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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Taylor Hicks and My Achy Breaky Heart

Taylor Hicks fans received an unexpected treat this past week when his new album, "The Distance", set to hit the market on March 10th, previewed on kol.com for a listening party. While I questioned why kol.com, a notably kid centric on-line venue for well, kid stuff, I surmised it was his American Idol ties that put him there. Certainly not many in the teeny bopper crowd who follow Demi Lavato, The Jonas Brothers (who have a new 3-D movie coming to a town near you) and Miley Cyrus would be into Taylor as an artist nor see him in concert.

Now I don't have a copy in my hand - of this new body of plastic - it's not easy finding details on-line about the lyrics or the musicians involved in each tune to comment of those intriguing bits of necessary ingredients for real review. Information pops up - information goes back. So what you get right now, today, dear readers, is simply a summation of initial good old gut reaction. For some it may be gut wrenching but remember I write with my tongue in my cheek, but yes, occasionally my red-haired roots get involved and that attached temper comes to the fore. You've been forewarned.

I sat and listened through every track on the CD, "The Distance". I invited my man and then later, a few friends, Guy, Frank and Pete, to hear what Mr. Hicks had to bring to the music table this time around - to gain a 'balanced' opinion. Balanced in so far as our little ensemble is able; imagine five clowns on a unicycle. Like that.

Consensus reached: the songs, "The Distance", "What's Right Is Right", "New Found Freedom", and "Nineteen" all on about the same level. Tunes with inspirational undertones composed of similar emotion and thought process. Very Americana in feel and theory. "New Found Freedom" has an especially "Up With People" vibe, two of my sick and twisted pals orchestrated a special arms waving dance to that tune.

"Nineteen", is a tear-jerker with sentiment expressed in story-telling country angst including a subtle country accent delivered by Mr. Hicks. This song concerns the troops in Iraq, war message laments the loss of those paying the ultimate sacrifice. These first four tracks hang out well together. Main criticism, Mr. Hicks' vocals while sounding good - the guy can sing, in his range, hold a similarity in the way each tune is vocally delivered.

Following those four Americana Moments, the CD dives South of the border, or perhaps simply into South Texas. "Once Upon a Lover of Mine" carries a Latin flair with a salsa beat, but it lacks the Latin pronunciations. Mr. Hicks says "Senorita" just like most 'gringos' without that rolling 'r'. While this song has the beat, it lacks the believability. Maybe a Ricky Martin accent would have helped. (I kid, I kid.) If there would have been castanets and a guy loaded on tequila doing a grito it would have been perfect as background for the local El Chico. I know this sounds in opposition with what I've written but I sort of enjoyed this tune and not in the 'Gee wouldn't cheese enchiladas hit the spot right now' kind of way.

Leaving Mexico the listener heads North of the border or if you're in Dallas, Texas, due East with the tune, "Seven Mile Breakdown". This tune found all in our group united, even Darling Man. Consensus held, one of the best songs heard so far on the CD; the guys had to dive into their Spoonful of James' (Wynn Christian) man-love moments. Long live Austin, Texas.

"Maybe You Should" brought mixed results for our little listening party. The song is a more subdued offering, appealed more to my female tastes than to the guys, one of whom excused himself saying he had to go grab some coffee soon after it began. I'd like to listen to this one a few more times and come March 10th I will be able to do just that; it's an intriguing little mournful tune.

Then it happened. Reality stepped in my face and Taylor Hicks broke my achy breaky heart. "Keeping It Real", in a complete twist of mullet-haired irony lifted note for note that Billy Ray Cyrus hit, "Achy Breaky Heart". We all sat for a moment looking at one another. Dumbfounded. Frank laughed, Guy joined him, Darling Man declared, well that is the clincher, "He's now known to me as Taylor Hacks". (ouch) Frank had to put on Cyrus' Youtube and they all danced around the desks two-stepping. It was funny yet mildly horrific. Guy pulled out a few internet articles about other artists who had done similar things on their albums, borrowed a guitar riff here, a lyric chain there, to the tune of Not Good in the legal beagle field. I commented perhaps Mr. Hicks had permission to use that tune. It is entirely possible. Possible but still, man, "Achy Breaky Heart"? Are you kidding me?

"I Live on a Battlefield" brought me some solace, it is a good tune, but the vocals were reminiscent of what we heard in the first four songs. Plus, I was still smarting over the achy breaky tune. "Wedding Day Blues" holds a bluegrass vibe, catchy but could have used a more sly treatment, vocally; would have provided it much more character.

"Woman's Got to Have It" one of my favorites from this CD has Taylor and Elliot Yamin in a soulful duet, carrying a decided Motown feel. This tune moves and grooves along just what a listener might expect from a combination of Elliot and Taylor Hicks. My guypals liked it as well but they still couldn't get past that achy breaky moment. I had to keep yelling at them to shut off Cyrus and sit down.

Taylor Hicks' song delivery in much of this CD ("Seven Mile Breakdown" and "Woman's Got to Have It" excluded) as well as in that Idol CD remind me of folks who are not use to public speaking or reading off a teleprompter. Oftentimes there's a lack of real phrasing, an over pronouncing of his words, I heard this on the Idol CD as well. Hicks will deliver this straight forward singing style that loses some of the soul and heart of the song. It's like something strange happens to him in that studio sound booth. Governor Bobby Jindal and his Republican address to the President's speech to Congress the other night comes to mind.

I realize some of Taylor's older fans like that sort of thing, they want to hear every single word clearly. I'm not intending to insult those fans, but I find mystery in the tunes, the unique phrasing brought to the song as important as the forced mystery of the man's persona. The over simplification of the lyrical delivery being broken down to proper enunciation at all times smacks of some sort of Speech class erudition. It's like that speaker who, when he's in a room full of other people, everyone talking, is funny, charming, well-spoken; put that charming person up on a podium - all composure departs. They stand there robotically reciting their lines with a mannequin face.

