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Monday, September 3, 2007

Artist Of The Week: Taylor Hicks


Ok, I am sure I will get some grief over this from some of you, but I am a believer now that I have heard some of the blues and soul this guys does. I watched his audition tape from American Idol, and he just blew me away. It is also obvious that Simon hated the guy, so he must be good:-) I am not a fan of American Idol, or music competitions for that matter. I don't think it is right to pit artist against artist to see who is the best. Although I do see a benefit from participating in a contest. Hopefully better exposure, and more gigs. However, choosing who is the best artist is like apples and oranges.

I like Hicks voice, and he seems to have a respect for the music. So he is ok in my book. To see his videos check out the Google Video bar on the left side of the blog. Also keep an eye on it since sometimes videos change especially an artist with a lot of videos. If the video doesn't work for some reason it is either the person who posted it doesn't want it shown outside Youtube, or it might be a video exclusive to Google, which for some reason won't play in the small embedded player at the top of the blog.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

No grief from me. You've made an excellent choice. The thing that struck me immediately about Taylor was his raw bluesy soulful voice. I think with the right material and the right producer, he can and will forge a career that puts right at the top with the best of todays blues and soul singers. If you haven't heard him sing The Right Place on The View, please take a listen - it will knock your socks off: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoGdbbjggdM

bluesme said...

Yeah, thanks bluesman. I've heard/seen quite a bit of the music that Hicks has done and I've been thinking for awhile now that maybe he isn't really a soul singer, maybe it's not southern rock, or swamp or funk or whatever that really defines the guy...no, I think maybe he is a Bluesman.

bluesman2001 said...

Thanks for the Youtube link. Wow! I had no ideal he spent 10 years on the Chitlin Circut. That is the real deal. If you don't play the blues and soul down there, they will let you know:-)

I will probably get around to posting that video in a couple days. Nice find!


Tom

Anonymous said...

Bluesman - if you want a video of just the song, sans interview, here ya go http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zb5Iy2dRwkg

This has got to be one of the best performances I've ever seen Taylor do on TV.

Anonymous said...

Interesting comments on your selection of Taylor Hicks as the subject of your recent column. Have you had the PLEASURE of viewing the following video of Taylor and Keb-Mo singing Sweet Home Chicago? I'm including it for your viewing pleasure. Thanks for the choice.

Juliegr


http://youtube.com/watch?v=MiGTtvCrzLY

Anonymous said...

Taylor embodies blues and soul, to me. Great talent that gives with 110% at every performance.

Anonymous said...

I want to thank you for looking past the label of "American Idol". So many people, including myself" look down at this show and what it means to music.

However, I am one of the lucky ones that got a chance that January night in 2006 to see Taylor Hicks step into the spotlight for his American Idol audition. My life has not been the same ever since. The man is the epitomy of what music should be while making it apparent what is missing in the music industry today.

Anonymous said...

totally agree with first comment...excellent choice. People who do not like him DO NOT HEAR him as we hear him...when he touches another SOUL...he's done his thing...and trust me, he does it often and he does it well!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm a lifelong blues fan. I'd never watched American Idol in my life. If I hadn't happened to have overheard Hicks singing Sam Cooke and Ray Charles during his American Idol audition, I'd never have given him a moment's notice.

It is so satisfying to see one of our own make it from one side of the pop culture swamp to the other, and come out still being exactly the real deal he was when he went in. Before and after the tv show, he's demonstrated an ability to choose and lead a great band. He's not the Second Coming or anything, but he puts on the best live show I've ever been to - and boy, I've seen some good ones.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much, Bluesman...couldn't agree more. Hopefully we'll get more bluesy material on Taylor's next cd because he CAN deliver as many have witnessed of his live performances.

bluesman2001 said...

Hey Thanks for the comments!

I posted the sweet home chicago clip over here

http://bluesman2001.blogspot.com/2007/08/taylor-hicks-and-keb-mo-sweet-home.html

like I said earlier anyone who played the chitlin circut for as long as he did, is the real thing in my book:-).

Tom

Anonymous said...

You got it right. The guy was a fabulous musician long before he was an AI contestant. He just didn't have the means to get his voice heard. I am not an AI fan (at all) but I'm damn sure a Taylor Hicks fan.
KimLoree

Anonymous said...

