Thursday, September 23, 2010

Our first business--being a fan!

My first business here is being a fan of Taylor Hicks.

Sometimes life gets in the way of life. Business gets in the way of business. We blog, post, tweet, PM, DM, and take care of the business of fandom.

Not the business of being a fan…

I love the road. I hit the road early this morning for a professional meeting over three hours away. The road is my time…just me and, yes, my Taylor music! I had not even loaded my new fancy phone with new Taylor music. Besides, I still like the CD in my hand, sliding it in, and hearing those first exciting sounds. I hadn’t heard The Distance for a long time. It quickly reminded me of what this is all about.

Caution: The exciting sounds and pounding beats of music like “The Distance” can make your foot grow heavy. I was cruising through Arizona’s high country just about to sharply descend in to the beautiful Verde Valley when I glanced down at my speed. Yipes! 80 on a winding two-lane! Taylor and I were flyin’ off that mountain!

Perhaps it was that I was running away from the Google Alert that I had read first thing this morning. You know, the usual one with someone lamenting about the unsuccessful career of Taylor Hicks. Well, it seems about the same time Taylor and I were flying off the mountain, Taylor in reality was flying to the West Coast for talks about TV and film matters and then on to Washington State for a Saturday Night concert!

Take that Google!

I reacted like a fan angry that people don’t see the successes that are building a career, creating a loyal fanbase, and never forgetting that it is about the music.

I could recount the successes, but we know about them, and we know how Taylor measures success. Taylor has simply summed up his success like this:

He is a working musician.

Which brings me back to summing up my business here:

I am a fan.

Today, I got back to that. Okay, so, flying off the mountain with Taylor music wasn’t as exciting as walking to his live concert in Laughlin a few weeks ago. But it made me realize that I am first a fan. And I was really in fan heaven today when I realized that the CD I had in my car had the bonus track, “Indiscriminate Act of Kindness,” just about my all time favorite recording by Taylor!

I hope we haven’t forgotten that we were, and are, fans first…before the boards, Facebook, twitter, and blogs! I hope we all take time to be fans and that that is our first business.

And that’s what Taylor needs first…fans who will be there every day staying connected to the music that brought us here and supporting the man AND the music that keeps us here.

Together, we can be that fanbase that gives Taylor what he wants the most—a long career as a working musician.

And that’s the business of a fanbase.

So, take that Google!!!

It was fun being a fan today!!!
Thanks to RagsQueen for the cool fan photo of Taylor in Vermont.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Taylor Hicks ~~ Meet the Tour Music!

Taylor Hicks introduced a ton of new music in his National Tour, 2010.

It included a cornucopia of covers whose original artists hail from classic rock and roll to British pop. There was a heavy infusion of sounds from the Fifties, Seventies, and beyond.

Here’s our look at Taylor’s covers that rocked the stage from coast to coast.

“Not Fade Away”
Performed by Taylor on American Idol and first debuted on tour in New York City at the Highline Ballroom.

The rock and roll classic has been covered by artists from the Rolling Stones whose 1964 version was their first US single to the Grateful Dead, James Taylor, The Supremes who recorded it in 1964 but released it in 2008 on an album collection, the Everly Brothers, to The Beatles, who being avid fans of Buddy Holly recorded an unreleased version of “Not Fade Away.”

“Not Fade Away" is a song credited to Buddy Holly (originally under his first and middle names, Charles Hardin) and Norman Petty (although Petty's co-writing credit is most likely a formality) and first recorded by Holly's band The Crickets in Clovis, New Mexico, on May 29, 1957.

It was one of the first pop songs to feature the "Bo Diddley" sound, a series of beats (da, da, da, da-da da) popularized by Diddley, The song's rhythm pattern is one of the classic examples of the Bo Diddley beat, which itself was an update of the so-called "hambone" rhythm, or "patted juba" from Western Africa. It is also known as the "shave and a haircut, 2 bits" and "hambone beat". Willie and the Hand Jive, Louie, Louie, Help Me Rhonda are but just a few other songs with clave, the basis of Cuban music, "salsa" and Latin jazz as well as other Caribbean music.

“Love the One You’re With”
First made the Taylor setlist in Denver at the Rocky Mountain Power Jam and on tour in New York city at the Highline Ballroom.

This is a 1970 single by folk rocker Stephen Stills. The first release off his first solo album Stephen Stills, it rose to the top twenty of the pop singles chart, peaking at #14.