I'm still smarting from that Billy Ray song, I admit I got worked up over it. I erupted into a volcanic fit over the ideology of plagiarism to the point of packing up my box of crayons and going home. I was not in the mood to play with anyone anymore that day. Or the next. I realize Mr. Hicks owes me nada, zilch, it's not my place to throw myself screaming, face down on the carpet in a tantrum over that random irony of "Keeping it Real" to the tune of another guy's mullet-haired hit. That still doesn't offset my carpet burns across my nose for doing exactly that.

It's not my place either, to demean anyone else seriously in need of a writing class for receiving a copy of this CD to review first over anyone else. The poor gal may lack some very basic skills, and is unable to realize the proper times to use words such as 'then' and 'than', 'to' and 'too' and 'by' and 'buy'. It was not envy that made me speak up over her caveat, rather yet another random act of intrinsic irony that often circles around this man's career. Hell, why would I even expect to receive a copy to review? I'm just a blogger, not a writer like that dear lady.

I'll end this post today by adding I hate and despise plagiarism. Taking music, lyrics to create your own work not a "Taylor-Smart" move like I've been reading said on some of the fan sites. This is not brilliant marketing.

That said, we may discover at a later date, Billy Ray gave Hicks his blessing to use the tune. But still, "Achy Breaky Heart"? Seriously? What's next Mr. Hicks, a gray mullet?

Billy Ray Cyrus strutting his stuff: Achy Breaky Heart

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Adam Lambert FTW

Watching Idol last night, trying to fend off one helluva cold, Darling Man and I resorted to taking shots of my Uncle Jack (Daniels). Every time one of the contestants hit a bum note, we hit the shot glass. Last night was one craptacular spectacle after the other, so wasn't surprised to find ourselves completely swimming by the end of the show and half a bottle down. It was a good thing to have the phone already programmed.

According to Dial Idol this guy received the most votes. Sadly, even though we voted like the mad and loaded beasts we were last night, Nick Normund may be fighting to get a Wild Card spot.

Professor Chan had, hands down, the best review of last night's show. Hit HERE to read. It will be completely worth the 15 minutes.

Likely to make it through, Adam Lambert, Matt Giraud, Allison Iraheta.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Taylor Hicks Goes "The Distance"

Click title to give a listen to Taylor Hicks' new CD, "The Distance". Available March 10. I'll have to give it a listen a few times before I comment on this new offering.
This tune is on the CD: "Seven Mile Breakdown"

video c/o lh1100
One note, his tune, "Keeping it Real", musically, sounds incredibly like this song.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Shadow Man

...in the shadows he must always stand. Waiting and watching, but not allowed to come near for fear, for knowing, that what will happen will change everything. He's not of this time, this era, and she can not be anyplace but in the now. He's a hunter, a gatherer, a traveler from another time.

The rain falls constant - does it ever stop? He looks at his timepiece.

an exerpt from one of my latest...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Dave Grohl - Magic - Relentless

Dave Grohl, and Foofighters - this acoustic piece shows the court jester(s) in serious form.

Some folks go on that long road to ruin. Others rise up, make the best of what there is and take wings and fly.

Ah having some Dave love again tonight, fighting some "Foo".
"A heavy cross you bear
A stubborn heart remains unchanged
No home, no life, no love
No stranger singing in your name."

Friday, February 20, 2009

Taylor Hicks, Dating and Grease

Taylor Hicks thanks the folks (without the Soul Patrol shout out) who took the time to vote on the "Live with Regis and Kelly" dating game to have Julie hit the top three. Now it's already been talked about that Julie and her Mom were and are fans of Mr. Hicks from his Idol days, so not going to go further into that topic. I will say I thought Julie was witty, smart and took all the camera face time in stride.

Naturally I was thrilled they did the karaoke gig since I'd mentioned hoping for that on another site. Of course, think, Taylor Hicks, combined with Julie Courtney also a musician and karaoke... not a big stretch. After all Danny Boome cooked for his date, therefore Hicks should sing to his date. It's like simple math or something.
Taylor Hicks Takes a Date: Julie Courtney

Now Julie lives in San Francisco, CA, one of my favorite cities on this planet. Someone asked me if she was also that gal rumored in Hicks' past from a little town in Texas. I have no idea of course about that, Julie is not an uncommon name.

Another topic, on the Taylor Hicks radar, he's apparently signed on for another run with that national tour of "Grease" - obviously this show is selling well or it would not be carrying on longer than originally announced. Word on Variety.com he's in for the 2009 - 2010 season. Now what has many in the Hicks' fan base slightly riled up is the 2010 part. Is this to mean that Mr. Hicks will be singing "Beauty School Drop Out" this time next year? Is that really such a bad thing as long as Mr. Hicks is able to stay on the move and gain this very positive press and attention he's been attracting?

Remember Taylor Hicks new CD "The Distance" drops on March 10.
"Keep On Keepin On"

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Taylor Hicks Dating on Regis, It's Cheesy Fun

Taylor Hicks made his "Dating with the Stars" appearance this morning on the Regis and Kelly Show. In that link, an interview with Hicks talking about his upcoming show appearance and what his thoughts might be about this date venture. I'm wondering if Bill will be around?

I'd been pulling for San Franciscan Julie since this silly contest started. Although I was saddened that Stephanie did not wear her tiara, and it would have been slightly funny to have Hicks hang out with one of his biggest Soul Patrol fans, I am relieved he made the right call.
Regis and Kelly Taylor Hicks Asks the Questions That Matter

Questions like, what would you bring to a desert island? Yeah, original material there. Steph would bring a sax, but whether she plays it we don't know. Julie on the other hand says 'guitar' as in 'pick'. Emily would bring a notebook to write her thoughts. What?

