Monday, December 26, 2011

Taylor Hicks ~~ Our 2011 Top Ten List...

10. Making the HuffPo and The New York Times
A wrung on the media ladder, positive press including feature in the Huffington Post after Telluride show in an excellent article written by Cicily Janus (@jazzwriterchick) “Taylor Made: How One Man’s Dream Defined the American Idol.”

And it didn’t stop at the HuffPo. The following day it was picked up by The New York Times and 75 other media outlets. There were also several articles in USA Today as Taylor Hicks in the press went national and global.

9. Not Your Father’s Bowl
Playing with renowned harp player, John Popper of Blues Traveler, and the Jamie McLean Band at the Brooklyn Bowl.

2011 offered numerous events in which Taylor shared the stage with renowned musicians including Vince Gill and KebMo in Nashville and Jam Cruise. “That American Idol dude kicked ass” was overheard at the Brooklyn Bowl in September for the Jamie McLean Band’s CD Release Party of “Sunday Morning.” Taylor, John Popper and their fired up harmonicas brought down the house with “Fortunate Son!”

8. Tweets and Connecting
Engaging fans with Riding Shotgun features including backstage scenes of life on the road and staying connected on Twitter.

Taylor took the fans along as he continued with Riding Shotgun episodes on YouTube including special presentations for Memorial Day and his welcome speech to the Blue Angels for Toys for Tots.

Taylor connects almost daily with followers on Twitter and recently sent special Holiday greetings. The twitter scene itself might warrant a higher placement because it has not only allowed Taylor to connect with followers, but through tweets and pictures from Taylor and fans at concerts and events in real time, it has allowed those not attending to be a part of the experience. This means a lot to many far away from the center of the action. Follow: @TaylorRHicks

7. Jammin!
Returning to his jam band roots on Jam Cruise, 2011 sharing the stage with legendary musicians like JoJo’s Mardi Gras Band, Galactic, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, The Robert Randolph Family Band, and Anders Osbourne.

Jam Cruise also started out a year of sharing the stage with legendary musicians and reaffirming that he could play with the best. He once good naturedly responded after someone complimented him on his harmonica playing, “What’d you expect?” We expected that he would receive the stunningly positive reviews from the jam band community that he did.

6. Rocky Mountain High
Headlining the Telluride Jazz Celebration and taking jazz scene by storm with a soulful Saturday night concert that played to a new audience in the Rockies.

It might be described as a “sleeper” in the high country. Taylor isn’t known as a jazz singer. He stayed true to his music and wowed the crowd. “Taylor Hicks is killin’ it.” One jazz writer later wrote for the Huffington Post that he was the real live definition of success in being just who he is.

Telluride became a happening for fans everywhere when concerts, including Taylor’s, were streamed live online. And Taylor arrived early for the weekend, attended other concerts, was interviewed and shared his experience via twitter. It truly was a summer celebration! In the course of only a few days after the event, the online stream of his concert had been viewed over 3,000 times!

5. Florabama!
Back home on the Gulf Coast in the beloved Florabama, Taylor rocking the old, leaky-roofed roadhouse with Spoonful James and Rollin’ in the Hay.

For sentimental value, this might be Number One. It is one of the early places where Taylor performed, where he might call his musical home, where he learned to work a crowd. He has referred to it often. Fans from all over joined the party and the storm didn’t stop the fun! It was that “one of a kind” concert last year—in the middle of a hurricane!

It was also a rockin’ way to wind down another “kick ass” tour in 2011 that kicked off in February on the Gulf Coast, traveled to the Big Apple and New England, to the West Coast, the Rocky Mountains, Michigan and Midwest, and stops inbetween! It’s the “heart and soul” of any Taylor Hicks year—touring!

4. “Friday” and Going Viral!
The viral sensation in a surprise visit to Late Night with Jimmy Fallon for a parody of Rebecca Black’s, “Friday” with Stephen Cobert, Jimmy Fallon, Taylor Hicks, and Roots Crew!

It was recently named one of the Best Covers of 2011 by Rolling Stone Magazine. It racked up over 1 million views in a matter of hours on YouTube before NBC nixed it. A version of it still rolls up the views worldwide. It is a new Friday classic and is expected to be that for a long time! The sheer scope, surprise, and impact globally of this might suggest a higher placement on our list, but we settled for Number Four.

