~ 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"

Friday, October 31, 2008

Cute As A Bug


Miss Olive, otherwise known as Princess Olive Cupcake, all decked out and ready to wish you a Boo-tiful Halloween!

You've heard the expresssion, cute as a bug in a rug?
How about cute as a bug on a rug?

LOL, just couldn't resist sharing this adorable pic!

Since Taylor Hicks is currently in France for preproduction of his upcoming CD, I thought we could take a look at how Halloween is celebrated in France.
Bonnes vacances Taylor!!

But first, in case you missed it, here is Taylor's audio blog from France!

Friday, October 31, 2008
New Taylor Blog!
Hello Soul Patrol,

I just returned from France having complete pre production on the new record. I cannot wait for y'all to hear it...it is truly my best work.
Have a great Halloween and be on the lookout for some more studio updates.

Halloween in France is usually celebrated by costumed people of all ages going to parties at friends' homes, restaurants, bars, or clubs. The costumes themselves tend to be traditionally "scary" - mummies, ghosts, goblins, witches, and vampires - rather than the cute costumes like princesses, superheroes, and the cartoon character of the day which are popular in the US. Some recreation centers encourage kids to make their own costumes.

Trick-or-treating is getting to be more common. It started out store-to-store, rather than house-to-house, but the latter is picking up. However, Halloween occurs during the mid-season school break, which slows it down a bit.

Stores, malls, restaurants, offices, and homes decorate their windows; pastry and candy shops make up special desserts and candies; and many different kinds of companies use Halloween in their ads. Supermarkets sell pumpkins for jack-o'-lanterns and candy companies are now marketing candy in the traditional Halloween format: one big bag filled with lots of little packages, which may encourage trick-or-treating.

The growing demand for jack-o'-lanterns during Halloween has been a boon for pumpkin growers. There is even a pumpkin patch at a farm outside of Paris where people can pick their own.

Halloween in France is rather controversial, due to the perception of corporate and cultural influence, as well as the fact that it is not a typical French holiday and some people still don't understand what is being celebrated. Because Halloween is seen as an American celebration, some French people refuse to enjoy it, having decided to include it in their anti-American boycott. It's too early to tell whether Halloween will develop into a long-term tradition; once the novelty wears off, it may turn out to be just a fad. And yet, interestingly, the French have been celebrating the ideas at the very heart of Halloween (respect for the dead) for centuries. 31 October to 2 November have traditionally been spent, especially by older generations, visiting cemeteries, honoring saints, and attending religious services.

Limoges — The city in France that has most embraced Halloween is Limoges, where every year since 1996, the town has put on a Halloween parade on October 31. About 30,000 people show up for a parade of ghosts, goblins and ghouls carrying candlelit pumpkins. There are also lots of people who dress up in costume and tour the local bars, cafes and restaurants, many of which hold special Halloween parties. If you are looking for a real Halloween celebration in France, heading to Limoges is definitely the way to go.

Today's cup:

The witches fly Across the sky,
The owls go, "Who? Who? Who?"
The black cats yowl
And green ghosts howl,
"Scary Halloween to you!"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Frost Is On The Pumpkin

Well the frost was on the pumpkins this morning, burr!

The fall colors have been spectacular and the weather up to now has been simply beautiful. Autumn is my favorite time of year, even though it is the harbinger of Winter.

Thankfully the sun is now shining brightly, and the frost has disappeared, so to celebrate I have a few more sweet treats to fill your Halloween goodie bag!


Of course there is a special Taylor treat! A treat that Karin created for us back when we were all awaiting Taylor Hicks' 2006 self-titled CD to drop. (Coincidentally we are all now eagerly awaiting his new Cd that will be released in February of 2009!)

Karin's treat should have been shared in September, but Karin and I didn't get much blogging done that month, so I'm taking the opportunity to share it today, unbeknownst to Karin :-)

But first here is a little something for your goodie bag, a cute poem about Halloween trick or treaters for you to share:

Frost is on the pumpkin
Chill is in the air
Leaves are gently falling
Swirling here and there.

Many different faces
Costumes in the night
Gremlins, ghouls and goblins
Causing quite a fright.

Vampires in the darkness
Hobos in the street
Ghosts are ringing doorbells
Time for trick-or-treat.

Candles in the window
Faces all aglow
Painted little munchkins
Put on quite a show.

Full of tricks and sorcery
Warlocks in the night
Lamps are shining brightly
Makes for quite a site.