Stills wrote the song after being inspired by the tag line -- "If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with" which was a frequent remark by musician Billy Preston. Stills asked him for permission to use the line in a song which Preston immediately agreed to.

The most notable cover came in 1971 from The Isley Brothers, whose unique gospel-driven cover of the song sent it to the charts again. It was also covered by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young on their live album Four Way Street, Aretha Franklin on her album Aretha Live at Fillmore West, The Supremes along with The Four Tops on their album Dynamite, Engelbert Humperdinck on Live At The Riviera, Bobby Goldsboro and Les Humphries Singers.

In a recent review by Alan Segal at the San Diego Reader, he said Taylor’s performance “put Stephen Stills to shame.”

“Ain’t Gonna Hurt Nobody”
A funky Brick (The Band) tune first hit Taylor’s setlist at The Highline Ballroom in New York City.

Brick was formed in Atlanta, Georgia in 1972 from members of two bands - one disco and the other jazz. They coined their own term for disco-jazz, "dazz". They released their first single "Music Matic" on Main Street Records in 1976, before signing to the independently distributed Bang Records. “Ain’t Gonna Hurt Nobody” was released in 1978 and rode the charts at #92 Pop, and #7 R&B.

Taylor’s “electroBama” sound of “Bulletproof” first blasted onto the stage at The Highline Ballroom in New York.

Taylor gave a preview to this setlist favorite when he tweeted a link to LaRoux and said this was the best on radio, when he first heard it in Denver.

“Bulletproof" is a song by the English electropop* duo La Roux from their self-titled debut album, La Roux (2009). Written and produced by both members of La Roux ( Elly Jackson and Ben Langmaid ), the song was released in the United Kingdom on 22 June 2009 as the album's third single in digital and physical formats from two labels, Polydor and Kitsuné Music.

"Bulletproof" was well-received by music critics, and also debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart. It was also a sleeper hit in the United States, peaking at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, and has as of June 2010 shifted more than 862,000 downloads in the U.S.

* Electropop (also called technopop) is a form of electronic music that is made with synthesizers, and which first flourished from 1978 to 1981. The genre has seen a revival of popularity and influence since the late 2000s. "Electropop" is the short form of "electronic pop".

The term was used primarily during the 1980s to describe a form of synthpop characterized by an emphasized electronic sound — often described as cold and robotic — and by minimal arrangements. Electropop songs are pop songs at heart, often with simple, catchy hooks and dance beats.

Taylor Hicks took the electronic sound, cold and robotic, and put it on keyboard, guitar, drums and sax and created a new “electroBama” sound.

Stay With Me
The “simple rock and roll formula” song was introduced by Taylor at the Birchmere in Alexandria, VA.

“Stay with Me," written by Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood, was first recorded by their band Faces for the 1971 album A Nod Is as Good as a Wink...To a Blind Horse. The song has also appeared on various Faces compilations and on albums by both songwriters. The lyrics describe a woman with "red lips, hair and fingernails" he "found... down on the floor"; the singer proposes a one-night stand on the condition that she must be gone when he wakes up. The song starts with a breakneck intro that settles into a steady groove - a simple rock & roll formula at a time when music was becoming more complicated. Faces was formed in 1969 by members of the Small Faces after Steve Marriott left that group to form Humble Pie. The remaining Small Faces - Ronnie Lane (bass guitar), Ian McLagan (keyboards) and Kenney Jones (drums & percussion) - were joined by Ronnie Wood (guitar) and Rod Stewart (lead vocals), both from The Jeff Beck Group, and the new line-up was renamed Faces.

Although they enjoyed only modest success compared to contemporaries such as The Who and The Rolling Stones, the Faces have had considerable influence on latter-day rock revivalists. Their good-natured, back-to-basics (and frequently liquor-laden) concerts and studio albums connect them with such bands as The Damned and Steve Jones of The Sex Pistols. Bands representing an assortment of genres, ranging from The Replacements and The Quireboys to You Am I, Guns N' Roses, The Black Crowes, Oasis and Pearl Jam have all acknowledged the Faces' musical influence.

Taylor continued to add more covers and musical guests to the tour as he crisscrossed the country in 2010 and connected with old fans and some new ones.

Part 2 ~ More Tour Music Covers!

“The Real Buddy Holly Story,” White Star Studios,;;;

For more information and media on the covers and artists with embeds of original artists and Taylor’s cover versions, visit our forum and media board:

Thanks to the Mouser for the research and compilation of the Tour 2010 forum and to RagsQueen for the photo from Tarrytown NY 9.16.10.

