Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Taylor Hicks working with KebMo on new album...

Taylor Hicks confirmed tonight during a Live Chat on Ustream that he is collaborating with KebMo on his new album expected out early next year.

Taylor said that Keb has been a long time mentor even before American Idol and gave him advice on some of his song choices on that show. In an interview earlier this week, Keb listed Taylor Hicks as one of the musicians with whom he was working on projects. Taylor is already involved in the song writing process and gathering songs to record. He will take the time needed and not let a sense of emergency interfere with a CD of “great” songs.

In the live feed that encountered some technical difficulties and lasted in excess of an hour, a relaxed Taylor also talked of future plans to live in Nashville and that he was looking at property there. He said the city has so much to offer, not just in the way of country music, but all kinds of music and culture. He is looking forward to a “normal” life there.

He is still taking acting lessons from Carl Ford and found that doing audition tapes was a new experience. He has only done one audition in his life—his audition for American Idol.

Questions flew by in the Ustream chat window. He said he was definitely ready for some football; Ore Drink and Dine, his new restaurant in Birmingham, is doing great; they are featuring the live music of the great Birmingham musician, Cleve Eaton at Sunday brunch. He was asked about Amy Winehouse and he said he thought that someone should have been with her. At one time, Taylor said she was an artist with whom he would like to do a duet.

There will be more concert dates coming up. He is especially looking forward to playing the Telluride Jazz Celebration since he never has. It comes up August 6, 2011.

If you missed the live chat, watch for the recording on or Ustream. Previous chats have been posted there.


Photos from Taylor's Facebook: KebMo and Taylor Hicks at The Ryman in Nashville for Vince Gill's Jammin' to Beat the Blues Benefit, 4/7/2011.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Taylor Hicks ~~ Tales of the Harmonica

Taylor Hicks and his harmonica are not soon parted.

It was a simple beginning, but it was life changing.

And it was a significant leap from being a “major music fan to becoming an actual player…”

In his autobiography, "Heart Full of Soul," Taylor Hicks recalls his first encounter with a lowly harmonica in a flea market when he was just sixteen.

“I was hanging out with some friends at the flea market in Bessemer, Alabama, on a lazy Sunday afternoon when a beat-up old Marine Band harmonica suddenly caught my eye. That crusty old harp didn’t just look used; it looked downright abused. Still, the price was definitely right, so after considerable debate, I dug into my pockets and made the single best $2 investment of my life.”
It was love at first sight.

“I fell totally and passionately in love with that harmonica. …that instrument and I became inseparable. The thing went to school with me. It went to bed with me. I even went to the bathroom with me. It kept me company and gave me a new identity. I was ‘the kid with the harmonica.’

“As I’d done with so much else in my life, I taught myself to play the instrument without any formal instruction. I …began trying to play along with all my favorites. …not just to soul and blues tunes but also to the rock tracks I loved by performers such as Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, and Supertramp. …for me, the ultimate test was playing along to ‘Take the Long Way Home’ by Supertramp.”

No wonder that “Take the Long Way Home” is a super concert favorite today.

Although instruments were not part of the American Idol competition, the harmonica went along. The most memorable audition image is Taylor entering the judges’ room blowing on his harmonica and plopping himself down on the chair in front of them to hear their decision.

After making history on the American Idol stage, Taylor was able to take his harmonica on the American Idol Tour and was often on his knees playing his harp.

Now, there’s a passel of harmonicas in different keys, neatly arranged and labeled in cases on stage.

One still goes everywhere!

The golf course...
The high seas for Jam Cruise, 2011. Media appearances... Stunning images show the intensity with which Taylor is one with the harmonica, here at the Rocky Mountain Power Jam in 2010.

He took it to Broadway and gave Teen Angel a new kind of heavenly harp.

There is only one that we can find who wasn’t impressed with Taylor and his harmonica. It was a bad day in Dallas when Taylor shared the stage with Burt, the basset hound, who wanted no part of a harmonica playing American Idol. Taylor throws them into the audience sometimes as he did during “Seven Mile Breakdown” on American Idol in 2009. During the 2007 tour, fans could buy the ones he used after the concerts. He gives them away, often to young fans at concerts.

Taylor Hicks is more now than “the kid with the harmonica.” He has added much to his identity, his musical catalog, and his self-taught talent.

Yet, the harmonica still symbolizes the intensity with which he performs, the talent he has developed, and his love and passion for his music.

It is his smooth stone—a touch stone that seems to ground him.

It was, indeed, a good $2 investment.

How many harmonicas has Taylor Hicks held since that first one in Bessemer, Alabama?

It bends the mind to ponder!

But we and the music world are richer from that beat up, abused harmonica that couldn’t have known its significance on that Sunday afternoon in Bessemer.

Sources: Quote: Heart Full of Soul, Taylor Hicks, Random House, July, 2007.