Lots of spells and magic
Witches do appear
Riding on their broomsticks
Halloween is here.

Now we'll go to the moon and back, back to September that is, for your Taylor Treat! Come a little bit closer now, you're in for a real treat!

video: "Harvest Moon" a Taylor Hicks Montage by KarinP

Taylor Hicks

A little Harvest Moon trivia:

"When the moon is full, mankind is one!"

In China and throughout many Asian countries people celebrate the Harvest Moon on the 15th day of the eighth month of their lunar calendar. The date in the Western calendar changes yearly. This year, it fell on September 14, 2008.

The Harvest Moon or Mid-Autumn Festival (Zhong Qiu Jie) is a day of family reunions much like a Western Thanksgiving. Chinese people believe that on that day, the moon is the roundest and brightest signaling a time of completeness and abundance. During the Mid-Autumn Festival, children are delighted to stay up past midnight, parading multi-colored lanterns into the wee hours as families take to the streets to moon-gaze.

It is also a romantic night for lovers, who sit holding hands on hilltops, riverbanks and park benches, captivated by the brightest moon of the year!

September's full moon, known in folklore as the Harvest Moon, rises over the DC skyline.
photo credit: philliefan99

Today's cup:

"Everyone is a moon and has a dark side, which he never shows to anybody."

~ Mark Twain ~

Sunday, October 19, 2008

This Candy IS Dandy!

Taylor Hicks Is The Candy Man!
Sweet Sugar

I thought I'd do a special blog for Halloween centered around my favorite part - treats!
I'm giving out virtual candy treats this year!

The first treat is the delicious canvas of Taylor Hicks, portrayed as the candy man, that I created for the beginning of the blog - click on it for the full effect!

The second treat is this fabulous video that was created almost a year ago and I just found the other day. Don't know how I missed it, but it is titled simply Taylor Hicks. I had no idea when I clicked on it what a wonderful treat I had in store.

video: by ELVISEXPERT2006
(Thank you Kaicee!)

I just simply sat at my computer with a big smile on my face, and I'd like to give a big thank you to the young lady who created this video, because she made my day!

Is there is a big smile on your face too, are you singing "I want candy"?

Now that we are all on a sugar high, we won't need any Karma coffee to get our motor's running, Taylor took care of that! So today I'll finish with a few fun-filled facts about some of the most popular Halloween goodies!

Yum, it's that great of time of year where bags, sacks, buckets and bowls of yummy candy are seemingly everywhere. I am a chocoholic and my favorite treat is M&M Peanuts. My statistics prove they are totally nutritious and there's no tell-tale messy evidence, well except for all of the empty bags :-)

Halloween Candy Fun Facts
By Jeanne Benedict

Are you a Snickers bar fan or do you crave M&M’s? One quarter of all the candy sold annually is for Halloween night. Here are some fun facts to make the holiday even sweeter!

Candy Corn
Candy corn was invented in the 1880s by George Renninger of the Wunderlee Candy and is produced today by the Jelly Belly Candy Company.
October 30th is National Candy Corn Day.
An estimated 35 million pounds of candy corn, that’s 9 billion pieces, will be produced this year.

M&M’s were introduced to American GIs during WWII in 1941.
M&M’s were originally sold in a tube and then packaged in their famed little brown bag in 1948.
In 1950, the first “M” was imprinted in black on the candy giving the morsels their signature style.

Snickers and Favorite Candy Bars
Snickers bars have topped the charts for years as the #1 Halloween candy bar.
Parents favorite treats to sneak from their kids’ trick-or-treat bags are snack-size chocolate bars (70% sneak these)!
Other favorite candy bars to look for in trick-or-treat bags are Nestlé Crunch, Milky Way, Three Musketeers, and Almond Joy.

HERSHEY'S KISSES hit the scene in 1907 and have been on candy shelves ever since with a brief interruption from 1942 to 1949 due to the rationing of silver foil during WWII.
A popular belief is that the “KISS” got its name from the sound or motion that the machine makes while producing them.
76% percent of households will include bite-size chocolate candies in their Halloween activities and 26% percent will go for full-size candy (chocolate and non-chocolate).

We have to give a shout out to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Tootsie Rolls & Pops, Smarties, and Charms Blow Pops, which will also fill the bags of the 93% of children who will go trick-or-treating this year.

A special thanks to the National Confectioners Association for some of the facts in the article! Check them out at CandyUSA

Have a safe and fun-filled Halloween!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hooked on a Feeling

You know that 'feeling' I'm talking about!
The euphoria you experience when listening to Taylor Hicks' music.

