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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Taylor Hicks, Caught in the "Run Around"

Taylor Hicks has a new tune called "The Run Around" featured on his upcoming CD due out December 12th. This GoFish video was captured during his performance in Rockefeller Center. I love this treatment of the tune. Initially, when I heard this song there was no harmonica, and the musical arrangement was slightly different. While I did not dislike the song it did not have the magic evidenced in this version. I'm not saying the man's got to have a mouth harp in his face to make a tune sound good, or you know, to sound "Taylorized" but, I am saying I'm loving The Soulman's delivery here.

To hear another version of the tune go HERE. My 'ex' was a drummer in a band and this tune's full of some rocking percussion, it will hold appeal to a lot of folks.

Listen up, it's count down time... 11 days left and the CD drops. Let's blow the roof off the Billboard charts!

Seasons' Greetings to all ya'll.

Groove on Soulman.

Taylor Hicks Puts the Rock in Rockefeller (Center)

Taylor Hicks performed "White Christmas" during the tree lighting ceremony held in New York City's Rockefeller Center last night. Taylor's performance was fun and jazzy, a groove filled, ever soulful take on a favorite Christmas song.

As a small girl, I remember watching the televised Christmas specials popular in the '70's; shows featuring the greats like Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis and Bing Crosby. These musicians performed Christmas songs like songs, they gave them a twist and shout of their own. The Rat Pack gave Christmas songs some 'cool', removed the trite feeling often showcased in renditions of many deliveries of the old holiday tunes.

Last night at Rocker-feller Center, we were treated to another hot glimmering facet which shone as bright as the lights on the giant tree, the very real palpable talent of Taylor Hicks. The Soulman elevated the show, gave the production some reminiscent smack back to the days when musicians could make music work and be cool ... even old Christmas songs.

I could run a listing of my own of some cool Christmas music but instead, I'll give you this link to check. For you 'players' folks who actually know how to read sheet music, here you go. I've put a link to Amazon below for Charles Brown (no, not Charlie Brown...) He's an old-style blues artist with a nice Christmas CD, one I have in my collection. Charles Brown was a talented, yet underrated musician, check him out and his tunes, if you're not familiar. This is a link to his album listing.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Taylor Hicks, Does He Make Idol Proud?

Taylor Hicks has been a busy man this past year. He came off from the gruelling American Idol tour to immediately ensconce himself in studio to record his first post-Idol CD due out December 12th.

Fans have been able to watch him "in action" on rehearsals.com a truly smart move on the Soulman's part. This site provides absolutely phenominal exposure for his music, and has created a ton of 'buzz' for the man. Just last week, he appeared on ABC's broadcast of the American Music Awards from Los Angeles in which he strolled the red carpet and was an award presenter. (Let's see if next year he's a recipient.) He also graciously met Wierd Al Yankovich who parodied Hicks in a much watched video that has swarmed the blogspots via the internet. This week we'll be seeing Mr. Hicks as he travels coast-to-coast. Tonight he will be a part of the "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" held in New York City, then Friday night he's on the west coast, making yet another appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" as Jay's musical guest.

He's also been making some controversial American Idol news, coverage of which has been being discussed in a multitude of fan forums and websites. The article which sparked controversy, "On Soul Patrol with Taylor Hicks" written from an interview with Josh Baron on Relix.com, stemmed from some remarks Taylor Hicks made regarding his not being someone who had watched American Idol in the past. Taylor Hicks took it a step further, and stated, "American Idol, for me, is fizzling out. I want to take that opportunity and exposure..." Apparently there are some folks out there who think the man should continue to want to have the A.I. title permanently attached to his name, like some kind of British HRH moniker, i.e., AmericanIdol Taylor Hicks.

I agree with Mr. Hicks, it is time to move on. So what if he used American Idol as a springboard to national exposure! That is what the show is ultimately about and I don't understand any convoluted reasoning why anyone should be upset about this remark. Looking at the time line, the next season of wannabe-famous contestants will be starting in just a few short months and fans of the show will become immersed in the new 2007 group.

Though it's time for Taylor Hicks to distance himself from the show, with fame and great power comes great responsibility (a bit trite, I know, this in reference to "Spiderman", but please - indulge me). Taylor Hicks will be scrutinized now even more than before; words that fall from his lips will dissected to obtain every form of 'meanings' that every individual reading them may attribute to them. Many are saying he's 'biting the hand that feeds him'. TMZ's Jeff Davidson offers a more rational insight into the comments Hicks' has made regarding Idol and his first released single, "Do I Make You Proud". Davidson commends Taylor Hicks for wanting to stand true to his musical roots and having wanted to have his song, "The Fall" as the first released single instead of the written for Idol, "Do I Make You Proud". Still, there are some fans from the show feeling disillusioned, having fallen for Mr. Hicks only because he was on Idol and won.