Hey, Thanks for giving Taylor a chance to get his voice heard! That's all he ever wanted. It is a rare individual that can go thru all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and not change one thing about why he took the chance in the first place. Taylor gives so much of himself in his concerts to please us and in doing so fullfills his dreams of just playing the music. I have been to 9 of his concerts and I get so much pleasure doing all I can to help Taylor realize his dream. It's a synergistic alliance! Go to YouTube and watch the hundreds of videos and, when you can, support the man in person! We Love him!

marymagdalene said...

Bluesman:
Thanks for featuring Taylor as your Artist of the Week this week.

Taylor Hicks is a TRUE MUSICIAN, and he has learned his craft both hard and the old-fashioned way: ON THE ROAD...

I, too, was captivated by his audition on AI, and something awoke in my soul, and it was called MUSIC...

Taylor has brought music back into my life, and for that, there are not enough words in my vocabulary to express my joy...

I have become richer in the musical sense, because of the musical quest which is completely due to Taylor... I start with one person, who Taylor mentioned on one of his several playlists on iTunes, or Rhapsody, or whomever, segues into this person, who leads into yet another person, and the list goes on and on...

By the end of September, I will have seen Taylor in concert 7 times, and have been thoroughly blown away by each performance...

When I saw him at The Beacon Theater in NYC in April, I FINALLY UNDERSTAND the commotion that happened with both Elvis Presley, and The Beatles...

I have never been so exhausted by just WATCHING someone perform; not necessarily concerts, but I have seen a LOT of Broadway musicals...

I brought my father to see Taylor perform up in Torrington, CT in August, and my father is duly impressed with Taylor, his band, and Taylor's musicianship...

Not only that, my father said that he would actually go see Taylor again, and this was my father's FIRST POP/ROCK CONCERT at the age of 71!!!

What you see Taylor do on stage is NOTHING like what you saw him do on AI... So if you EVER have a chance to go see Taylor live, RUN - DO NOT WALK - to the venue... You will not regret a single penny!!!

Anonymous said...

Bluesman2001 You have great taste!
I loved Taylor on Idol, but he's
even better live! I can't wait until his next album comes out.
There's also a DVD in the works,
and his book is doing very well
(Heart Full of Soul). Thanks for
choosing him as your artist of the
day! Check out videos of his Take
The Long Way Home and of his original, Somehow.

Sue in Maryland said...

Thnaks for the great review of Taylor. Taylor deserves to be heard. He has an awesome voice! He is so versatile and energetic. I have been to 4 of his shows and everyone was different...and everyone was absolutely great! He gives so much to his audience. Besides having a wonderful singing voice, Taylor is also a great harp player! Thank you for recognizing this great talent.

Anonymous said...

Taylor Hicks is a great choice, Bluesman. He is so NOT an American Idol. He has such a deep reverence for good music and I, for one, have been revelling in all the wonderful music I have been exposed to since I discovered Taylor. He is the best live performer I have ever seen and I think it's only a matter of time before the masses truly come to appreciate this Soulman!

taylorfan64 said...

thanks for choosing Taylor - however, he is so much more than the AI music - his music is raw, bluesy, rockin, soulful, and most importantly fun.

Anonymous said...

I think you've made a fine choice! Taylor rocks big time, as anyone who was fortunate enough to see him on his current tour has discovered. He is a fine musician. Anyone who reads his book "Heart Full of Soul" will understand how much Taylor appreciates the history of music.

EJ said...

Really cool that you looked past the American Idol label to see this guy for what he is. In concert, he gets so into the music sometimes that I think everything disappears for him except the sound. Here's some of the best of his blues jams from his spring 2007 tour:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uS0cBuOh260

JAG said...

You made an excellent choice in Taylor,he's got it going on.Sweet Home Chicago with Keb Mo is a perfect example of his ability to sing the blues.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for showing me that I AM sane for being crazy for this guys vioce. I love it. Taylor Hicks is so far removed from all the crap my generation listen to these days. All the 'goat yotelling' set to a rock remix is awful.