Then there's the high intensity excitement that enfolds you when seeing Taylor Hicks in concert.
Anticipation, wonderment, tears and smiles.
You feel so good you are down right giddy.

video: Taylor Hicks @ Millersville University, Millersville, PA

Well I searched for most of this past summer for something to give me a taste of that special 'feeling'. I knew a trip to see Taylor in 'Grease' on Broadway wasn't in the cards, so I wasn't going to get a Taylor fix any time soon.

To the rescue came my friend Froggie with news that Ray LaMontagne and Marc Broussard were both performing concerts in our area. My soul was about to receive some much needed soothing and I eagerly agreed to her purchasing tickets for both performances.

It seems our souls were not the only ones in need of soothing. Both concerts were highly attended, in fact they were packed with varying ages, but the predominant age was college students. And believe me they were as into and appreciative of the music as we both were.

Can you imagine our excitement upon hearing Ray sing "Trouble" and Marc singing "You Send Me" and "Let's Get It On". It was as if the spirit of Taylor Hicks was right there with us!

Both Marc and Ray gave fabulous performances, but for me there is only one person whose performances fullfill that special 'feeling'. Taylor is the man ...
hook, line and sinker.

video: Taylor Hicks @ House of Blues, Cleveland

We caught Ray's concert at the Royal Oak Theater, but this video from his Chicago concert is a better capture of his new song.

video: "Winter Birds" by Ray LaMontagne @ The Chicago Theater

And here is a small sampling from Marc's almost 2 1/2 hour concert.

video: Marc Broussard @ The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor, MI

Thanks Froggie for looking out for me! Without you as my travel buddy I would have missed so many wonderful concerts.

Next adventure booked is East Lansing in December to see Taylor in 'Grease'.
What a fab birthday present for me!

Friday, October 10, 2008

What's Going On and On!

photo caption: From OK Magazine
Taylor Hicks article
(click to enlarge)

In a nut shell here's what's going on:
I took a little hiatus from blogging, after cutting the umbilical cord attaching me to my computer first :-) Ouch!
My apologies for not being up to date with what's going on in Taylor Hicks' career, especially with so many fabulous things happening.

It's been a busy month for me, but it's been an even busier month for news from Taylor. The following article from Alec Harvey and the two videos below are a quick recap of what's been going on and what's coming!

Hicks Is The Word
By Alec Harvey
Birmingham News

With a new record deal and an upcoming tour of 'Grease', the Alabama Idol's career is in high gear

Taylor Hicks says he's living out of suitcases for the time being.
Taylor Hicks is rarely at a loss for words.
But he's had to contain himself this year, hearing and reading that his 800,000-unit-selling self-titled CD was a one-shot deal. That he wouldn't sign another record deal. That the 2006 "American Idol" was through.

"It's about driven me crazy to hold my tongue," Hicks says. "I've wanted to talk about this for three months, but I've been patient and trying to be smart about choosing my battles."

The battle, it seems, is over.

Hicks, who turned 32 on Tuesday, announced on his birthday that he had signed a deal to release his new CD in February 2009. It'll be on his own Modern Whomp Records label through Artist to Market (A2M), which gives the Birmingham native control over his recording destiny.

"I was offered a plethora of record deals, some traditional record deals and some non-traditional record deals," Hicks says. "It's been very hard not to just hop on the first one that was offered, but during that time when there was a lot more speculation that I might never sign one again, it couldn't have been further from the truth."

He calls the A2M deal "very cutting edge."

"In today's marketplace, having the control as the artist is key," Hicks says. "I'm in control of where I spend my marketing dollars, who I want to record with, and in control of the companies I hire out. It allows me a really focused release. Basically, I am my own record label."

What that means for the upcoming CD is that the bulk of it will be written or co-written by Hicks, who cut his musical teeth in bars in and around Birmingham.

"I've always been a singer-songwriter, and that's going to be able to surface a lot more than it did on the last record," he says. "On the last one, things had to move at such a quick pace that the actual art of songwriting couldn't really be seen on the last record."

Hicks is in pre-production of the CD now, working with producer Simon Climie (Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Faith Hill) in the studio.

"I don't have a title for it, yet," Hicks says. "I'm kind of waiting for it to hit me."

Announcement of the new record deal comes just after Hicks' stint in the Broadway production of "Grease" comes to an end, and just before he hits the road as that show's Teen Angel for the national tour beginning Dec. 1.

