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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Taylor Hicks; Taylor Hicks - CD Drops to Number 15

Taylor Hicks debut CD has fallen to number 15 on Billboard's Top 200 chart. Taking the tumble with him, Young Jeezy, who, last week, saw him riding the top spot, this week, sends him plummeting past Hicks into the number 18 position. (My daughter, on the other hand, eight years old and a third grader, is thrilled to see her Idol, Hannah Montana still on the up and up in the number two position.)

Taylor Hicks' CD, according to the Nielsen SoundScan has gone Gold, selling 500,00 units in the United States. Considering that Taylor Hicks has not released any of the singles for radio play from the CD, and still he's generating these numbers speaks volumes regarding his fan base.

He's performed the first song off of the CD, "The RunAround" during his many recent television and live appearances promoting Taylor Hicks, the CD. In my opinion, this not such a stellar move, I'd think it would be of greater benefit to spread the music 'love' around, and mix it up more during the initial CD introductions, providing a more comprehensive view into the CD as a whole. Tracks that embody the Taylor Hicks' vibe that would provide deeper representation for the debut CD, "Heaven Knows", and "The Right Place", naming two, as well as Taylor Hicks' original tunes, "Soul Thing", "The Deal" and in the 'special' Wal-Mart issues, "Hell of a Day". You can listen to these tunes in their 'original form on this website, WBHM. I prefer the original sound of the tune, "Soul Thing", the re-mix replaces some of the 'soul' feel of the original version, melding into more of a funk piece. I prefer the soul vibe.

One of my favorite tracks, it just snuck up on me in the listening of the CD, I didn't intend to fall for it - but 'just got caught up in the maze'. This little tune has been discounted on a few fansites, titled, "The Maze" (scroll down to Top Albums, click it and the complete listing pops up including "The Maze"). Thrust into the center portion of Taylor Hicks' CD, this tune feels like a song Hicks' should turn some focus towards. The lyrics shout out radio friendly, but the contained vibe is soulful, it's a decently written mournful love tune. I could really dig hearing this piece coated with a touch of old-time John Lee Hooker style blues batter. Chorus lyrics flow:
    "I got in, but I can't get out that way.
    Baby you got me all caught up,
    You don't know what a maze you made.
    I got in a little deeper everyday,
    You know I don't wanna be found
    Runnin' around in a maze you made.

Compared to the lyrics in "The Runaround", the track he's been performing on all the recent television and live appearances - a sample:
    It's a whole new education
    I'm learning from you all the time
    There's no need for explanation
    Your examples do just fine
    I'm getting an A in Broken Hearts
    I got my degree in Crying

In my opinion, as is, "The Maze" is put together better, the music flows with Taylor Hicks' vocals into a natural groove. Infuse it with a more bluesy soul leaning and you've got a potentially great tune.

But what do I know? I did know from the moment I saw Taylor Hicks' audition during American Idol season 5 that he had what it took to do the deal. Intrinsically I felt the man had the heart and soul to take him to the top of that reality show. Taylor Hicks has always reminded me, for a reason I can't place my finger on it, of a boxer, a pugilist, like a Sugar Ray Leonard, with his heart and drive. Just like Sugar Ray came on the scene during a time boxing needed a new legend after the retirement of Muhammad Ali, the music scene is ripe for a real authentic new legend. Should Taylor Hicks remain true to his heart, true to his soul, he may just be the answer. Word to Mr. Hicks, don't let the suits give you the runaround, weave your own maze, make your own legend, the audience will follow.

Taylor Hicks' current tour dates:

Feb. 21: Jacksonville, Fla. (Florida Theatre)
Feb. 22: Tampa, Fla. (Tampa Theatre)
Feb. 23: Coral Springs, Fla. (Center For The Arts)
Feb. 24: Orlando, Fla. (Universal Studios)
Feb. 27: Mobile, Ala. (Mobile Civic Center)
March 2: Myrtle Beach, S.C. (House Of Blues)
March 3: Knoxville, Tenn. (Tennessee Theatre)
March 4: Asheville, N.C. (Orange Peel)
March 6: Huntsville, Ala. (Von Braun Center)
March 9: Atlanta (Tabernacle)
March 10: Birmingham, Ala. (Alabama Theatre)
March 25: Prior Lake, Minn. (Mystic Lake Casino)
March 27: Green Bay, Wis. (Weidner Center)
March 28: Milwaukee (Pabst Theater)
March 29: Chicago (House Of Blues)
March 31: Cleveland (House Of Blues)
April 3: Boston (Avalon)
April 6: Mashantucket, Conn. (Foxwoods Casino)
April 7: Westbury, N.Y. (North Fork Theatre at Westbury)
April 12: Lancaster, Penn. (American Music Theatre)
April 17: Baltimore (Rams Head Live!)
April 24: Columbus, Ohio (Lifestyle Communities Pavilion)
April 27: Kansas City, Mo. (Ameristar Hotel & Casino)

Groove on Soulman.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Revisiting the Taylor Hicks' Wierd Al Yankovich "Creep"

Reviewing some of my Taylor Hicks files last night as we rebuilt my computer - my dear sweet, patient man was sent on a mission to make it better, stronger, faster...

