a journey from rocking out highs to soft songs delivered with pain in the rich, raspy vocals. I laughed out loud at the antics and felt the tears well up. Music is more than sounds. It is an experience.

You owe yourself the experience of “Whomp at the Warfield.”
It not only brings down the house with the unique talents of Taylor Hicks, it showcases a world class touring band that would make an Eric Clapton proud—Loren Gold, musical director, keyboards and vocals; Felix Pollard, drums; Brian Gallagher, saxophones, flute, percussion; Josh Smith, guitars; Al Carty, bass; Brian Less, organ and vocals; and Melanie Nyema, vocals and percussion. They rock the stage with a plethora of talent and personality!

Unless you are a “badge” carrying member of his Soul Patrol, I don’t think you’ve seen and heard live music like this. It warrants its own genre, “whomp.”

Even though you may think you don’t like the blues or soul music or the loud reverberations of swampy rock—whomp, you have to like the sounds and images of fun. And “Whomp at the Warfield” is 84 minutes of fun!

To find the fun in 2010, get “Whomp at the Warfield” just as soon as you can!

Taylor said, “You gotta love San Francisco!” You gotta love the fun!


Whomp at the Warfield,” the first live concert DVD by Taylor Hicks, produced in stunning Hi-Def by Bennett Productions and distributed by Image Entertainment, is available from major music retailers in stores and online, including Amazon, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, Target and others. See the "Whomp" preview below.

Whomp is back! Get it!

And there will be more whomp here…

Whomp music wakes up the worn walls of the Warfield from “Gonna Move” to “Naked in the Jungle.” It’s always about the music!
“More Than 15 minutes” –working title. Taylor’s 2007 tour was one of the most successful of ANY artist that year. Taylor has always said this is a marathon, not a sprint. 2007, the Soul Patrol, and concerts like the Warfield jumpstarted that long haul….

“Warfield and WorkPlay”—different and the same. It’s been a long road with a few twists and turns...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Taylor Hicks ~~ Preview "Whomp at the Warfield"

Live concert DVD by Taylor Hicks is out today...


“Taylor is proud to release his live DVD, Whomp at the Warfield. Recorded in May, 2007 at the legendary Warfield Theatre in San Francisco, Taylor and his band perform a number of his favorites in front of an enthusiastic "Soul Patrol" audience. The DVD is available in stores on January 5th.”

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Taylor Hicks ~~ "Whomp at the Warfield" Showing Tuesday!

The first live concert DVD by Taylor Hicks, “Whomp at the Warfield,” brings an energy-spiked performance from the old Warfield Theatre in San Francisco to the music scene Tuesday.

"Ya gotta love San Francisco!" Taylor exclaimed during his live performance at the Warfield, May 9, 2007.

One of the last surviving vaudeville palaces in San Francisco, this place was a popular stop in the '20s for big-name national performers like Al Jolson. Today, it books acts as diverse as Ryan Adams and Bill Maher.

It was a popular stop for Taylor Hicks on the successful West Coast swing of his Modern Whomp Solo Tour in 2007.

Reviews at the time showed the enthusiasm on both sides of the stage. One fan called it “the best.”

“....the crowds were INTO Taylor from beginning to end. There is no need for judicial editing of the concert if the intent is to show crowd enthusiasm. The enthusiasm was NATURAL !! Their love of Taylor, the man and his music is SELF_EVIDENT…I've been to many concerts in my lifetime (Rod Stewart, Allman Brothers, Billy joel, Elvis Costello, you name them) and I have to say, this is probably one of the bests ones I've been to in years.” (Marinata)

“He connects with his fans. You must be there to feel the energy he communicates from the stage. He goes with their vibe, and is such a crowd pleaser! Lots of original tunes here for the tour DVD, and easier for permission rights. His voice was strong, He looked great, slim and trim, aligator boot shoes, sweating right through his jacket, and yet did a three song encore! He was workin it! Great band, and he shows them such LOVE! He works on stage in unity with his band, and they respond to him as their obvious leader. They just smile and go where his music goes. It Really is THE RIGHT PLACE! We Loved It!” (soulpatrol120)

“Whomp at the Warfield” in Hi-Definition from Image Entertainment is available at all of these retailers: (Online, not in stores)

DVD Universe

Movies Unlimited

Barnes & Noble

Best Buy;jsessionid=6AF52310E75391257BDF142669E423C7.bbolsp-app02-27?_dyncharset=ISO-8859-1&_dynSessConf=225512733576417751&id=pcat17071&type=page&st=Whomp+at+the+Warfield&sc=movieSP&cp=1&nrp=15&sp=&qp=&list=n&iht=y&usc=Movies&ks=960

DVD Pacific


Relive the “whomp” as it resonated in the old Warfield. Discover the magic of this highly amped-up live performance by Taylor Hicks.

Start 2010 with a music celebration—get “Whomp at the Warfield” today!

Read more below about “Whomp at the Warfield” in previous blog, "Taylor Hicks Rings in the Whomp!"

(Thanks to sweetsmoke who originally tweeted a list of retailers. TTHC has added to it.)