Taylor Hicks earned positive notices when he played Teen Angel in "Grease" on Broadway. "It was such a success and such a great way for me to learn a new craft," Hicks says of his Broadway debut. "I feel like if I'm going to have longevity in the entertainment industry, I've got to cover all aspects. I have to reinvent myself."
The national tour of "Grease" will offer a unique hybrid for Hicks, he says.

"We're going to cross-promote this record with the 'Grease' tour," he says. "I'll be allowed to perform my single in the show on tour."

Most importantly, it offers fans a chance to experience Hicks live, which he says is crucial to his success.

"There's such a live aspect to me," he says. "You put me on the radio, and you can't see me, you can't feel me, you can't touch me, so it's easy to count me out in that regard. On the road, that's where you really make your mark and have your longevity."

So don't count Hicks out just yet. He's only getting started, he says, and he doesn't pay attention to the naysayers.

photo caption:
"I hear those things, but I'm not into the talk, I'm into the walk," Taylor Hicks says.

video: Taylor Hicks interview, MY FOX, Birmingam
October 9,2008

To recap Taylor's last year, Karin has done another "Trip Around the Sun" video in celebration of Taylor Hicks' most recent trip around the sun which he completed on October 7th.

Happy 32nd birthday Taylor!

Uploaded by KarinP

video: Taylor Hicks' Trip Around The Sun 2007-2008

And finally a slew of karma coffee with a slight twist, lots of caffeine and sarcasm here, just too cute not to share:

The Zen of Sarcasm

1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me either. Just pretty much leave me the hell alone.

2 . It's always darkest before dawn. So if you're going to steal your neighbor's newspaper, that's the time to do it.

3. Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.

4. Always remember that you're unique. Just like everyone else.

5. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

6. If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.

7. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes

8. If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is probably not for you.

9. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

10. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably a wise investment.

11. If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

12. Some days you're the bug; some days you're the windshield.

13. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.

14. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.

15. A closed mouth gathers no foot.

16. There are two theories to arguing with women. Neither one works.

17. Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your lips are moving.

18. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

19. Never miss a good chance to shut up.

20. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Many Talents of Bryan Adams

This past week, Bryan Adams was a guest mentor on Canadian Idol and it is a privilege for me to share some information about this well known Canadian superstar with those of you who are reading this blog.

Bryan Guy Adams was born in Kingston, Ontario on November 5, 1959.
He is a multi-talented Canadian legend.
He is not only a singer-songwriter but he is also a well known photographer.
His performance attributes include vocals, guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, piano and harmonica.
Bryan has sold in excess of 65 million records during his career.

Prior to the release of his self-titled debut album, 'Bryan Adams', which was released in February 1980, he had a chance meeting with Jim Vallance in a Vancouver music store. Since that time, Bryan and Jim have had a songwriting partnership that has generated many hit songs and movie soundtracks.

The voice of Bryan Adams is always recognizable when you hear his music on radio, television or on a movie soundtrack. Only one of his #1 hits, "Heaven", was not written for a motion picture.

Bryan Adams has been awarded many Juno Awards; Grammy Awards and he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award (which wasn't his only nomination for a Golden Globe) in 2007 for songwriting on the film "Bobby". "Bobby" also earned him a Grammy Award in 2008. His incredible movie work has earned him three nominations for Academy Awards.

One would think that being a singer/songwriter would keep him very busy, but Bryan Adams is a recognized photographer. His work has been published in many well known magazines.

Bryan released a photo book in Canada in December 1999 and then a subsequent book called 'Haven' in 2000. In June 2005, Bryan published his first book of photos in United States with Calvin Klein which is called 'American Women'. The proceeds of this book go to breast cancer research for programs at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Clinic in New York City. All of his books are dedicated to his friend, Donna, who, sadly, did not survive her battle with Breast Cancer.

Bryan Adams is a well known social activist. His dedication to many causes demonstrates his character and desire to "give back". He is the official photographer for "Hear the World" in which he hopes to raise awareness about the issue of hearing loss. He has photographed many of his peers for this cause. Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall are the latest celebrities to be photographed by Bryan. Among those photographed by Bryan, are Michael Bublé, Rod Stewart, Annie Lennox, Joss Stone and many others.

Bryan photographed each one with a hand behind their ear to convey a message that they were attempting to hear.