Julie's obviously winning answer, her language of love, muah, muah, muah, muah muah, muah, muah. Exactly. Tonight Mr. Hicks and Julie go out on a date, results air tomorrow morning. I guess I will watch one more episode of Regis and Kelly. C'mon Julie, go get him tiger!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lady Sings the Blues: Alexis Grace

Alexis Grace. Lady can sing. Can't find a decent youtube yet with her in action, just the still shots. She's absolutely amazing. Idol may have found some real talent in this gal. I'm completely digging her. She reminds me of a young Dolly Parton (without all that hair) crossed with Marcia Ball. Not a bad combo.
Alexis Grace

Better Audio.
Marcia Ball.

"Jolene" Dolly Parton (with all that hair and a whack purple jumpsuit)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

"What's Right is Right" and What's Right With it

Last night I wrote up a post about this video, included my complaints and observations that may have, for some readers, leaned to the negative side. Today I'll lean toward the opposite direction and go for what I actually like about it.

For one thing, I'm tickled pink there finally is a Taylor Hicks' music video. We fans have waited a long while for such a thing to come to be and now it has. (Rousing shouts of "Yippee" all around.)

For another, Taylor Hicks incorporated a young, artistic videographer, Jake Davis, to design and shoot this work. Mr. Davis has done an admirable job with handling wardrobe, location, lighting, tone. Having to shoot the video in Chicago he used elements that were available, the snow works very well to show Taylor as a man walking a rather lonely and somber path.

There had been a call for extras for this video and a young actress utilized as a love interest. Watching the video I really did not see the need for extras - from what I understand not many showed in the pre-blizzard bitter cold conditions. Jake instead then used the out of focus lighting technique as a way to fill space and also create mood. He captures Mr. Hicks with a film noir approach, a throw back feel to another time in the past. Utilizing what seems to be a film speed that incorporates a grainier texture along with a sepia type tone set the video into a step back in time feel. Outside color beyond the grays and amber tones have been kept to a minimum lending to the video's artistic cohesiveness.

Taylor Hicks is in very fine voice in the video. He sounds absolutely brilliant, this song grooves along much better for me after having seen him enact it live, well live as much as film can get. The song takes on a life with the amber toned lighting and angles, the light effects Mr. Hicks is cast within to communicate a sense of loneliness, giving Taylor a haunting appeal.

This tone is further set in how the scenes with Mr. Hicks are framed with Taylor's screen time predominantly evidenced with his profile emerging in outline, rare are the shots of his face without the light flares and side lighting. Even the scenes shot with the band on stage with Mr. Hicks, members remain engulfed in smokey shadows and the viewer left with that impression that even thought he's on stage with other performers he's inherently alone. I love the use of that large retro microphone, love the side lighting effects and all those 'bubble' light shots of the out of focus orbs following Taylor from the diner to the bar.

There's certain aspects I'd like to have seen done differently but overall there's more right about this video than there is wrong.
"What's Right is Right"

"What's Right Is Right" Taylor Hicks Music Video and What's Wrong With It

Taylor Hicks has released a spanking new music video created by Jake Davis, a lovely young guy with an affinity for clothing. Reading his blog you can learn more about what to wear than what not to.

This brand new Taylor Hicks Video is featuring his new single that is being sent out to the radio wave markets titled, "What's Right is Right". Thing is, after viewing this video, the only thing I am finding right about it is the lighting effects and the vocals, Mr Hicks is in fine voice. Love the bubble-lights and the sepia tone. Love the wardrobe; Mr. Hicks is wearing a very sexy peacoat type jacket and a great suit. Regarding story telling, much is lacking in this first video offering by Mr. Hicks from Jake Davis.

Watching Jake Davis' take on Taylor Hicks, while being visually appealing - and Mr. Hicks is certainly well attired as fits Mr. Davis' love of fashion - the story behind the lyrics of this song are sorely lacking. What I am seeing is a flash glimmer of the meaning of the song, most emphasis being spent on appearance not the message.

Now I know many fans are going to scream, "oh the lyrics are to be interpreted not taken literally!".

My response, in a song like this one, there is little room for interpretation. It's an "out there" song. It's lyrically impossible to misconstrue this song, there are no hidden meanings, it's not "White Rabbit" for heaven's sake. This is a song about a man to a woman, or at least a loved one, saying he will be there no matter what and throughout time.

What this video does not relate to is any sort of love. Let's not even think any sort of sexuality inherent that this song implies. Investigating, lyrically, the song has this line,
I don't wanna go a single night without you. I don't wanna know what an empty bed is like. When you laugh I'm laughing. When you cry I'm crying.
and carries on with:
I don't wanna go a single night without you. I don't wanna know what an empty bed is like. When you laugh im laughing. When you cry im crying.

So, obviously this a soul song between lovers. Thing that stands out is this video has a complete lack of heterosexual sexiness. Now some borderline inference face over shots are shown of a young lady with red lipstick flashing over the scene, but she's never incorporated in proximity with Mr. Hicks. Certainly there are no love scenes much less any kissing scenes in this video. It ends with a "maybe" back glance but the characters, Taylor and this unnamed lady are seemingly a mile apart. Importantly, with a song that is pegged as a Soul Music Song there is not one iota of seeming sexual tension. It is as asexual as a gelded stallion. Nothing of great attraction and I must say does nothing for the rumors that lately have assailed Taylor Hicks regarding his sexual orientation. I will say for the vocal treatment and the lighting, I like this video. What I don't like is the waste of potential that could have been created with this song, for Taylor Hicks regarding marketing.