I came across the Wierd Al Yankovich "Do I Creep You Out" parody video. That brought to mind, as my largely A.D.D. mind is known to ramble and roam, to the version of the Radio Head song, "Creep" that Magni Asgierrson performed during Rock Star: Supernova. Since I've recently shared some of my favorite Magni moments on this blog I'll include this one as well. (Scroll down to see the previous posting with more music from The Iceman.) The man has a voice so full of passion, so beautiful, so real, I'm sure anyone into real music can appreciate this artist.

And... he's no "Creep":

Taylor Hicks has a distinctive natural vocal sound and possesses the ability to communicate emotions and passions, so does Magni. Talent such as this type of vocal caliber is a gift, cannot be manufactured, but it should be admired.

I hope those fans who have embraced Taylor Hicks can appreciate Magni Asgierrson's abilities and will enjoy his performance. Check out his myspace and hear "Blue Christmas". "Thank you very much."

In all things, especially music, you gotta find your groove.

Friday, December 22, 2006

New Music, Real Music the Complete Message, Right?

Granted this is a blog devoted to Taylor Hicks with much respect and adoration appropriately directed his direction. But, seriously since I am a fan of 'real music', and like Taylor's Official Blog Buddy, Gray Charles is prone to do, so might I.

This blog at this moment deviates away from the Taylor Hicks focus. Instead I'd like to introduce an artist that has completely impressed me, and impacted me, refreshing me in my love of rock and alternative rock music. You see, I have many music loves. I appreciate music in several genres, Rock 'n Roll, Blues, Jazz, and Soul. This man got my attention with his voice, his writing genius and his one-of-a-kind, loving personality. Big bonus - huge - the man can actually swing an axe (guitar) like a real rock star, not just stroke it with the mike off to look like he plays, and he possesses a voice that rivals Bono of U2. Magni Asgierrson is also a prolific writer, penning his own music and lyrics. He works some amazing acoustic songs, yet can when in the environment, outsing and outperform any well-known Rock Star out there. He took on Live's song, "I Alone" while competing on Rock Star: Supernova and solidly made Ed Kowalczyk's version seem anemic, lacking and weak.
Check out the improved Magni version here:

When you first hit the link to his site, don't be put off by the 'serial killer' countenance that will stare back at you. Magni's a sweet, kind loving man, who makes like my beloved dog, Cody, 'Big Bark, no Bite'. Being a Scandinavian (once removed) I understand his 'look'; it's all about the Viking thing (my predecessors hail from Sweden). Check out his myspace blog, Magni Asgierrson and give this absolutely talented man a few listens. For the Christmas holidays he's decided to take on The King and do my favorite Elvis Christmas song of all time, "Blue Christmas". Magni demonstrates his cheeky sense of humor and as you listen, what he intends is sort of a "Is it Elvis? Is it Magni?" tongue-in-cheek performance. The best version of this Elvis classic (besides Magni's - uh, hem) can be found on the stunning and enjoyable, my favorite Elvis album, "Tiger Man".

If "I Alone" may not be your cup 'o tea, check this Gorgeous performance:

And, if you have the time: "Clocks" (Coldplay):

Now tell me, he's better than the original, heh?

A stellar vocal performance can be found here:

Awaken your teen spirit:

Why do I feel like I'm cheating?

Real Music, Real Art Matters.
Merry Christmas.

Taylor Hicks, The Soulman to serve as Endymion's Grand Marshal

Taylor Hicks has been asked to serve as the Grand Marshal, of the city's largest Carnival group during the 2007 Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Endymion Captain Ed Muniz says on the Endymion website, "63.4 million people voted for Taylor as their American Idol. He will be a great ambassador to show America and the world that New Orleans is open to visitors. He is eager to be a part of our celebration, and we are excited to welcome him".