Photos: BamaRising; American Idol -screencaps; golf course-Birmingham News; Jam Cruise-Tom Zinn; media-Jacksonville Morning Mess screencap; Rocky Mountain Power Jam-screencap; Grease-promo photo; Burt-Good Day Dallas screencap; Taylor at Magic Bag-Peece (pc325).

The story of Burt, the basset hound, "Taylor Hicks Meets the Toughest Crowd in Texas" is here:

"Take the Long Way Home" from Millersville, 2007, by Skeeter:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Carson James ~ Rock Heaven!

“Music is my life. It’s who I am. …it has kept me going. …I hope my music and story will be an inspiration to many people as I continue this journey and my life as an artist.” Carson James

We were reminded today that it isn’t about how long we live but how well we live.

Carson James Sumpter celebrated his faith, his dreams, and his music and shared them all with others.

He was an inspiration to all of us to make our time here meaningful.

We were blessed to know his music and his passion for life.
Tonight, Carson James opens on a new stage…

Rock Heaven, Carson!

"Superstition" by Carson James and Taylor Hicks at WorkPlay, December, 2010, by NJ4Tay

Top photos from ABC Interview; WorkPlay by Anothertayfan.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Taylor Hicks ~~ "Favorite Fare at ORE Drink and Dine" Poll

You have been to Ore and sampled the fare.

You have not been to Ore to sample the fare, but you plan to go.

You live too far away to go to Ore, but you are contemplating telling your children you are flying to Birmingham just to go to Ore.

You tweeted about your dining at Ore with picture.

You don’t tweet about what you eat.

You don’t take pictures of what you eat.

No, this is not the poll.

We’ve seen pictures and reviews of the fare, including Taylor’s Paella. We thought it would be fun to know what you would order from the menu if you go to Ore or go again.

We found a sampling of what’s been talked about, so tell us what would be the one favorite you would definitely order. Take our poll to the right.

Enjoy our second-ever unofficial just-for-fun poll “Favorite Fare at Ore” !

If you have been to Ore, feel free to give us more information or pictures on Twitter!

A “Southern Eclectic” menu, wine menu put together by Sommelier Alexis Douglas, live music, and special community events creates the total culinary and fun fare at Ore. American Idol and Birmingham native, Taylor Hicks, part owner of Ore Drink and Dine, occasionally appears on the entertainment stage. Chic industrial decor celebrates Birmingham's past connected to the mining of iron ore.

Taylor Hicks and Executive Chef Joey Dickerson at Ore Drink and Dine.

For more information follow Ore Drink and Dine on Twitter at:!/ORE4747 :

And on Facebook at:

More Happy Summer!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Fourth of July, 2011~~Rebirth of Freedom

On this day in 1863, General Robert E. Lee watched as his tattered, beaten army retreated back into Maryland and Virginia from the horrific battle at Gettysburg.

Today, we remember the birth of our nation. We also remember what that great battle, a turning point in the Civil War, meant.

In the fall of 1863, President Abraham Lincoln visited the battlefield where a formal cemetery was the beginning of a great park. Bruce Catton writes in Gettysburg: The Final Fury:

“…Lincoln spoke the few sentences that made cemetery and park something more than a simple memorial to human courage.

“…When he said that people would never forget what the soldiers had done on this battlefield, he added that no one would long remember what anyone said there; and this was a slight mistake, because what he said there is something the American people will always turn to when they want to know why this great hour of tragedy had to take place and what it meant in the growth of a great nation.

“…Lincoln reminded his listeners, the American people had brought forth a nation ‘conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.’ The terrible Civil War itself, he said, was simply a matter of testing whether that nation and the dream that inspired it could go on living. The unlimited potential embodied in the great word 'America' depended on the way the challenge was met. The soldiers had done their part…to the last full measure of their devotion. The rest, then and thereafter, would be up to the living.

“To the living of all subsequent generations, including this one, Gettysburg left an unending responsibility. A nation built on the idea that all men—all men—are of equal worth and equal rights summons everyone of its citizens to the life-long commitment to put that idea into practical effect.

“Gettysburg, then, was the price we paid for our service under that great concept. It was one step in a long progression; not an end, but a beginning—a pledge written in blood that freedom should be reborn in every generation.”

“The soldiers had done their part…to the last full measure of their devotion. The rest, then and thereafter, would be up to the living.”

Today we remember the price of freedom and the ideals for which we sacrifice, then and now.

God bless America.

Fly our flag proudly and humbly remembering its challenge to the living.

Taylor Hicks sings our National Anthem at San Francisco Giants' Opening Day Ceremonies, 2009.

Quote Source: Catton, Bruce. Gettysburg: The Final Fury. Doubleday & Company, Inc. Garden City, New York. 1974.

Thanks to a friend who reminded me of my history. Thanks to a departed friend who read much about the Civil War, loved his books, and served his country as a proud Marine.

And thanks to Mr. Catton who reminded us of the price of freedom and that freedom comes with responsibility.