Sorry about the ad, but it is for a good cause. Go forth get ye an education.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

"Whomp at the Warfield" We Must be Pirates

This item has been discontinued by the manufacturer.

Those the words on the amazon.com site when those seeking to purchase this umpteenth-time-promised video go to check on it. Now for those fans who have pre-purchased this CD, according to what I've been reading, they've received messages from amazon that they will receive their copy. (At least for now that's what they're told.) For those fans who were waiting for the actual proposed release date - they're just SOL, at least for the time being.

Taylor Hicks concert footage shot in San Francisco, titled, "Whomp at the Warfield", was initially viewed on the HDNet Concert Series back in October of 2007. This concert series also offers the viewer an opportunity to purchase the concert programs featured, through amazon.com.

The current collection of artists and bands in this line-up show a great list of shows to catch that I'm programming into the Tivo include the uber fab Ben Harper, John Mayer, Jack Johnson (March 1), Eric Johnson, Wyclef Jean, Bon Jovi and John Mellencamp (today). Accompanying their concert listing, also a link to many of them on the HDNet site to allow purchase of the concerts from amazon.com.

Taylor Hicks' "Whomp at the Warfield" hit the network in October of 2007. Yet, years later and how many promises that this video, to include an interview with Mr. Hicks, is once again pulled from the shelves. It confounds me what Taylor Hicks' camp of advisers or management think when they put a product up for sale, dangle it before their public's eyes and then repeatedly snatch it back. Is this some sort of 'keep the mystery alive' fantasy angle? I kid, but truly it is confusing as to the "why" behind the continual pulling of this DVD, and Mr. Hicks still yet to capitalize on the benefits of having that video available for public purchase. Even Jessica Simpson has her reality video available to her fans, and she's 'pegged' as a 'dumb blonde'.

Googling the links for this elusive DVD, CD Universe, has it up but of course, no image available, the site reads, "Our Price: $17.55 DVD For Sale Backordered since 11/15/2008". Backordered since when? Hitting the Yahoo.movies.com site takes one into Netflicks and Block Buster Video. What a waste.

In my on-line quest for more on this fantasy video named, "Whomp at the Warfield", I discovered some interesting commentary that bears inclusion in this post. One loyal fan prematurely and optimistically wrote, "One thing we do know is soon the DVD release of “Whomp at the Warfield” will be out for us to purchase and we will able to watch Taylor in concert whenever we feel like it.

I can’t wait to get the DVD pop it in the player and sit in my recliner (if my husband doesn’t grab the chair first) and watch Taylor singing and dancing and entertaining the audience."

This was wistfully written by her back on a Sunday, October 21, 2007. She's been waiting to fight her husband for that La-Z-Boy for a long while now.

She may have an even longer wait as on Overstock.com "Whomp at the Warfield" isn't due out until 2037. Man, that's 28 year's worth of suspense over a DVD. By then, man we likely won't even have DVD players as we know them. If you doubt what I'm saying just wander over to Overstock.com and see for yourself. It's worth a giggle or two anyway.

Reading through the amazon.com commentaries I can't help but think what some of these ardent and loyal fans might be thinking after their writing such glowing praise for this DVD that may never be.

"Worth the Wait!, November 29, 2008" That title of this review made me chuckle, because this dear soul had no idea what she was really alluding to at that time. She wrote under her title,
"A friend copied the HDNet video for me, but I've still ordered the official release!"
Yes, she did not want to be guilty of purely pirating this work from her Idol. She carried on with, "Until we can get to another concert, "Whomp At the Warfield" will do just fine! Great to see Taylor in action, and it was fun to see the teens react to him and his awesome band. They loved the DVD and you will too!

I like how she's incorporating 'teens' you know that's the rage right now for those street-teamers for Hicks, rally on that the younger kids dig him too. Makes him more youthful, you see.

Then there was this, "Blues, Funk, Rock All Here! Awesome Collection!, November 10, 2008"
By one of the more fanatical of Taylor Hicks' fans, I was completely entertained by this lady from California and her ardent attempts to denigrate any other Idol contestant and fully praise and uplift Mr. Hicks. Don't ever expect anything out of this gal but a true meaning behind the "Patrol" aspect of Soul Patrol - she takes it literally.
"I'm not sure what video "Cassie" saw, but 'Badge' and 'Nekkid in the Jungle' were *SMOKING HOT* awesome covers!!!!!!! My gosh girl, you better check your pulse because it was two of the hottest performances I've ever seen! "The Fall", a Hicks original, is a beautiful song - very poignant and definitely one of the highlights of the performance!
This is a GREAT collection which made for one high energy show! I highly recommend this video to all blues/funk/rock fans out there!"

She was responding to this post by another desiring to contribute her thoughts on the mysterious offering.

"Whooppee! After more than a year of promises! The Whomp DVD is finally released.
Really glad that a lot of fans finally have the opportunity to buy this oldie-but-goodie.
I've seen Taylor live at least a dozen times. Some good stuff on this DVD, but don't rush out to waste your money.
Lots of negatives on this release: My Friend (an upbeat but boring orig), The Fall (a very boring orig), Badge (lousy cover), Naked in the Jungle (WTF?)."

She was at least trying to keep in real in pointing out the time-line. Sadly she wrote that in the Fall of 2008.

A more current optimistic fan trying to help Taylor Hicks out wrote,
"He & his fabulous band feed off one another for some rousing renditions of both his originals and some covers. Extra punch from solos by the band members and Taylor tagging great classics into the main song. I'm excited to finally get this and his sophomore CD, which releases the same month.

Oh woe, alas not to be it seems. Although his new CD is still set to release on March 10th and he does have that music video set to debut - created by Jake Davis, featuring the song, "What's Right is Right" on February 17th. Perhaps "Whomp" was stopped so as to not compete with "What's Right is Right"? Now that's just silly. Comparing those apples to oranges, or at least tangerines to oranges.