Giving credit to this famous Mardi Gras club, prior to the krewe's inception, in 1969, enthusiasm for the New Orleans Carnival was lagging and tourism dollars dwindling. By 1974 the Endymion Krewe had developed some of the largest floats ever assembled, and began the trend current now, in the Mardi Gras scene, glitzy, extravagant costumes, and the raining down of massive quantities of Mardi Gras 'loot', beads, trinkets and the like that all who attend the parades covet. I still have my bangles and beads collected in 2003! Known for bringing the glitz and glamour to Carnival the Endymion Krewe brings to the scene Nationally popular, current entertainers, as well as including local musicians in their line-up. This said, I think it's a fitting honor for Taylor Hicks to be invited to sit as Grand Marshal for this club. Similar to how the Endymion Krewe breathed new life back into Carnival for New Orleans, Taylor Hicks is working to breathe life and soul back into real music. Appropriate too, because afterall, Taylor's journey into National recognition began, in a way, in New Orleans. He was in the Crescent City to attend a wedding shortly before Hurrican Katrina struck the city, August 29, 2005. Airport and flight delays delivered a free plane ticket which he later used to fly to Las Vegas for the American Idol audition.

Delving into the mythology of Endymion, Taylor Hicks fans will love the story behind the krewe's namesake. It seems Endymion was, according to Greek mythology, the handsomest man. He has been named God of eternal youth and fertility. Some versions describe him as king, others as a shepherd. The moon goddess Selene, as the story goes, was so smitten with Endymion's beauty that she put him into a perpetual sleep so that she could kiss him whenever she wished. Apparently they created in the neighborhood of 50 daughters. Mythology, ever fun, never boring.

The Endymion Extravaganza will be held on February 17, 2007 at the Louisiana Superdome. Tickets are $150 per person and the attire is formal (black tie for men, floor-length evening dress for ladies). For tickets please contact Endymion via e-mail at tickets@endymion.org or call 504-736-0160.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Taylor Hicks Go-es Fishing, catches the Big Boogie

Taylor Hicks' latest media endeavor, GoFish.com, features in the latest videos a creative piece introduced by Boogie. The video plays in short-film speak, and is to date the most entertaining, creative, and just plain Soulfully infused inquiry-vid to date. Like the Beetles had the Yellow Submarine, Boogie pilots the Fushia multi-level bus and sends out some soul shivers with his "Leon Redbone"-esque voice-overs. Soul Patrol at its finest.

On the downside, the Libra within me must be satisfied, and so I bring to the forefront a comically entertaining piece. This endeavor is posted by a real dyed in the wanna-wool fan and self-proclaimed Soul Patroller, 'poetcindy'. Looking at this video, one thing I feel the need to point out - this submittee presents herself as a previous Taylor Hicks interviewer, and allows on the fact that she is a w-r-i-t-e-r, yet, she misspells "vieo" (video) and then carries on with 'Quetion' (Question) in the very opening of her 'take'. (My advice, just take a moment and spell check, Chica.) One other thing, she begins with direct questioning and comments then abruptly switches to third personage, replete with fan anthem spiced proclamations. W-r-i-t-e-r-s need to retain their common tense to stay true. Reaching into the psychological aspects of the video, let's think as humans, how weird, and perhaps surrealistic it might be to have a query video developed with, for the most part, images of your own face combined with screens containing writings displaying messages such as, "Lovingly we wait for him To make history". This video does include some very nice background tunage, "Heart and Soul", one of the stellar tracks from the CD.

I really thought GoFish.com would be completely inundated with video clips containing fan questions and commentaries and as of today, only six in the list. Watching and fishing.

Groove on Soulman.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Taylor Hicks Top 200 Billboard Ranking (early edition)

According to the early (so as yet, not quite official) Billboard reports, Taylor Hicks' post-American Idol self-titled CD will enter the top 200 charts at the Number two spot following its first week's release. (The Official Billboard charts will publish on Thursday.)

This is the top twelve as I am hearing it:
1 Young Jeezy Inspiration: THUG MOTIVATION
2 Taylor Hicks: TAYLOR HICKS
from spot #4 rising to #3 Miley Cyrus: HANNAH MONTANA SOUNDTRACK (my daughter's fave)
from spot #5 to #4 Various Artists: NOW 23
from #11 to #5 Josh Grobin: JOSH AWAKE
from #10 to #6 Carrie Underwood's: SOME HEARTS
#7 Chris Daughtry: DAUGHTRY
#8 Beatles: LOVE
#10 Il Divo: SIEMPRE
#11 Ciara: EVOLUTION

I'm "cheersing" Taylor Hicks on what looks to be a strong debut. Taylor Hicks has been quoted by 'Gray Charles' in the Taylor Hicks Official Blog as saying 'it's not about the numbers it's about the music'. Should this be the actual case, and Taylor Hicks has indeed said this, I interpret it as Taylor Hicks desiring to stress he places his art above profit.