ONLY THREE concert appearances remain!

September 18~Paramount Theatre, Rutland, VT, 8:00 p.m.

September 25~7 Cedars Casino, Sequim, WA, 8:00 p.m.

October 9 – 10 ~Epcot Center “Eat to the Beat Concert Series, Orlando, FL, 5:15, 6:30, 7:45 p.m.

See Taylor Hicks live in concert while you can!!!

Happy Weekend!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Taylor Hicks ~~ Chukchansi's Gold

By Guest Blogger, PayTheDevil

I live in the Great Central Valley of California. If you have eaten a carrot, pistachio, or listened to the band Korn in the last couple of months, then you have enjoyed the bounty that comes from our community’s basket. The good news is that I live about 90 minutes from Los Angeles, the Pacific Ocean, and the Sequoia’s. The bad news is that we have the worst air quality in the country and few non-country bands stop by our little burg.

During the third week of August, the stars aligned and somehow Taylor Hicks triangulated himself to three shows within driving distance of my casa. Yup, with gas only costing $2.89 a gallon this was shaping up to be an affordable stalking binge opportunity.

The media makes a lot out of the term “stalker”. Like the local news at 5 o’clock that reports (along with a raising musical soundtrack and fancy black & red graphics) a few drops of rain and a little wind as “STORM WATCH 2010”, reasonable stalking has, in my humble obsessive opinion, been over stated. I suspect there is a very thin line between “super fan” and “nut job”. A super fan wants to see the inside of the bus. A nut job wants to sniff the bunks on the bus. For all of you sniffers out there, I sympathize with you, but girlfriend… you gotta step away. You are giving the rest of us a bad name. I suppose on any given day with the right amount of alcohol or Xanex anyone of us could go in search of olfactory delights.

Traveling a couple of hours to see Taylor three times in six days, qualifies as stalking to my uninitiated family. Of course, they don’t snicker when we all travel (on my dime) to Washington, DC, New York, or Canada to see Mr. Hicks. The parents… you gotta love em’. They just want what’s best for me. I suspect they have heard from their grumbling grandchildren that favorite auntie is squandering their perceived meager inheritance on concert tickets and hotel stays. Not that I’ve spent that much, but if found dead tomorrow, a quick review of my VISA statement would lead investigators to believe that I support a ne’er-do-well boyfriend named Orbitz and do my grocery shopping at the Hudson’s Newsstand in the Atlanta airport. All that said, do you really think that I would give up a chance to see Taylor 3x in 6 days?

Not bloody likely.

My own childless Aunt squanders my meager inheritance in casinos. The downside to her gambling is that her clothes always smell like smoke after her sojourns to Las Vegas, Laughlin, and Coarsegold. The upside is that she has a personal ingratiating slot host at every casino west of Denver. I’ve often traveled with her to the Chukchansi Gold Casino in Coarsegold, California. Her rooms are always free and she receives free coupons for a couple of turns around the buffet line. The Chukchansi Gold Casino is a beautiful casino managed by a Native American tribe. The casino and its attached hotel have a lodge-like décor. Big overstuffed chairs, lots of natural wood, and tasteful art remind you more of the lobby at the nearby Teneya Lodge over in Yosemite National Park than most Native American casinos. During my past visits to the facility, I have explored the Yosemite Valley with my camera, while the dollar slots are typically eating up my auntie’s bankroll. I don’t spend much money in casinos. My speculated-about, but very expensive boyfriend Orbitz - typically consumes my discretionary income. So, when I heard that Taylor was coming to Coarsegold, I was kicking myself for not making a Chukchansi Gold Slot Hostess my BFF. The casino’s hotel rooms retail for $180 a night and with the added baggage of five family members traveling with me (Oops, did I say that? I meant to say with the addition of five family members AND their respective baggage) I would need to reserve at least three hotel rooms and purchase six tickets to the concert.

Worth E V E R Y penny.

The concert was held in a cavernous tent like structure built on the back of the casino. It could easily have held 1,300 people and for Taylor’s show it appeared that each seat was filled. I was lucky enough to score good seats via TicketBastard, I mean TicketMaster. The family was excited to sit only 5 rows back from the stage, on the aisle. I felt I had been banished to Outer Mongolia. Stalkers, I mean “Super Fans” like to sit up close. It was then that I noticed that the venue was packed. From my fifth row seat every chair in front of me and behind us was filled. I had just seen Taylor in San Luis two days before at an intimate club. To see and hear the crowd that had come to tonight’s concert was a bit overwhelming. It reminded me of the crowds at the Biloxi Convention Center or at the Tabernacle in Atlanta a few years ago. To record the moment, ten minutes before the show started, I walked to the northwest corner of the concert hall and took the picture below. It only shows half the room, but you get the idea. The folks sitting on the sides of the hall (I presume many of these people did have a Slot Hostess as a BFF) probably had to rely on one of the two large video screens to clearly see the action on the stage.