For those 'Pirates' reading this post, Whomp on over to this site for your Bootleg copy of the DVD pulled off of Amazon.com. Ahoy Mateys time to Mutiny!
"I Can't Get No Satisfaction"

video created by thisshallbetheday

Friday, February 13, 2009

"Please Me Like You Want To"

Love this song.

Taylor Hicks Goes to Disneyland and Love is in the Air...

Okay, perhaps not Disneyland, rather the Florida version, Disney World. Too, Taylor finds himself perched on the precipice of True Love. The life of an entertainer is a busy one and this past Thursday Taylor Hicks joined six other past Idol winners on parade Thursday night for the opening of the Disney attraction, "American Idol". Finally after eight seasons, Mickey, and Minnie Mouse capitalize on honor the reality show. Gosh almost makes it seem as if perhaps this show is nearing the end of its run, an exhibit of sorts in memory of a program famous for stomping the ratings for any other show sharing its time slots.

Finishing his parade day duties in the land of Walt, Mr. Hicks will jet up to New York City to experience his very own Dating game on Live with Regis and Kelly He's entered a contest this next week in a segment called, "Dating With the Stars". A little late for Valentines Day but hey, better late than never. Besides, Valentines Day just a tad over commercialized overrated.

Taylor states in his show bio that he's desiring, "...a free spirited career-minded gal who can be serious during the week but can cut loose on the weekends." (I've already covered in another post.) In other words, nothing serious for our Teen Angel, plus he certainly doesn't want to be your Sugar Daddy; contestants and potential love interests best come equipped with a life and a career, but be ready to kick it up on the weekends.

Of the contestants selected for the at-home folks to hit with votes, these lovelies have made it to the Top Three. That will bring them to the Regis and Kelly Show for a chance to win a date, as well as national television exposure alongside Taylor Hicks.

First up, there's blonde ambition, Ms. Julie Courtney. She's a 31 year old Real Estate Consultant out of one of my favorite cities, San Francisco. She reminds me of someone...just can't place who right now... Oh yeah, she also sings. Julie's MySpazz.

Speaking of California, there was another entertainer, actor, a celebrity turned state Governator who played a similar game back in the day...

Leaving California, the next contestant is from clear across the continent, already equipped with a tiara, fitting for a possible new role of 'Queen of the Soul Patrol'! Now, I've actually known gals who for fun, will wear one of these head sparklers out on the town just to be sparkly and shiny different, but something tells me, yes I'm perceptive like that, this lady possibly a past beauty queen contestant...or it was just her birthday... She's 27 years old and hails from Brandon, Florida. Most likely she does not prance around in a tiara full-time (well, you never know) as she's employed as an "Office Manager" although we're not enlightened as to what kind of office she's the manager of or which company. Could be an Office Depot for all we know. Her name is Stephanie Hlad.

Next up for the honor of a limo ride about The Big Apple, another 27 year old, also from the East coast, out of Washington, DC. Her current career is listed as "Online Campaign Coordinator". Interesting, since having someone to efficiently coordinate Taylor Hicks' on-line world would be a very good thing. She has a brilliant smile, very cute with a 'girl-next-door' appeal. Her name is as cute as her smile; Emily Stivers.

Since we know no more than their smiles, present hair color, tiaras and occupations as listed, it would really be impossible to prognosticate the winner of that date with Taylor Hicks. I am so hoping Stephanie will wear that tiara, they are so underused.
Celebrating Valentines Day, "Have You Ever Loved a Woman" Eric Clapton.

Video c/o chrisbekas

Whomp, don't run for your Bootleg copy of the DVD pulled off of Amazon.com.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Legend of Nick Mitchell Continues

Nick makes it to the Top 36. The Gods of music and comedy smile upon him. In honor of Nick/Normund/Norman Mitchell and all those freaking hits, IDOL BLUES gives you:
Radar Love

Might actually be a good season of American Idol this year.

Taylor, give me a "Carol Burnett" on your next appearance. LOL

Taylor Hicks, Bo Bice, Jason Castro and Sanjaya! Oh My!

The American Idol Attraction at Disney World, Orlando, Florida, is throwing its Grand Opening this weekend. Much fanfare to ensue as members of note creating the show behind this attraction, such as Simon Fuller and cast mates, Paula Abdul and Ryan Seacrest make the parade on February 12th. You won't be seeing Simon Cowell, apparently in London overseeing yet another one of his many shows, and Randy won't be representing the Dawg House. Who knows where he is. Almost forgot, no Kara either.

Featured cast aiding in the promotion of this new Disney feature, past winners Jordin Sparks, David Cook, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood, and of course, my Mack Daddy, Taylor Hicks. Funtastically exciting for me - past IDOL BLUES subjects, Sanjaya Malakar and Jason Castro will be there waving to the crowd. Also on parade, beautiful Bo Bice, accompanied by Bucky Covington, Diane DeGarmo, Melinda (got new record out) Doolittle, Josh Gracin, Justin Guarini, Michael Johns, LaKisha Jones, Kimberley Locke, Mandisa, Syesha, Chris Cligh, Carly Smithson, Phil Stacey, Brooke White, and Ace Young. Noticeably absent, Chris Daughtry. Must be touring obligations or... something.

Obviously this is working in many directions regarding promotions. Everyone in attendance to receive some attention, the show gaining publicity and of course Disney's banking on making even more cash. Anyone holding Disney stock these days?
The Money Song - Mary Poppings/(1:09)Monty Python

video brilliantly created by Imaspongeyperson

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Legend of Nick/Norman/Normund Mitchell Continues Tonight

Who loves Nick Mitchell? According to last week's post on the guy, hundreds of people love Nick Mitchell.
Nick Mitchell interview:

"Soul music with a band!"