Bottom line, one doesn't strive as long and as hard as Taylor Hicks has done to gain the center stage, to get his music heard to not desire the numbers reflect that his goal is being met and that he is succeeeding. Numbers on the charts are an indicator in the public sector that the message is being heard and what impact the music is actually having on the public regarding acceptance.

In this first week of sales, its obvious that the Taylor Hicks fans are sending out their positive message. Numbers do matter, numbers indicate that folks are listening, and numbers physically show that folks are out there willing to spend their time and monies to hear Taylor Hicks' sound, his music. The next test will surface during the following weeks. These numbers will attest to the strength in marketing the self-titled CD, and how the Taylor Hicks' fanbase will expand.

So far so good Taylor Hicks.
Groove on Soulman.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Taylor Hicks Walking that Green Mile

One of my long time Taylor Hicks friends e.mailed me looking for this clip, so I'm posting it. One of my favorites brought to youtube.com by AliceinTaylorland (thanks).

Yeah, baby, good times.

Groove on Soulman.

Taylor Hicks takes up Fishing

Taylor Hicks, has joined GoFish.com in a new and compelling adventure. For the next nine weeks fans can participate in a video question and answer exchange found here. Format stands, Taylor Hicks will review videos sent in by fans, listen to their questions, and provide answers for them. Fans unable to download videos (or perhaps too shy) can simply tune into GoFish and enjoy this voyeuristic opportunity.

Taylor Hicks demonstrates once again, loudly and clearly, that he understands what his fans want and once again, brilliantly is delivering. There should be a great deal of entertainment found in this format, viewing the videos by fans. The Soul Patrol members will be gearing up to shoot their videos for Taylor even more than before but the beauty of this opportunity, they can create a video directed to Taylor Hicks, like their very own interview.

Check out GoFish.com for the current volume of videos created of Taylor Hicks' performances,as well as the videos created 'dedicated' to him. (I mean, even Wierd Al Yankovic had to post his 'tribute' to Taylor in the recent past.) Being a new media move, it's bold, requiring some courage and tact on Taylor Hicks' part, handling the questions and videos by a variety of fans. I plan to check it and feature some of my favorites found off the site.

This GoFish venture as well as the fact that Taylor Hicks is utilizing the talents of blogger extraordinaire, known as "Gray Charles", a man whose Taylor Hicks blog last began January during the American Idol 2006 season, points towards Mr. Hicks' media savvy. Taylor Hicks once again rises head and shoulders above the rest of the Idols that have come before. Surely many in the ranks of the Soul Patrol will relish this opportunity.

'Fish on', Soulman.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Taylor Hicks and Friends, Christmas in Washington 2006

Taylor Hicks had a full day Wednesday, assisting Martha Stewart on her show creating Holiday wreaths and singing for the Nation and the President in the annual "Christmas in Washington 2006" special.

Taylor Hicks, exclaimed many times during his appearance on Martha Stewart, "I'm making a wreath with Martha!" Taylor was very charming and sweet, and created something I'd not ever seen happen on Martha Stewart; the man had Martha giddy as a schoolgirl. Taylor, ever the gentleman, brought Martha her very own harmonica and gave her an impromptu lesson, possibly in trade for the gracious wreath making moment shared with her.

Being on Martha Stewart was just a part of the Taylor Hicks on television experience yesterday. Taylor Hicks opened and closed the annual Christmas event, "Christmas in Washington". I'm thinking this year, a better, more fitting title to the show, "Taylor Hicks and Friends, Christmas in Washington 2006". Little Bianca Ryan, whom I wrote about earlier this year on blogcritics. org performed, as well as Il Divo, famed quartet from Spain, country music's Gretchen Wilson, the beautiful and talented Corinne Bailey Rae, and R&B young pizzazz man, Chris Brown.

Stepping off the topic of Taylor Hicks, I have to spend a paragraph of commentary on the hosts without the mosts of "Christmas in Washington 2006". I'd be remiss not to discuss the caliber and quality of the distraction that Dr. Phil and wife Robin McGraw contributed to this event. Creepy, an apt discriptor to describe the good "Doctor's" expressions (Botox?), or lack thereof, not to mention his twangy uber-Texan, wooden delivery. Wife Robin was somewhat of a saving grace, but Dr. Phil's hosting quality brought this 'event' a MAD TV-esque comedic quality. Initially I was annoyed by Dr. Phil, but after the first few minutes I could only gasp and laugh. He was hilarious in a role that seemingly wasn't intended to be humorous.

