~ Like the ripples in a pond, the work of one man spreads out and touches the lives of others ~

From The Soul of One ~ To The Hearts Of Many
Taylor Hicks "The Distance"

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Is Country The Answer?

The A.I Taylor Hicks hooked us, but it was the acoustical Taylor who reeled most of us in permanently.
As we sit and listen we are spellbound, this is when the magic of Taylor Hicks' artistry really shines.
We long for the moments of just Taylor and his stool, and when it happens the excitement level just skyrockets.
The same phenomenon happens when he begins to play his harp, we are on the edge of our seats straining not to miss a moment of the magic taking place.
Taylor made us sit up and take notice from the moment he appeared on our television screens.
Here was a young man who had the ability to not only sing his heart out, but to entertain us at the same time.
He made the music come alive!
He asked for his voice to be heard and to give him a chance.
We voted to give him that chance, but the PTB and the radio industry have discounted our votes and have not embraced Taylor.
Which brings me back to the title of this topic ... is Country the answer for Taylor Hicks?
The following is an excerpt from an article that appeared in 2001.
The only part I am not in agreement with is the reference to "payola".
I am totally convinced that though it is illegal, it is still taking place.
You just have to look at who has dominated the AC charts since the beginning of this year, to have no doubts about what is happening.
"Most new songs cannot become popular without the medium we know as radio. After all, people won't usually buy CDs without hearing at least one song first, and the place they hear it is usually on the air.
So who is it that decides what is played on the radio and how?
The Radio Industry
During most of the last century, many independent radio stations had DJs who chose the music they played on the air. Many developed legions of hard-core fans who tuned into their shows regularly. Listeners depended on their favorite DJs to introduce them to new songs. Good DJs knew their audiences and could predict which songs would become hits.
These days, large corporations own most of the radio stations. They are in business to make money and play the music they think will lure audiences and sell advertising. (The exception is non-commercial, or public, stations that don't play ads and depend on listeners and corporations to send in donations.)
Some people say that large corporations are less willing than individual DJs to take a risk on new or innovative music, and therefore don't offer listeners as much variety.
One thing commercial stations can't do is accept money from record companies or musicians in return for playing their music. That's illegal, and known in the business as "payola."
"Since the early days of Rock and Roll on the radio there have been numerous rumors of payola in the radio industry, but very few have ever gone to court, and only a few of those have ever led to convictions," said Reed Bunzel, editor-in-chief of the radio industry Web site Gavin.com.
At commercial stations, DJs play songs from a pre-selected playlist put together by the station management based on what they think listeners want to hear. The DJ's job is mostly to entertain listeners with talk between songs and introduce the music. He or she has little choice or input for song selection at most stations.
There are about 10,000 commercial stations in the U.S. and about 2,500 non-commercial stations. The most popular format in the U.S. is Country Music. That means Country Music dominates the airwaves, but not the record stores. "

Acoustical Taylor fits quite nicely into the Country Music genre.

A perfect example, 'The Fall' written by Taylor Hicks
from his 1999 CD 'In Your Time'
This video is from his concert appearance in Waukegon, IL
July 12, 2007
video by samz

Would the Country Music Industry embrace Taylor now, and give him the recognition he deserves?

Obviously it will be up to Taylor whether he chooses that direction, and with the promise of more acoustical music from him ... is it a possibility?

Your comments are welcome.


Anonymous said...

For a long time,I have felt that Taylor should go the country route. It is an extrememly popular genere, especially in the south where he is from. Most of his early songs fit nicely and he certainly has that southern drawl that most country music has. Additionally, country music fans are the most loyal fans in the world. I think that Taylor would be huge if he were to open for some larger country stars for a while to build a loyal fan base outside of the soul patrol. His records would then be played and he would be off and running. Thanks for the thought provoking article, Bloom.

DJinKC said...

I think "West Texas Sky" is made for country!! I notice that country isn't the country that it use to be anymore anyways!! maybe they are ready for a whomping!!!


KarinP said...

Country is a genre that has various genres in it. It isn't the same as it used to be which makes it a good fit for Taylor.

If I am not listening to Taylor, I am listening to Country music actually. Bon Jovi recently flipped over to the Country side and he is doing just fine on those charts.

There are many of Taylor's songs that would play very well on a Country station. Not only would his pre-Idol music do well there but also songs like WILMH for example. When I corresponded with a Music Director at an Easy Rock Station about getting JTFTW on their stations, she said she liked the song but it sounded a bit twangy with the guitars. I didn't agree with her but it might just fly there. Places I've Been is another great song that would do well. Also, West Texas Sky has some great potential too!

I wish I understood the music business better. I wonder if the "P" word exists on Country Stations? I don't know. I just think it is definitely worth a try.