Monday, February 09, 2009

A Few of The Artists Inhabiting this Year's Grammys

The Grammys aired last night and I missed out, but there's the internet and the good ol' Youtube network. I went exploring and found a few videos to share. These are not from the Grammy's just videos capturing a few of the artists bringing some great music to the show.

Yellow tape time://*Caution Fangurl Moment*//

You know how couples will talk about 'other people' outside the relationship (normally some kind of celebrity or sports hero) they have a 'pass' on. 'Pass', meaning that should you be fortunate to meet this person and somehow Lady Luck smiles prettily at you, somehow the situation changes, the potential arises for an adult interlude. (In my wildest...) This guy's one of my 'Passes'. He's so very everything on so many levels.
"Tiny Dancer" Dave Grohl

There goes my hero...

This was a terrific nod toward real music: Rock Instrumental Performance: "Peaches En Regalia" - Zappa Plays Zappa
Pure brilliance.

One of my favorites from the multi-honor winning Robert Plant and Alison Kraus compilation. Just really interesting how great Plant's tunes translate to this type of sound.
"In the Mood"

"Say" John Mayer

No matter what HollyWierdness John's caught up with in his real life, he's brilliant as a writer, singer, musician.
Coldplay "The Scientist"

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Looking Back to the Future: the American Idol Taylor Hicks

Last night, I was sitting up listening to music after the family had wandered off to bed. I got on the computer to hit Youtube for a while as well. Something that one of the posters over at "It's all Grey" wrote about Taylor Hicks' came back to me. This poster had said they did not consider Mr. Hicks proficient at performing ballad type tunes.

There's also been talk, ad nauseam, over his career choices, his win on that show, his inability to make all of it work in the real world. If you, dear reader, have about a half hour to spend, return to 2006 and Mr. Hicks' fearless and brazen run on American Idol. It might change your mind whether Mr. Hicks can truly go The Distance.

This particular song, out of Taylor Hicks' American Idol season five performances remains one of my favorites. It was Elvis week and I'd been blogging for Mr. Hicks to do "In the Ghetto". Being completely involved at that time in the American Idol boards there was a group of us going back and forth about song choices for that week. "In the Ghetto" remained my top pick and I was completely thrilled when he selected it. Yes, it's all about the small things.

This tune got him actual praise from Simon Cowell which was a rarity for Hicks while he was on the show. Mr. Hicks left the schtick he'd been working pretty regularly on the show behind and just sang the tune. To me, it was one of his finest moments on the show.

Mr. Hicks takes the song and modernizes it, he gave it a jazzy, blues nuance, changed the tempo in a way that worked so well.

One other topic covered multiple times, Taylor Hicks and his continued "Soul Patrol" shout outs he became so known for on Idol. Many of his fans think after three and a half years he shouldn't keep doing that shout out in every interview, at every performance. From what I've seen of the guy lately, he has toned it down. I think one reason he is reluctant to ever give it up entirely is out of respect for the following he had from that show; to remember how he's gotten to where he is now.
"Dancing in the Dark" Taylor Hicks does Bruce Springsteen

This performance came after that Taylor Hicks' Saturday Night Live parody aired.
"You Send Me" Taylor Hicks does Sam Cook via Rod Stewart

The way Mr. Hicks' ends this tune, that look in his eye, sums up why he won this competition, and why he's not one to give up on his dreams. This man possesses a completely identifiable and unique voice. Paula's commentary may have stayed with him, she says "you are finally in that zone to go the distance." Taylor Hicks' new album coming out in about a month is titled just that, "The Distance".

Who could ever forget that purple jacket?
"Living for the City" Taylor Hicks does Stevie Wonder

The house was popping. Not his best performance, vocally with the nah nah nahs but I loved the velvet jacket. The audience absolutely loved him. I was so nuts I had four phones going for the guy. Insane, right? ha.

Talk about selling a song, Taylor Hicks took it to the Streets.

Something about that performance was sufficient to get me out buying Go Phones. Maybe it was that dancing. Or the Bunny suit. Something.

Another performance that shows how to win this show:
Taylor Hicks rocks the Jailhouse:

I really enjoyed looking back, remembering the guy that completely captured my imagination and admiration while he kicked some serious television ass in 2006. I'm looking forward to the future and what it might hold for him. Thanks to a fan we have one of the new tunes off of Taylor Hicks' upcoming album, The Distance.
"What's Right is Right" Taylor Hicks' montage.

Thanks to everyone who put up the Taylor Hicks Youtubes.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Man, I Love This Kind of Lonely

When you get sick of the faux shit passed off as real music, plastic mannequins standing in for the real of what it is to send a message in music... this man can gain you feel of reality.

Everlast, "This Kind of Lonely"

I just wish the vids were a bit better.

"White Trash Beautiful" Everlast

Man, he is so sweet.

THIS is what GRAMMY looks like: Talk about some brass ones - Everlast -
"Put Your Lights On" Everlast

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

American Idol - Hollywood Week with Nick "Norman Gentle" Mitchell - and friends

I read someone describing him as the love child result of Richard Simmons having one drunken night of heterosexuality. *giggle*

Will post a Youtube of last night's when one available. This guy is a kick, needs his own show.

Certainly Idol is more entertaining with him around. To read what other "fans" have said about him click HERE.

He was my favorite last night. NO, I'm not saying he was the best singer. I'm saying he was my favorite. Getting tired already of Gokey and his deceased wife story. True it's a sad thing, but nothing to define yourself for the rest of the time you are on Idol. Certainly gives him a one-up with some of the gullible viewers out there still thinking this show is real. Lil Rounds sang okay, not as great as the judges gushed, but well, she's one of the TCOs this season, good for her. Who I think may be one of the most unstable, Nathaniel Marshall, he gets into the top 36. Why do I call this kid 'unstable'? You'd have had to catch his telling the judges that 'this just is in his skin'. Yes, I'm mean.
Filmed by someone who caught him practicing at the airport.