3. Striking Ore
Ore Drink and Dine, co-owned by Taylor Hicks, opening in April and becoming a Birmingham hot spot for great cuisine and live music.

It was named Birmingham’s Best New Restaurant by the Birmingham Magazine in 2011. Its dishes have received rave reviews from patrons and Paula Deen endorsed its Crawfish Rolls! For the long term, we feel the opening and success of Ore is a significant event. It may be a way of putting down roots with a nod to the past and looking to the future. It meshes two great joys—good music and good food! It’s easy to picture Taylor slipping in the back door and walking around the kitchen peering over shoulders of sous chefs and wandering around his retro industrial chic restaurant saying hello to diners! Or picking up his guitar and sitting on stage for a few tunes…like a “coming home.”

2. BamaRising and Good Works
BamaRising for tornado relief in Alabama and the many charity events to which Taylor always gives his time and talent.

This is always a significant part of the year of Taylor Hicks. The huge BamaRising concert in Birmingham with renowned artists like the legendary group, Alabama, in a four hour show raised millions for storm victims. In other charity events, he supported Life Changing Lives again in Los Angeles, welcomed to Birmingham the Today Show’s Lend a Hand with Al Roker and Paula Deen. He finished the year with ongoing support for the Marines Toys for Tots welcoming the Blue Angels to Birmingham, performing a free acoustic concert at Ore that collected toys, and appearing at a toy marathon at Legacy BBQ to help Toys for Tots reach their goal for the children of Central Alabama.

Many artists make good music, and fans are enamored with the sound, the show, and the artist. Not all artists continually and wholeheartedly support good works and consistently support their home state like Taylor does. He never forgets where he is from.

This is the significant side of Taylor Hicks that makes this artist more than a performer and the music more than sounds. He has said that it is not about how many records you can sell but about how many lives you can touch. His music not only touches lives. His offstage good works touches lives and hearts.

1. All About the Music!
A new album in the works and on the way and working with the KebMo.

Working with the soulful musician and longtime mentor, KebMo, and moving to Nashville has opened doors and collaborations with songwriters that promise an exciting new album out early next year. The music is the first focus for everything we do, and it had to be Number One. Taylor has described the new album as “country soul.” He has tweeted much about working with Nashville songwriters and meetings with Nashville movers and shakers.

The music is Number One also because it takes us forward into 2012! Looking back only serves as inspiration in looking forward to gear up, prepare, and, yeeeees, wait!

2012 rings in with promise in the air and new music out there!!!

From Nashville and Taylorized!

Stay tuned…
We chose one iconic picture of Taylor Hicks in 2011 to represent the intensity with which he performs his music and the intensity with which he reaches out to help others. It had to be this stunning capture by Getty Images from BamaRising:

After our No. 10 event, the article by Cicily Janus, Kern Radio 1180 tweeted a summary: “An interesting read on…” and what I think says much about Taylor:

“…balancing art and humanity.”

Taylor Hicks does indeed balance art and humanity very well.
Our very best wishes for a happy and energized New Year filled with new music and new joys!

~~The Taylor Hicks Community

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Taylor Hicks ~ A Charlie Brown Christmas Tree...

There are no real Christmas trees for sale this year in the small town where I work and shop. Not at the SuperWalmart or the Hardware/Home with GardenCenter store.

I debated with myself whether or not to have a Christmas tree. My granddaughter had already visited during a snow storm and the snow was all she needed to make her happy. I wondered if it would be okay to break a lifetime tradition and simplify Christmas for one year.

I told a group recently that I had had a Christmas tree every year—a real one.

After I had thought about that, I wasn’t sure it was true. I couldn’t remember them all. Growing up in the country, it was easy to go out and cut one, and I know that we did. But Western Kentucky has hard wood trees, not pine trees. So, I’m not sure what the trees looked like. My older brother wrote once about dragging home a scraggly tree through the mud for Christmas. Christmas isn’t always white in Kentucky either.