“I’m interested in the goals that Hear the World is trying to achieve,” Adams said. “As a musician, I’m naturally sympathetic to a cause dedicated to help people appreciate and preserve an individual’s sense of sound.”

Bryan Adams has established the Bryan Adams Foundation. Following his concert in July 2008 in New Orleans, Bryan decided to support the redevelopment of this city due to the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina. The Foundation made a grant to "Make It Right" - a project dedicated to re-building homes in the Lower Ninth Ward.

Bryan Adams is a treasured Canadian entertainer and humanitarian who not only shares his talent with the world but also his generosity. He has deservedly earned the respect and support of millions of fans around the world.

I think it would be fair to say that the majority of Taylor Hicks' music fans know the story behind the song, "The Right Place". For many of us, this was a song that touched us whether we saw it performed in concert or on television.
For those who do not know the history behind this song, in the words of Jim Vallance, himself, who co-wrote the song with Bryan Adams, below is a shortened version of the story behind this fabulous song. Jim Vallance followed Taylor's journey on American Idol which explains why both he and Bryan thought this was a song meant for Taylor.

Source: http://www.jimvallance.com/01-music-folder/songs-folder-may-27/pg-song-hicks-right-place.html

"In March 1989 Bryan Adams and I wrote a song for Joe Cocker, called "The Right Place". Joe asked us for "something that sounds like Ray Charles" ... and that's exactly what we wrote. But Joe decided "The Right Place" was the "wrong song", and he didn't record it.

So we sent the song to Ray Charles himself, but Ray didn't record it either (I was never able to confirm if Joe and Ray actually heard the song, or if it was rejected by their "handlers" before it reached their ears).

After that, we gave up, and "The Right Place" collected dust on my shelf for nearly 20 years.

Meanwhile, back at the "American Idol" auditions ... despite Simon's scathing comments, Taylor received a resounding "Yes" from Paula and Randy. As Taylor headed for the door, grinning from ear to ear, Randy yelled after him, "Bring all the Cocker, all the Ray Charles. C'mon man!"

Joe Cocker. Ray Charles. That stuck with me.

A year later, in September 2006, when I heard that Taylor was recording an album, I remembered what Randy had said, and it made me think of "The Right Place". I knew the song wasn't a "hit" in the traditional sense, but I thought it might be a perfect vehicle for Taylor to channel his "inner Joe and Ray".

"On July 17, 2007 Taylor performed "The Right Place" on the popular morning television show, "The View". It was "back to basics", with Taylor on vocals and harmonica and Loren Gold on piano, similar to the way the song had originally been written and demo'd.

It was apparent that Taylor had developed an affinity for the song in the ten months since he'd recorded it. On "The View", his vocal performance digs even deeper than it did on the recorded studio version, and Loren provides solid support on the piano.

For anyone who ever doubted the legitimacy of his American Idol success, this performance proves, beyond a doubt, that Taylor Hicks is the "real deal"."

Yes, I agree with Jim Vallance - Taylor Hicks is the real deal but I must admit that Bryan Adams is the "real deal" too! We are so fortunate to have such caring and dedicated musicians in this world!

Once again, it must be said that without the songwriters, including the dynamic duo of Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance, there would be no music for anyone to hear. Saying "thank you" to all of those who make the music seems so inadequate because without their talent, our world would be a very dark and quiet place.

Canada's Walk of Fame, Toronto, Ontario is a walk of fame that acknowledges the achievements and accomplishments of successful Canadians. It consists of a series of stars imbedded in 13 designated blocks worth of sidewalks in Toronto, located in front of Roy Thomson Hall, The Princess of Wales Theatre, and The Royal Alexandra Theatre on King Street as well as Simcoe Street.

The first group of members was inducted in 1998, and it has since expanded to include a young filmmakers competition and there are plans for a permanent museum. Inductees on the walk of fame, include athletes; coaches; actors, directors, writers and producers of movies, television and stage; singers, songwriters and musicians; playwrights; authors; comedians; cartoonists and supermodels.

Bryan Adams was inducted this year and the ceremony which was held at the Four Seasons Centre for Performing Arts was televised on Sunday, September 7, 2008.

Bryan Adams opened the festivities with this song, "Can't Stop This Thing We Started".

Linda Evangelista, a long time friend of Bryan's, inducted Bryan Adams into Canada's Walk of Fame.

To learn more about Bryan Adams, visit his website at:


"I always knew I'd be in music in some sort of capacity. I didn't know if I'd be successful at it, but I knew I'd be doing something in it. Maybe get a job in a record store. Maybe even play in a band.
I never got into this to be a star."