Continuing with my observations from the Relix.com interview and Hicks' controversial statement, this is my favorite part, "...you either come to see me, buy my album or you don’t. I’m not trying to meet expectations. If you can say you’re a working musician, then you’re doing something good. I’m just glad to be a working musician because that’s what I’ve always been."

You see, that is the man I've always thought Taylor Hicks to be right from that initial audition when he sang Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come". His journey on Idol a testament to this talented man. Mr Hicks smiled in the face of adversity and carried on with what was true to his heart, ignoring pre-conceived perceptions regarding what it takes to win American Idol. He had a few stumbles during the show, the John Denver song, "Country Roads" comes to mind, but ultimately, and importantly, Taylor Hicks did not succumb to pressure to change his true self, not even so much as caving to pressure regarding his hair color.

Taylor Hicks reached out to all of us out there who strive to stay true to ourselves, who fight against the odds to succeed, who are sometimes perceived as misfits or the 'black sheep'. Taylor Hicks stayed true to himself, and Taylor Hicks let his real talent shine, natural, real and authentic. He is 'different', he is unique - an original. This time 'one of us' made it.

In the end, does Taylor Hicks need to make Idol proud? I don't think that's the issue. The real, true issue lies within Taylor Hicks, he must make himself proud. The rest of the pieces will fall as they should.

Groove on Soulman.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Taylor Hicks, My Cinderella Man

Taylor Hicks is granting interviews to everyone and anyone in the internet world it seems, but alas, I hear nothing from the man. On the homefront, my very own man told me on many occasions, "Taylor Hicks has had to have read some of your articles, he'll e.mail or call just to say hello one day, he's got to know about your work to benefit him". My sweet man thinks it's very cool that I even selected Hicks as winner of AI 5 from day one. I have to occasionally remind him, if I were indeed psychic I'd have won the lottery by now. (That would be nice.) One thing I can do is recognize drive, heart and music, and Taylor Hicks has all of those intrinsically entwined in his being, it's there for anyone with any soul to see.

Besides this blogspot, let me list some of the articles I've written in the past about Taylor Hicks during his competition that garnered a little attention and I hope, support for the man.

Here are a few links:
Justin Timberlake: No Sex to Music / Hates Taylor Hicks
Idol Rat Pack
Proudly Soars to Number One
Soul Patrol Push Hicks
Taylor Hicks: Idol Karma
Taylor Hicks on American Idol
19E and American Idol Owe Taylor Hicks

You might ask, am I jealous that never has Tay so much as sent me an e.mail? Perhaps - but mainly I'm just frustrated. I have had this Taylor Hicks blogspot since January of 2006 when I started following him on American Idol. (Granted I haven't blogged that often in the past several months, I've been down with a condition called lupus, my energy, my time creating conflict; I must select carefully where and what I spend my time doing. I've always to consider, my family, my paying job, my house and my pets. Regarding the pets, it's like there's a sign for any stray on the streets on my front door "This Idiot Will Feed You and Feel Responsible to Help YOU! And so they come in search of kibble.)

Importantly though and realistically speaking, Taylor Hicks owes me nothing for anything I ever wrote about him or all the time I spent on-line in forums campaigning for him, it is not like he requested I spend my time on him. My at-home man simply lives in a somewhat delusional, happy world where the good guy wins and the good you do comes back to you, like the movie, one of his favorites, "Pay it Forward". I used to think like that, but repeatedly in many ways and areas I've learned life is not a fairy tale and "Pay it Forward" was simply a movie...

When I hear of an interview being given to a relative 'newbie' to 'the promote Taylor in the blogosphere' and I've been here for so long, and ignored by Gray Charles and Taylor Hicks, it's discouraging. I'm thinking I might as well shut this little site down. I just sought an inclusion now and then, some comaraderie, a sort of belonging in the following of a man I perceive as bringing something special to today's music world. I haven't asked for anything and in return I guess that's what I'll get. My meager endeavors obviously don't matter in the world of Taylor Hicks and really is this blogspot therefore important in the world of Taylor Hicks? Not so much, I'm realizing. I just had wanted one day for Gray or Tay to just put out a hand and say, good job, or thanks, or something. Hello. Anything. Anyone wanna buy a blogspot?