Returning to the topic of The Soulman, Taylor Hicks, the man looked suave, fit and professional. He entertained delivering three bluesy soulful Christmas numbers to include "Merry Christmas Baby" and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town", he then ended the show with a gorgeous rendition of "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear". My personal favorite of the evening.

(Thanks goes out to krunkgroovy and GoFish.)
With Mr. Hicks scoring four songs, he ranked the most singing time on this program, combined with his opening and closing the program gave it a feel of "A Taylor Hicks Christmas Special". I guess that will come next year... Fabulous performances by all on the show, but especially from our man, Taylor Hicks.

This is my best buddy and Taylor Hicks fan, Cody, wearing his Christmas best to watch the program with me.

Happy Holidays - and yeah, Groove on Soulman!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Taylor Hicks CD Review by Natalie Davis

In the event you've missed my friend, Natalie Davis' review of Taylor's CD that has been released today, December 12; click the title link. Absolutely articulate, thoughtful and completely on-target regarding The Soulman's post-Idol debut. Visit her radio site to hear some Taylor Hicks over your computer while you surf the Taylor Hicks' sites or do other on-line business.

Tune in and Turn on: Grateful Dread Radio.

My review to come later this week... ;)

Groove on Soulman.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Taylor Hicks, Charlie Brown Has Joined the Soul Patrol!

Apparently Taylor Hicks' tune, "Run Around" is destined to become a Soul Patrol favorite and headed towards the hit charts. Just in time for the holidays, Charlie Brown and gang join the Soul Patrol courtesy of the creative endeavors of 'junniperuscummunis' and youtube.com. Very clever and nicely done.

"A Charlie Brown Christmas" is my absolute favorite Christmas animation, I even own the CD given to me a few years ago by my loving daughter who knows her Momma's a child at heart.

I stumbled upon this clip while perusing the Gray Charles.com site. I was reading through the comments to Gray's feature, "Taylor Hicks is People, He's People". In what has become his trade-mark style, Gray Charles plays with words double hitting the magazine's title with a cult classic reference to highlight the recent article on Mr. Hicks in the current issue of People Magazine written by reporter Carrie Borzillo Vrenna.

Taylor Hicks, and this is an understatement, has been extremely busy this past year. Although the article puts emphasis on the value Taylor Hicks placed on being invited the the late great Ray Charles recording studio, being presented with a pair of cuff links previously owned by Ray, as well as the influence Ray Charles had, musically, on his life, it also indicates some nostalgia for simpler moments. Taylor Hicks, answering a question from a fan, mentions associating the smell of bacon with the leisure of breakfast at home, bacon frying up in a pan, and not much to do that day. While Taylor may have certain yearnings for those days of leisure, the man is thankful for the times at hand. Hopefully he'll have the gift of a few days off during the holiday season with someone preparing a homemade breakfast for him including bacon, while we fans enjoy the gift of his CD due out December 12.

Groove on Soulman.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Taylor Hicks Gives us the "Run Around"

Taylor Hicks shakes his 'thang' on Jay Leno, performing his new tune "Runaround" which you can find on his new CD due out in stores December 12. If you buy from Wal-Mart you'll get treated to some extra tracks not found on the CD sold elsewhere. One of my personal favorites, "Hell of a Day", one of the Wal-Mart special additions.

It's sweet how Leno tags him, "that's my boy!". It's obvious that Jay's a fan of Taylor Hicks. I'm liking this song now, initially my reaction was somewhat "meh", after I heard the short clip of it - but now, hey, it "do" grow on you!

Groove on Soulman.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Access Hollywood Interview with Taylor Hicks

Today is the first time I saw the Access Hollywood interview in which Taylor Hicks is asked about the statements he made to the reporter with Relix.com concerning 'distancing' himself from Idol. Regarding the article I put together and put out on blogcritics.org in which I voice my perception and thoughts regarding the "controversial" comments made by Taylor, I guess I was riding down the right tracks. I picked up this interview link from the Gray Charles.com site today so if you're like me and have not seen it (where have I been, in a cave?) check it out by hitting this blog's title link.

Taylor Hicks will be on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno tonight. Taylor's slated to be Jay's musical guest but possibly we'll see Tay have some 'couch' time so tune in. Word out we'll hear "Runaround", one of the new songs off the upcoming CD. From what I heard during the Christmas concert in New York, the more exposure this song gets the more benefit to The Soulman. I've got a link to the video on this site so check it out. I'm hoping by the time the CD hits the song has the same flair and fire as the live version.

Groove on Soulman.