As for Nick/Norman, doubt he'll make it much further which makes me sad. Top 36 list already out and unless his name's actually Nick Western, he's not on it.

ETA according to mjsbigblog he does hit the Top 36! Could the Worster list be wrong?

Tonight is group night and hope it's better than last night. Perhaps we'll see Adam Lambert do his thing - he's the one to watch.

For a complete minute by minute entertaining play by play hit Jim Cantiello's blog; I'm certainly not going to do it. Seriously, though, Jim's good.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Jason Castro, He's on Second, I'm in the Outfield

The other evening the television was on - my youngest kiddo grabbed my attention away from my book I was reading to point out to me, "Look! Jason Castro's on a commercial!". I had seen commercial spots with the group of folks promoting "I am Second", a Christian theology organization during which Castro had a few seconds worth of face time, but this particular commercial was all Jason.

I grabbed the laptop to check out the iamsecond.com website to give it a look, it's a phrase I've been seeing splashed on billboards in and around Dallas. Fitting I guess, Jason Castro, with his outspoken religious affiliation is selected to have a spot of his own.

This 'I am Second' group is Plano-based e3 Partners Ministry. The group's goal in establishing this multimillion-dollar media campaign is to promote God as the source of a shared, purposeful life. The initiative backed by the well–funded Christian organization is planned for a three year campaign. So far it has been attracting, besides Jason Castro, professional athletes, other Hollywood celebrities as well as over a couple of hundred thousand Web site hits from around the globe.

Nathan Sheets, a VP of e3 Partners Ministry has said, "We are training people to take advantage of advertising that will help them live lives of intention. I Am Second is a mind-set to live out authentic, transparent lives."

Now I'll admit, I don't attend church, have not found anything particularly redeeming in organized religion of any kind. Past experiences have not been particularly uplifting. I've found most churches I've attended to be run by the same sort of folks I avoid as much as possible in life, folks intent on telling me how to think, what to think and how to act. Again, just my personal past experiences.

I found it draining, the times as I sat through a few Sundays in one of God's houses, finding the intent behind the message ultimately directed more at my bank account than my salvation. Call me cynical. I've attended Baptist churches, Catholic services, Methodist (I found them to be the most laid back), Lutheran, Shul/synagogue, (our family heritage - maternal grandparents spoke Yiddish, originally Jewish) and Mormon church. I'm not knocking religion per se - if it helps you get through your life, great. Certainly there are millions who have found relief in attending and being a part of a religious denomination and being involved in church groups and activities.

I'm not one of those God haters either, I'm not an Atheist who thinks the Bible is all one big fairy tale. One more thing before you jump to conclusions, I do believe in a Higher Power, I'm just not a believer you can only find that in an organized religion under a man-made roof. I think acts speak louder than words, how you life more important. You see, I know several people who I have to interact with on a regular basis who attend services every week, even do missionary work, but can be real assholes outside of those walls of their churches.

My negativity does not lie in my lack of belief in Something, rather a lack of faith in the humanity behind the walls containing the theology. Don't get me started on world wars over the very thing that is suppose to save our souls and uplift we homo sapiens to a higher plane.

Returning to the topic of "I am Second" and Jason Castro - within his fan base there seems to be a huge number of folks claiming religious ties and religious fervor. So many claim he's helped them to find 'The Way', etc. If that is really true and he's helped those folks, then he's doing something of what he's talking about. I know there's some negativity towards certain issues in the Castro camp, but I am of the opinion Jason possesses a true heart, he means what he says, he's not in this just for the dime.

vid c/o winnpoober
While some fans sing his praises for inspiring them, regarding religion, there are those who may be taking their adoration of Castro just a hair left of center. Likely not atypical of many of the folks who regularly tune into Idol - they bend that word, "Idol" toward a whole new connotation. Thinking about it as a separate issue, perhaps it is just something instilled in humanity since we emerged from the caves in the hills and walked upright, (oh no, I'm talking evolution!) the need to transfer emotions, put that word "faith" into something we want to look up to or seek to help save us from ourselves. After all consider, we elected Barack Obama along that same line of thought. It's a fine line in this world, walking between faith, truth, trust and sanity.

"Signs" Five Man Electric band montage

created by 522drwagon

Monday, February 02, 2009

Taylor Hicks Valentines Day Surprise

Taylor Hicks has decided that this Valentines Day will not be spent alone or just in the company of Bill Will. He's striking out, or rather heading over to the Regis and Kelly Show with hopes of selecting a date. He's entered into a contest along with another 30-something guy, Danny Boome, whom I've never heard of, to take his chances in the show's "Dating With the Stars" contest.

Reading up on the 'other guy', Danny Boome, he's described as a "British charmer" and apparently hosts Food Network's "Rescue Chef", and V-Day is his birthday. Apparently he's a highly trained chef, billed as being "great in the kitchen". Images of Danny standing in his birthday suit, a chef's hat and long apron, come to mind.

Taylor Hicks on the other hand, won't make you French Toast, but he is described as doing "Grease"... Mr. Hicks hobbies are listed as golf, scuba diving, skiing and watching college basketball. What no long walks on the beach? Wait, he tried that... once.

Seems Mr. Hicks likes those serious during the week types that toss their horn-rims and get crazy on the weekends. The part of "...If your heart is ready for a little Soul Patrol… Taylor is your guy." That absolutely slays me.
"Can't Get the Girl (Without the Good Stuff) The Handcuffs.