I'm happy for the writer of the newish blogspot to get her interview, but man, I'm just not taking this well. I can understand about Gray, getting the attention from Taylor Hicks, Gray's got a great running site with all kinds of bells and whistles I don't even know how to blow, he's an aggressive comprehensive website guy; me I'm a gotta have it free, blogger. I don't have the money to have anything heavy or special; hell I just started doing this about two years ago and am self-taught. I don't even have Adobe Photoshop because I can't afford it.

I began this site because I believed in Taylor Hicks. I believed in his vision, I saw that vision when he performed Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come'. It brought tears into my eyes watching him perform it during auditions on American Idol. "How brave of him", I thought. Taylor Hicks was aggressive and daring and yet, within his eyes pulsed a soul, a sensitivity, a fire. That is what made me want to see Taylor Hicks succeed. So many folks succeed because of 'backing' money they have to push themselves through life. I saw in Taylor Hicks a glimpse of myself years ago - but my story did not turn out like a fairy tale, no Cinderella tale for me; the pumpkin did not become a carriage. I wanted Taylor Hicks' pumpkin to become the carriage, and so I did what meager things I could to act 'fairy Godmother' for him as so many people did during American Idol and continue to do.

Gray has stated on his blogspot that he began backing Hicks because he saw the opportunity. He wanted to make enough money on the internet to not have to venture out to work and so picked Hicks because of the internet draw and earnings potential. I picked Hicks because I believed in him.

Just that.

Groove on Soulman.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Taylor Hicks, "The Right Place"; Yes, the Mack Daddy of Soul is Still in the House!

Taylor, Taylor, Taylor Hicks, you wise dog. I had hoped that this tune was in the mix. Threw out a coupla' bones from the new CD and now you throw this one. That's it man. I LOVE THIS SONG. Yeah-yas, Soulman.

The Mack Daddy of Soul Is Still in the House.

Groove on Soulman.

Taylor Hicks, AMA's, the upcoming CD, and Dancing with the Devil

Taylor Hicks was a presenter last night on the American Music Awards. He looked great and displayed his natural confidence in the public eye. Check out his official blogspot, Gray Charles to the megaupload of Taylor Hicks' appearance.

Bo Bice and Taylor Hicks may have something in common besides calling Alabama home and being on American Idol. Yesterday the debate began over the clips of the two Taylor Hicks songs from the upcoming CD getting 'first listen to' on Gray Charles. I checked back today and found that many of the Soul Patrol were of similar opinion as myself regarding the latest endeavors by The Soulman. This post in particular nailed exactly what I had been thinking but did not articulate:

(This is an excerpt from an interview with Taylor Hicks.)
"I ask Taylor, “were you expecting this”? He replies, “Look, I’ve got a 3 album deal – this is a process that every artist has to go through. There is give and take…..There may be more give than take on the first go round. My sophomore release will have more “original” music."
The poster, 'Eejit', continues with,
"I really wish he had stuck to this line in interviews. Not only would we have known what to expect, but it would also have served as a disclaimer not to judge him by the first album. Instead, he’s gone out of his way to raise people’s expectations: “It’s modern whomp music….It’s jazz, funk, cajun, soul, blues… It’s real, and it’s an extension of my career that’s 10 years in the making.” If he’d been saying “Hey, it’s Idol, man, it’s gotta be pop, but I’m gonna try to make a really good, kinda Taylorized pop album,” people would judge it by those standards and probably say he did a good job.

But if you’re gonna brag about defining a new genre of music, you’d better bring more to the table than overproduced pop songs. I’m really hoping we will get some of the promised “jazz, funk, cajun, soul, blues” somewhere on this album, because otherwise I’m afraid all this “whomp” hype may come back and bite him on the butt, especially when the critics get ahold of it."

I had to reread this post a couple of times. 'Eejit' sums up exactly my thoughts on the short clips featured. Granted the two clips are just that, but clips are intended to promote the 'flavor' of the entire song and give the listener insight into what is to come. The first two previewed song clips open with a definite carbonation fizzle. Today on Taylor Hicks' myspace, noonish, there is word that there is to be some sort of "surprise". I'm thinking possibly that we'll hear more of this CD, perhaps more soul and less Pop.