TeenieWeen in Cali.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for looking past the AI thing...this guy is so much better than that. Lots of great videos on youtube. Look for "Ain't No Sunshine" or "Louisiana" or "The Maze"(from Tom's River). Its hard to pick one 'cause they are all so good. Taylor live is absolutely unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

Hicks fans would find a lot to relate to in the blogcritics review of Chaka Khan's new release FUNK THIS, just a few articles down this page. I was a huge fan of Chaka's, and am thrilled to see this out.

Tom, very interesting blog here, with or without Taylor Hicks.

- Terry again.

Anonymous said...

I was lucky enough to see Taylor's Chicago HOB show when Keb Mo played with him. Tremendous. I love this man's sound and most importantly I love his dedication to his music and his fans. Thanks for choosing Taylor this week.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Bluesman2001 for selecting our resident "Silver Fox" as your artist of the week. Taylor worked hard for so long as a struggling gigging musician for so long branching out and playing different markets and not getting paid to play those markets; just trying to expand his fan base but still no doors opened. So yes American Idol was a launching pad but you can guarantee that Taylor supplied all the fuel. He was an inspiration for us to launch Modern Whomp Magazine where we live to promote similar artist independent and established in and around the periphery of the genre coined by Taylor Hicks known as "Modern Whomp" a combination and collaboration of Blues, Boogie, and Blue Eyed Soul; so if you want to travel down the road of Soul, Modern Whomp will be at the crossroads where the styles of Ray Charles meets Bob Seger. Enjoy because this soul man is truly bringin da noise, and bringin da Soul. www.modernwhompmagazine.com

Anonymous said...

Fantastic choice! I love this man's music!

Anonymous said...

Because so many people despise American Idol, it's been an uphill battle getting Taylor's voice heard. It continues to be a "one fan at a time" journey for him.

He may sing the blues, but Taylor brings joy to anyone who listens. Thanks for helping spread the word.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for recognizing Taylor - my husband and I have seen him several times in concert and have another we are heading to in a few weeks - he is definitely the first artist who has made us sit up and take notice of music in a very long time. I hope he continues to get the exposure he deserves.

nys1emt

Anonymous said...

I am not a big American Idol fan, but Taylor had me hooked from his audition on. I have seen him 3 times and he is the best live entertainer I have ever seen. I love his jam sound and the way he blows the harmonica is unbelievable. He feeds off of the crowd and they off of him - his energy and joy is boundless. And his voice and passion for music is undeniable. He made me FEEL music again.

rubyred said...

Hey Bluesman, I think you hit the nail on the head with this week's pick. Taylor Hicks is the real deal, and hearing this from a blues and soul aficionado like you makes him all the more legitimate. American Idol serves as a means to an end, and not much more, but I sure am glad it brought us Taylor.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bluesman, thank you so much for pointing Taylor Hicks out to folks who may not have taken the time to really listen to him.

So many cannot get past the American Idol show/machine that it is... but like the previous post said, it was a means to an end for Taylor. He really needed the "break" and what he really wanted was for people to stand up and take notice of "real" music again.

Whether it's soul, blues, jazz, or rock, what he does is real. And, he's varied. He not only sings, but he writes, arranges, plays the harp and guitar, and yes he's a wonderful entertainer.

Here's the link to my vid of Taylor's performance of "The Right Place" in Branson, MO on July 30, 2007. I think you'll love the blues harp on this one!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoGeUwlVUqo

And check out Taylor mixing it up in "The Maze"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xICpn0xpUU4

Anonymous said...

Bluesman, Thanks for being open-minded enough to take a listen to Taylor Hicks. The AI connection hardens some against listening. I'm so old I saw Elvis' first TV appearance on Wink Martindales dance show on WMC, Memphis. I get the same feeling watching TH as I did watching EP. The boy's got major starpower...charisma...whatever. I've seen him live twice and would every week if I could. As he said at Workplay he's "bringing back MUSIC to f---ing pop music".
Dinah

Anonymous said...

Great choice, Bluesman. I've only seen Taylor once live and he blew me away. The love he has for his music is so evident and I look forward to following his career.

Anonymous said...

No "idol" chatter here...you simply made an excellent choice. Taylor is true to his music, his band, his fans and himself. As he said "it's all about the music."

Mary Ann said...