The guys rolled out to polite applause. Folks from the Central Valley work hard for their money and expect you to do the same if you want their dollar. Timid at first, the gender and age-balanced crowd warmed to Taylor and the band as the night progressed. The thoughtful “Maybe You Should” brought the crowd to their feet. The hearty applause after “19” left none to wonder if the y-chromosomes in the audience appreciated Mr. Hicks’ efforts. There was the requisite crazy girl dancing near the front of the stage and a couple of older ladies that whispered, “When is he going to do that “Do I Make You Proud” song?” Otherwise, like the hundreds of people sitting in the crowd, I was enthralled by Taylor’s and the band’s performance. Friends from this blog had charged me with the task of writing down the set list. I failed miserably. I quickly scampered up to the stage after the show and asked Clay Connor for a copy of the set list. There were none. YIKES. In my defense, I was so taken in by the performance I couldn’t remember the order of the songs. I do specifically remember the songs in the encore, because there were two – The Faces’ “Stay with Me” and La Roux’s “Bulletproof”. There was something about Taylor’s “Stay with Me” performance that was oddly familiar. I remembered seeing an old Faces video of Rod Stewart strutting around the stage with the mic stand.

and I compared it to my video of Taylor singing the same song.

Ding, Ding, Ding, I think someone has been brushing up on his mic stand work.

At the end of the amazing show, Taylor took to the merch table to sell a few CDs and T-shirts. I think it is wonderful that he connects with his audience in this way. Those standing in line at Coarsegold for an autographed CD or maybe a photo were a little different than the crowds that I had seen in Laughlin and in San Luis Obispo. They were as enthusiastic as the other crowds, but there were just so many of them. Standing in the back of the line with the other “Super Fans” I easily counted more than 200 people waiting to get a chance to meet Taylor. After waiting in line 20 minutes I took the picture below. It shows another 100 to 120 people that were STILL in front of me before I got my turn at the merch table. Another 30 or so folks (They must be the “Super Duper Fans”) were standing behind me in line. I was so happy for Taylor. I guess it’s the stalker thing. You begin to feel personally connected to an artist. I had such glee in my heart that the crowds were large and responsive to his efforts. Every time the credit card machine was swiped for another CD sale it was a confirmation that they liked him, they really, really liked him. My feelings aren’t totally altruistic. I know if Taylor makes a boatload of cash in the Central Valley, he’ll come back. Every sale of a soda can cozy was music to my ears.

Final Thoughts.

The family had a good time at the concert. They applauded appropriately and stood during the ovations. We are sort of non-demonstrative kind of folks. It’s a Teutonic thing. It’s hard to get worked up when you are pillaging small European villages. That said, my Father asked me for the lyrics to “19” during our post-concert dinner. I spoke them with an increasingly unsteady voice, the table became quiet and my Dad’s eyes welled up in tears. We all buried our heads down into our menus, uncomfortable and deeply moved with my Dad’s rare display of tears.

That’s the power the music. It makes us all stalkers of the heart.


Our thanks to PayTheDevil for her incredible recaps and media from San Luis Obispo and Coarsegold. This stalker..uh, I mean Super Fan, has a way with words and media.

You rock, Girl!

More of PayTheDevil's media is in our Coarsegold thread and on our media board:

Friday, September 3, 2010

Taylor Hicks ~~ The Road to SLO

By PayTheDevil

I’ve traveled the continental United States to see Taylor Hicks perform.

I’ve sat in college gymnasiums, cavernous concert arenas, television studios, and the west terrace of the US Capitol Building while Mr. Hicks entertained. I’ve heard accents and languages that were unfamiliar, and I’ve learned that tea is both sweet and regular. Each new concert venue offered unique experiences. Without fail, the experience would be exciting, memorable, and fun. I would almost forget the grinding frustrations I would sometimes experience in airports, car rental counters, and Shoney’s after the thrill of the show had passed. When I read that Taylor was coming to San Luis Obispo, just a short drive from my current residence and a handful of miles from my parent’s vacation home, I couldn’t believe it.