Monday Morning Red Bird Blues

"Rainy days and Mondays always get me down", a line from a song by the uber Pop duo, The Carpenters. Granted it's not raining here in Big D but it is Monday. The Monday after Kurt Warner almost pulled off an historic - for the Cardinals - day in history. Almost, as my Pops always said, counts in hand grenades and horseshoes. What stood out yesterday for Kurt Warner and the Cardindals, exemplified by the likes of Larry Fitzgerald and that under-rated Cardinal defense whom naysayers said were not a good defense - this team has some serious heart and soul.

One thing's certain, it was one of the best Super Bowls ever, and one really entertaining football game. I plan to continue to follow the Cardinals next season if they carry this same basic line-up. Warner has talked about retiring, but I hope he hangs in there at least one more season. Man, I have utmost respect for Larry Fitzgerald, this lady's a fan! He's a beautiful, fantastic athlete on scale with the likes of Lynn Swan. I loved watching Swan, never thought I'd see someone matching his athletic abilities, but Larry Fitzgerald certainly does.

When I thought the game might go South for the Cards - Kurt Warner's Tony-Romo-esque intercepted pass that made Super Bowl history. It was an incredible run by James Harrison, a big hulking kind of a guy who gave it everything he had. Who knew such a big palooka could get it on like he did? It was one of those run backs that you don't get tired of re-watching; Harrison moving and grooving through the throng trying to nab him, narrowly getting missed, narrowly avoiding falling. I'm convinced without that almost freakish yet fantastic play, the Cards would have had the game. Note who ran from across the field to almost (there's that word again) stop Harrison. (Fitzgerald)

Salute to the Steelers who showed why they are the champions of the grid iron that they are and cheers to the Cardinals for showing such stamina and heart.

Adios Football season, August can't come soon enough.

Did you know there's a little bluegrassy blues band called "Redbird"?
"White Freightliner Blues" Redbird performs this Townes Van Zandt tune

"Ships" Redbird

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Arizona Cardinals: Kurt Warner's Dream Machine?

I had a rollicking, senseless, yet fun-filled span of about 24 hours. It began on Friday afternoon when some old friends blew into town, ending yesterday - they left for Tampa Bay. The experience likely killed out about a million brain cells, but since my basic motor skills are seemingly intact, I can safely say today - I'm ready for some football!

I'm gearing up for the Super Bowl, tuned in for all the great pre-game coverage that most women I know absolutely hate and I absolutely love. What's not to like about Howie, Jimmy and the gang and their mad antics as we count down to the big game of the year? Oh yeah, no Howie and Jimmy on it we're on NBC. Well forget that, Bruce at half time, it's going to be a great game. (Especially if the Cardinals win.)

Checked with Calvin Ayres' bowwowwow yippy yo yippy yay bodog.com to see which way that dog's barking today. I'll keep an eye for a while on the numbers. No surprise on most news reports the Steelers are favored in this match up. Why not? Anyone following football know the Cards have been a long shot for a long time now; this a real anomaly of a season for the franchise. Thing is, this year they have players that have a dream, have heart, mad skills, (Fitzgerald) and Kurt Warner, one of my all time football heroes. Hell, this guy was once a bag boy at a grocery store, told to get a better dream by one of his customers - now he's QB'ing the Cardinals in Superbowl XLIII - that's called getting a better dream.

Warner was denied several times in his initial quest to become an NFL player, but he never let that deter him. He hung in there, proving wrong, when he was given a chance, any naysayers that had previously declined his talent. Warner was the backup quarterback for the St. Louis Rams during the 1998 regular season and the 1999 preseason until fickle Lady Luck smiled on Warner. Previous starting QB Trent Green, was injured during a preseason game leaving Warner to step up into position. Of course Warner had great support that year, RB, Marshall Faulk and wide receivers Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, Az-Zahir Hakim, and Ricky Proehl. Former back-up Warner completed a history making season as an NFL QB by throwing for an amazing 4,353 yards, complete with 41 touchdown passes. He and his team earned the nickname, "The Greatest Show on Turf" - romping through three consecutive, 500-point seasons, creating an NFL record.

Warner's breakout season as the Rams starter was the year (1999) that brought him out from a career in anonymity; so impressive was Warner, he gained the October 18th cover of Sports Illustrated. The caption read, "Who IS this guy?". That year Warner was named NFL MVP.

Warner kept on dreaming. In Super Bowl XXXIV, he lead the Rams to victory against the Tennessee Titans. Stats for that game; Warner threw for two TD's, made a Super Bowl record of 414 passing yards, which included a 73-yard touchdown to Isaac Bruce with the game tied, only just over two minutes to play. That day Kurt Warner also set another Super Bowl record by attempting 45 passes without a single interception. Hear that Tony Romo? Not one single interception.

Warner is a guy who is smart, driven and carries those words 'get a better dream' with him in his heart. He's not a guy to give up easily, his career stands as proof. The Arizona Cardinals this year have a history making moment facing them. Out of a franchise history that began in 1898, they hold one lone NFL championship game victory dating back to 1947, while they were based in Chicago, two decades before the first Super Bowl game was ever played. In team's history, it has only qualified for the playoffs six times, won a total of five playoff games, three of those during this season's ongoing run in the 2008-09 NFL Playoffs. Talk about needing a dream.

Obviously I'm pulling for the Cardinals. I'm pulling for Warner and his dream. I'm pulling for Larry Fitzgerald, Edgerrin James. I'm pulling for this team's dream to finally hold title to Super Bowl champion and earn that big ring. I'm betting on, with Warner's history, no matter what the statistics are saying, he's going to do what he's always done. Sports Illustrated get another cover ready, but this time it won't read, "Who IS this Guy?".
"Working on a Dream" Bruce Springsteen

vid c/o itnmusic