Thank you for choosing Taylor Hicks as your artist of the week. Taylor is the consummate musician, composer and performer. I have been privileged to attend seven of his concerts and have one more to attend in October. He never ceases to amaze. Each concert is different. He is in complete control of his band and his audience, with whom he relates extremely well. We, his devoted fans, will be loyal to him for his entire career. His charismatic personna is just the tip of the iceberg. He, like you, is a soul and blues historian. He tags nearly every song magically. He must be seen live to be appreciated. His talent and humility will take him far.

Anonymous said...

Great pick for Artist of the week...thanks Bluseman! I am a huge fan of Taylor's, and nothing compares to seeing him live, which I have done often enough! But, Taylor also re-opened the Blues door for me...I find myself listening to more blues than ever, and even went to see Buddy Guy when he was in NY ~ I would have NEVER done that 1 1/2 years ago, but I will go see him, and hopefully other great blues artists in the future. Thanks to Taylor for opening the door...and my ears to the vibe! Thank you for spreading the word about this wonderful artist

marymagdalene said...

This is a concert recap from my father, and I thought this would be an interesting POV, especially since he is 71 years old:

"'On August 10 I attended my first Taylor Hicks concert. In fact, it was a first time experience at a concert of this type. I’m used to Broadway musicals and classical music concerts. This was out of my league.

I was really impressed with the entire production. Not just the music; but also the talent of all the performers, their personalities and the overall stage production. It made me believe they were really enjoying what they were doing and only too happy to share it with the audience. And my feeling was that the audience was returning that enjoying feeling in spades.

Taylor was the star, but the band really made it work. I especially appreciated the musician that played the sax, flute and clarinet. He was something else. I laughed when the drummer, with a big grin, threw his broken sticks at someone backstage. And the fellow playing bass guitar was also someone that made an impression on me.

Oh, I almost forgot - Taylor Hicks! Now he is some performer. Hearing him live gave me a new appreciation of his vocal talent. That, along with his moves on stage and also playing other instruments, gave me a new appreciation of his abilities.

I also want to mention the warm up group. They were a really professional band who just might go on be famous in their own right.

I also thought Taylor’s soundman was worth watching. Between acts, he tuned every guitar on the stage, did all kind of sound checks and testing of electronic equipment, monitored the sound during the performance, and hustled back and forth to Taylor with different guitars. Now that guy deserves credit.

To be honest, I enjoyed the performance more that I thought I would and just might (maybe) go with my daughter to another Taylor Hicks concert.'"

marymagdalene said...

I took these videos of Taylor performing at the South Shore Music Circus in Cohasset, MA on 6/16/07:

The Who's "Going Mobile":
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SqbVSfbuVE

This one is the second half of my videos of Taylor's own song called "Hold On To Your Love", as he tags "Jump in the Line," "The Banana Boat Song (Day-O)" and "The Tide is High," along with some scatting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SqbVSfbuVE ...

I apologize in advance for my picture-taking while taking these videos, as it was my first time taking videos with my new camera...

wstaple said...

I'll chime in with everyone else here and concur that you made an excellent choice. My wife and I have had the privilege of seeing Taylor in concert twice. True, raw energy with unbelievable showmanship. I'm really looking forward to Taylor's next album, hoping that he can further remove himself from the people who don't "get him" and then make the kind of album he really wants to make.

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

I've seen Taylor Hicks perform live twice ( one in a 2,000 venue concert setting and another in a smaller more intimate venue).

I've also been provided with his earlier albums ( I call them the "hungry years" when he was still an unknown artist ).

Taylor Hicks shines best when he is accompanied by simple acoustic instruments where his blue eyed soul can shine through. He has to make the kind of album that reflects this strength.

The first album after he won American Idol was good but in my mind, does not reflect his potential greatness. He should be singing/writing more songs in the mould of such fantastic melodies as THE RIGHT PLACE, THE FALL, SOMEHOW ( the later two he wrote himself). These songs define who he is.

His personal version of GEORGIA on my mind for instance ranks right up there among the best renditions of the song I've heard in a long time.

Listen to it here :

http://www.tay-online.com/discography/InYourTime.htm

Soulfully Blonde said...

I wish more people were like you and would give him a chance. I get so tired from seeing him slammed left and right, this is wonderfully refreshing!