Taylor was coming to SLO?

SLO. It’s the name that locals (Everyone in a 150 mile radius) have given to San Luis Obispo. Most of the county’s population lives in the quaint beach cities that dot the county’s Pacific coastline. It’s a nice place to live and the fact that 30 years ago the county fathers decided that the area should not be overbuilt, has left SLO and its neighboring cities with a sparse genteel population. There are more cows and livestock near SLO than people. The government is the number one employer in the county, and SLO has a state university on the edge of town. All of my brother’s three ex-wives were alumni of California State Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo. We are fans of the city and the school.

After attending a meeting in Los Angeles, my brother and I took historic Highway 101 as our travel route to San Luis Obispo. While I have driven some pretty countryside in Pennsylvania and Oregon en route to a Taylor show, none can hold a candle to the view enjoyed from the cab of my brother’s Chevy pickup as we cruised past the beaches of Ventura and Santa Barbara.

As the sun was going down over the Pacific, we were on the outskirts of SLO. I was somewhat surprised by the slowing traffic. The Marsh Street exit from the 101 dumps you right in the middle of SLO, and I’ve never waited to exit the freeway. When we finally made it into the city proper we noticed what was holding up the traffic. Yup, Taylor’s big blue bus and attached cargo trailer was halting traffic on Highway 101! The bus’s driver was trying to negotiate the turn into the hotel’s parking lot, while the length of the bus brought all three lanes of traffic to a complete stop on Marsh Street and the adjacent off ramp from Highway 101. I laughed with glee as the driver finally backed the blue orca into the minuscule parking lot.

The club was just a few streets up from where we left Taylor’s now parked bus. My brother and I rolled down our windows and enjoyed the aromas of tri-tip being barbequed on oak wood in downtown SLO. Downtown always smells like grilling meet. The area is famous for the stuff. We called ahead and found out that the Downtown Brewing Co. doesn’t serve food. So, we grabbed a little of the aforementioned BBQ at a little place near the club. I didn’t want to linger too long over our meal. There were already ten people in line in front of the club.

We took our place in line at 7:30 p. m., and the little line more than tripled before the doors were opened at 8:00pm. What’s great about SLO and its proximity to my home is the fact that two cars slowed down on the street in front of the club and yelled, “Hey Heather, we wondered if you were coming over to see Taylor.” That’s what’s great about small towns, everyone knows EVERYONE. I live two hours away, and I still run into people that know I am a Taylor fan. One of my friends (a former co-worker that moved to SLO two years ago) took her children home and returned to the club.

The opening band, The JD Project was great. My friend said they had played at a local outdoor fair the weekend before. Taylor’s crew loaned a few of their instruments to the band to facilitate an easy transition between bands. The JD Project reminded me of the “Bare Naked Ladies” with a lot more soul. The band was solid and their original songs quite good. To be fair, I clapped appropriately and shouted a few “woo hoos,” but everyone there was there for Taylor. The JD Project’s short set was appreciated for its musicianship and brevity.

… Drum Roll….. Brian and crew took the stage. Taylor joined his men and led the charge.

The band sounded great in the small club with exposed brick walls. The intensity in which the band played was matched by the interior temperature of the room. SLO’s 95 degree heat on Tuesday, August 24th shattered all records for the area. You have to go back before 1919 to find another day that was warmer. Hmmm, Taylor’s in town… there’s a heat wave… just sayin’…

I was surprised and delighted to hear songs from the Rolling Stones and The Faces as part of the set list at the Downtown Brewing Co. Before August 22nd, it had been over 14 months since I had seen a show (The Roxy – Los Angeles) and I could see maturity in his performance style. Musically, the performance was stellar. Brian, Sam, Jeff, and crew delivered on every note.

There wasn’t an easy exit off the stage, so Taylor never left before the encore. I was so sad when it came to an end.

My brother purchased a CD and had his photo taken. He commented on all of the college students that had been lingering outside the venue’s open doors. He said a couple of the 20 or more college student types hanging around the front door were bitterly complaining about the price of show tickets. One young man with a very thin Velcro wallet and a $200 skateboard, tried to convince the club’s owner that Taylor would want him inside. He repeatedly said, “Hey, I voted for him,” – to which the club owner replied, “You and 100 million other folks.”

The short drive home was quiet. It was great having Taylor play so close, in such an intimate setting. I know no one would ever get rich playing in small clubs like the Downtown Brewing Co., but it meant a lot to me.

Photos by PayTheDevil.