When we first moved to the city, our family of five lived in two rooms. I can’t remember trees, but I will never forget one gift my older brother bought me—a little upright piano that had real keys and sounded somewhat like a tingy piano. And there was the year he bought the very latest bubble lights for our tree. We celebrated in whatever modest way we could.

We were together, and we were loved.

By the time I was a teenager, we had a small house in the suburbs with a big picture window. Now, I know that after that we had a Christmas tree every year in the front window—a real one. When I had a family of my own, the tree was the center of our celebration. In Michigan, we could go out and cut down one or get a real one on any street corner. In fact, we lived in the middle of an abandoned tree farm—Christmas trees five stories tall!

I treasure my traditions. They are a comforting reminder that some things haven’t changed.

Change is inevitable. But in a changing world, some things shouldn’t. We need to hold on to those things—whatever they are—that say “This is mine, and I am home.”

I’m not very good at accepting change. But to change is to grow. As I sit here writing a Christmas blog, it is a change I could never have seen coming. Change isn’t bad. It’s just different and the way we move forward, grow, evolve and become better, even happier. We can still clutch and drag along that which we can’t let go of and treasure those things we always go back to.

Our traditions are ours forever.

When and why did stores stop selling real trees? With more snow in the forecast and work, I probably won’t have a tree for the first time in a very long time.

That’s okay. I’m not giving up a tradition. I’m remembering it fondly and holding on until next year when I WILL start planning for the holidays earlier!

I do have a tree—a Charlie Brown Christmas tree just outside my front window.

It is exactly that. In the forest with high wildfire danger in the summer, it is required to clear out small trees and underbrush near your home. I left one. When I saw it I said it looked exactly like the Charlie Brown Christmas tree, and it stays.

As I finish this, the snow is falling and, in the best Charlie Brown tradition, my little tree is looking better all the time!

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa!

Treasure your traditions and the loved one with whom you share them!

Happy Holidays!

To you and your loved ones from

The Taylor Hicks Community

Monday, December 12, 2011

Take our Top Ten Taylor Hicks Twitpic Poll: Beauty on the Road

Taylor Hicks is a touring musician.

He also has become quite a photographer with stunning images from his travels and shows all over the country.

Here’s our Top Ten Random Twitpics from 2011. VOTE for your favorite!

Hurricane Lee’s making landfall the same weekend as Taylor’s Labor Day Weekend beach concert at the historic Florabama Roadhouse on the Gulf Coast brought these striking images:

NUMBER TWO: “Till the skies open up and the trumpet sounds.” 9/5/11

“Lee is angry…had a great time @flora_bama Great Show!” 9/5/11

The stoic stage setups have become a favorite fan photo as they wait for the gig! It always meant good times were coming. Taylor got into the spirit with his own stage setup photo and with his own clever title:

“Gig gear” Flamingo Room 9/16/11

Travel was a given, and Taylor shared some of those “moments in time” with his followers on Twitter:

“They say the neon lights are bright” 3/13/11

Sunsets were a popular capture, perhaps because it was a relaxing time for the busy artist who spends most of every year on the road and on the concert stage.

Simply tweeted with this stunner: “Yahtze” 7/9/11

From Telluride: “Gondola” 8/5/11

It was sheer beauty as Taylor shared these:

"Fire and Ice:" Vacation in the Rockies

TIED FOR NUMBER TWO: “One of my favorite seats on the planet #bien” 10/5/11

Finally, pure randomness shared beauty of a different kind:

Attention to the smallest and unusual: "Life goes on. (turtle nest)" 7/25/11

WINNER-NUMBER ONE! A quiet moment on Lake Mission Viejo: August, 2011

Thanks to Taylor Hicks for all the photos from @TaylorRHicks on Twitter. Follow @TaylorRHicks and join this artist’s picturesque journey!

We enjoyed looking back at the scenes from Twitter! Which is your favorite? VOTE at the right for one that you think is most outstanding.

Taylor’s Tweets and Twitpics are archived on our Connections Anthology here:

A huge thanks to cath_tthc who diligently keeps the archives of Taylor’s Tweets and Twitpics and ALL the archives on Connections Anthology. It is our own “super wikipedia” of Taylor Hicks!