I also like Tina's idea about Taylor opening for mega Country Stars too. I have been talking with a Microsoft employee in Dallas about Windows and he wanted to know what Taylor has been doing since AI. He really liked him on Idol. He was shocked when he saw the pictures of Taylor with a guitar. He had no idea that Taylor played the guitar and when I told him he played a mean harp, he said he would definitely watch a video I directed him to.

Think about it - the harp - it also fits quite nicely with Country Music.

The bottom line, in my very humble opinion, is that Taylor's music needs to be heard on the radio.

On the weekend, I showed a very intuitive 86 year old man who is a friend of my mother's (another devoted Taylor fan), the Sweet Home Chicago video and he was really impressed.

I continue to support Taylor's music because I believe in his talent. I want to hear him on my radio one of these days!

Whatever he decides is best for him, I will be there as a diehard fan who saw a good thing when it was presented to me on my TV!

Thanks for the great article. It does give us lots to think about.

maryann1 said...

The music that Taylor writes and the words and passion that go along with it, would all fit in to a country genre. I love music and have always liked Country Music...It tells a story, whether happy or sad and speaks to your soul and tugs at your heart. It would be so fitting for Taylor and his music.

Country music fans and artists are the most loyal and supportive of any music genre there is today. They will be there for you in the good times and the bad. It is almost like being in one big family. Something that I think Taylor would embrace and be nourished by.

So many of the songs that he has written would be well received by country music fans....especially "West Texas Sky" and "Places I've Been".

I really think that Taylor should consider the cross over to country...Bon Jovi hss done so and many other artists...It would be a natural fit for Taylor and his music.

Bloom said...

Tina I have to admit to never being a fan of Country music, but froggie has been trying to convert me :-)
I rarely listen to anything but Taylor ... there is just something about the sound of his voice that moves me like no other has ever been able to do. Possibly it's that country drawl, combined with his soulful voice
Could he make the cross over to Country ... many certainly believe so and it has been the topic of much discussion for some time.
Taylor deserves to have his music played on the radio and I cannot understand why the radio industry doesn't realize the reason why Taylor received so many votes on AI.
'Hello', Taylor Hicks brought us the kind of music we love and he delivered it in a way that made us sit up and take notice!!!
I can remember how excited I was when I first heard his own songs from 'Under The Radar' and 'In Your Time'!
Wow, he wasn't only a great vocalist and awesome performer ... he was an accomplished musician too!
I couldn't wait for the rest of America to hear 'his' music and realize ... now here is a talented man!
Well we know what happened ... getting the AC radio stations to play his music was like getting slammed up against a brick wall!
If indeed Country stations are more open to new artists ... I'm all for Taylor going that route.
As long as the soul goes with him!
Instead of funky, blue, organic soul ...
it would be ...
country, blue, inorganic soul = WHOMP!

Bloom said...

Hey Donna ... I've often wondered why we never heard either 'West Texas Sky' or 'Places I've Been' during the tour. Could it be that both of these songs have been saved for just such a reason?

Bloom said...

Karin you have given us much food for though. This is a topic that has been upper most in our minds
and I hope this discussion continues!

KarinP said...

Since I posted the original comment, I have purchased the new 2-CD set by the Eagles.

Now, the Eagles have been embraced by Nashville. Most of the songs have a "hint" of traditional country which Taylor's music has too.

If you watch the interviews on MSN Video by the Eagles, you will understand their rationale behind this latest release.

They are older and they are wiser. They chose to use WalMart as the sole distributor of their album and first week sales are 700,000 copies. Nothing to sneeze at.

I was also struck by one of the songs on the CD which incorporates the saxaphone. When I heard that I thought to myself, whoa ... have they been listening to Taylor Hicks' music? It is hard to say but there are so many different types of music in the Country genre that surely there is enough room for Taylor's music to fit in.

I noticed while watching The Right Place video from Pearl River that the song had a country twang to it. Was it because the band was LMBO and not the summer band or was it simply intentional.

If there ever was a song that could cross various charts it is The Right Place in my opinion.

I don't know much about the music business - the inner workings of it - but, I still believe that TPTB have interfered with Taylor's airplay. That being said, I think Taylor should consider giving Nashville another chance. I only know that there is music that I just love and I am glad to be hearing more of it.

Perhaps the Eagles have opened a door by bringing this new release to the market. There is room for everyone who has talent in my opinion. If you want to hear them, tune in to the CMA Awards tonight. The show starts at 8 p.m. and I, for one, will enjoy watching this show.

Bloom, I know you are not a fan of Country music but you may be thinking of the old and traditional country. Watch the show for a while tonight with an open mind and I think you will "something" you will like!

I am not a huge fan of New Country but I guess that tag is out of date now too. I have to be honest here ... there are not many voices that compare to Taylor's voice. I find that I am often comparing the quality of the voices I hear to Taylor's. He has the voice, he has the ability to play the guitar and he has that harp! Bluesy Country works for me!