Don't get me wrong, and please stop yourself from branding me a hater or a naysayer, just a true-blue fan who will not play "The Emperor's New Clothes". I'm shooting straight. WILL I buy his CD? Most Definitely. I'm supporting a man whom I do believe to be an "honest to God" musician and artist. Taylor Hicks, in this Freshman venture may be simply finding himself in a similar situation that Bo Bice, with "The Real Thing" CD, encountered with the American Idol machine. The Biceman still is taking hits from the CD not being the type of tome that fans expected. It may come to pass that this new CD from The Soulman may see him taking some of the same shrapnel.

So much of the debate stems from the fact that Taylor Hicks fans, the Soul Patrollers know what the man has gravitated towards in his music. Sp'ers have eaten up Taylor Hicks' proposals of being dedicated to Soul music and real music.

Taylor Hicks is going to be held to high standards, but fans need to be aware the man is, no matter how strong a personality he is, under a contract and obligated to fulfill the details of 'said' contract. As with an artist, musical or otherwise, and as has been professed by Hicks on a famous hat he wore, and in this Rolling Stone interview, sometimes it is necessary to "dance with the devil".

Dance on Baby.
Groove on Soulman.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Tyalor Hicks Streaming Tunes on his Official blog; Gray Charles.com

Taylor Hicks offerred a 'sampling' of some of his new tunes on the great Gray Charles blogsite today. One of them is called "Dream Myself Awake". A short clip is featured to give you just a tasting of what's on the new Taylor Hicks CD due out December 12th. I'll leave it to you, the listener to decide on what you think about the new tunes by the Soulman.

My commentary, so far, in this initial slip of a clip, it's not exactly what I've been anticipating from The Soulman. The tune could morph as it goes along, but within the short span of this sampling, more Pop than Soul music. I'm interested in hearing more of the CD. Tune into Gray Charles.com to hear it and read commentaries.

I'll be sure to check out more tunes as they come available. Check out Taylor Hicks myspace site tomorrow. Link on Gray Charles.com.

Groove on Soulman.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Taylor Hicks, the Star Spangled Banner and Nascar

Taylor Hicks delivers his version of the Star Spangled Banner in this video off of Go Fish. Leave it to Gypsee to be the first to have one out! She's a wiz with video and audio coverage. Taylor Hicks starts out pretty slowly (remember this is not an easy song to sing) but wraps it up in true Soulman Style. Very nice, TayTay.

OK gentlemen, start your engines!

Groove on Soulman.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Taylor Hicks, "Oh, say can you... sing?"

Taylor Hicks, will sing "The Star Spangled Banner" during the NASCAR Ford 400 on NBC, Sunday, November 19th, 2:00 p.m. EST, at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. The National Anthem is notably not an easy song to sing, and in years past, there have been some 'interesting' interpretations. This site can help remind some of us and provide new news for others on some past versions of merit and controversy. To hear these, check this link to video.

It's doubtful we'll see/hear Taylor Hicks included on the "Star Spangled Banner" Snark Pages, but I have no doubt we'll be seeing mass produced youtube.com accounts and reports filling the google alerts on what Taylor Hicks does do with the tune. More than likely, Taylor Hicks, with his very distinctive voice and sound will score very big with the NASCAR fans and of course, the Soul Patrol.

"O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!"

Groove on Soulman.

Friday, November 10, 2006

"Georgia"; Taylor Hicks Channels Ray Charles

This is a video link from rehearsals.com with Taylor Hicks channelling the great Ray Charles. Check out this windows pop up being celebrated on the great graycharles.com site and whereever you may find Taylor Hicks fans. The silver-haired soulman's new album release date has been bumped to December 12th at this point. Soul Patrollers everywhere are anxiously awaiting his new endeavor. It'll be ready when it's ready folks, can't rush an artist, let him work; I'm sure the album will be worth the wait.

Much ado is being made about Chris Daughtry and Kellie Pickler getting their albums out first, but I'm not sure what the point of that fuss is; doesn't mean anything to me. More than likely they, not being the outstanding faves of this past season's American Idol are more concerned with striking while the iron still smokes knowing how the fate has played for many of the other contestants coming off the show. Timing can be of the essence, this is true in the case of American Idol, and in the music business in general.

Taylor Hicks need not concern himself about timing, this man's got the fans that will not waver, nor let a later release date sway this upcoming CD from rocking the charts at Billboard. Tay surely will make new history with the numbers we'll see once his album hits the streets. Take your time Tay baby, the Soul Patrol will be waiting.

Meanwhile kick back and enjoy yet another great tune coming out of rehearsals.com.

Groove on Soulman.