~ Bryan Adams ~


Today's cup:

"Life is a symphony, and the action of every person in this life is the playing of his particular part in the music."

~ Hazrat Inayat Khan ~

Thursday, September 4, 2008

New York Post Says It's Taylor Made For Taylor Hicks


Normally I do not share anything here that I feel invades Taylor Hicks' personal space, but as he has voluntarily shared his current 'space' with both the NEW YORK POST and OK Magazine (in this week's issue), I thought I'd pass along this great article!

Plus I'm thrilled to learn that Taylor is a lover of green things too!
I was pretty sure he had a green thumb just from several things he has said in the past, but this article confirms it!

Taylor Hicks has lived, written music and often cooked in this one-bedroom apartment while starring in the Broadway production of "Grease."
"This apartment has been perfect for me and what I wanted to achieve," Taylor Hicks says of his Midtown rental. "I wanted to write some music, have friends over, be comfortable and be close to Broadway."

But his stay is now coming to an end. The season five winner of "American Idol" is winding down his first role in a Broadway musical as a soulful, Elvis Presley-ish Teen Angel in "Grease." His last performance will be Sept. 7. (Not to worry, "Idol" fans: On Sept. 9, another season five contestant, Ace Young, will join "Grease" as Kenickie.) For the past two months of his run, Hicks, 31, has been living in the posh Atelier condominium on 42nd Street. This sort of "Hollywood on the Hudson" building, a half-block from the river, has residents including Lindsay Lohan and Nick Lachey. The building features a roof deck, swimming pool, fitness center and basketball court.

Hicks' two-bedroom, one-bath corner unit, which rents for $4,600 a month, includes floor-to-ceiling windows that offer river views as well as city views to the north and south.

"It's a wonderful apartment," says Hicks, who likes the convenient location. "I run in the Hudson River Park, I swim in the pool and I practice my golf swings at Chelsea Piers. It's close to the theater, and I really enjoy being near the water. It's just the best of both worlds."The apartment came furnished, but, Hicks "spruced it up a bit."

Together with decorator Marne Cahn, he bought new pieces that are both handsome and practical.

"This is my first time of having new things," the gray-haired, Alabama-born singer says. "Everything I've always had in my apartment have been my grandmother's hand-me-downs. This is the first time I've actually been able to go out on my own and buy a piece of furniture that hasn't been handed down over generations in my family."

One of his new pieces is a soft avocado suede couch daybed in the second bedroom. It can open out into a queen-size bed for friends who stay over.

"This room is kind of my sitting room," he says of the second bedroom. "I write music in here, I talk on the phone. And the view - it's just about a 180-degree view of whatever you want to see in New York. At night, with the city lights, it's absolutely stunning." The living room is outfitted with a deep brown, almost black leather sofa, which "is really comfortable," Hicks says. "Some mornings I wake up and realize I slept the entire night on the couch. That's how comfortable it is."

It's also the room where he has a wall of guitars.

"I keep the two guitars I like to write with hanging on hooks on the wall," he says. "They're handy, so, if the muse hits me, I can corral her before she gets away." In addition to playing guitar and singing, Hicks has many other talents that he didn't get a chance to display on "American Idol." Like his green thumb - almost every window is filled with thriving plants.

"Because there's so much light in this apartment, there's an equal opportunity for lots of plants to grow," he says.

That extends to the coffee table, which has a glass top with plants and peat moss inside it.

"I just thought it would be real cool to have some greenery within the table," he says.

Hicks is also quite the cook. The open kitchen has seen him whipping up dishes for guests. His specialties are lasagna and chicken piccata.

"A few days ago a fan sent me five slabs of barbecued ribs," Hicks says. "They were already pre-cooked, so I just put them in the oven to warm them and brought them to the theater so we could all eat them. Needless to say, we danced a little slow that night."

Now that he's leaving the show, Hicks is about to record his next album. There's no title or release date yet (he's hoping for early next year), but he's quite excited about it.

"I had time to really create and write the songs," he says. "It's going to be very creative."

And ending this run in "Grease" doesn't mean he's saying goodbye to Broadway. He's hoping for another musical in the not-too-distant future.

"I've had a wonderful time," Hicks says. "I'll be back here again. I'll be putting all my new furniture right back in a place somewhere around here.

I'm really thankful that I was able to come here and experience New York and help spice up the place a little bit. It's definitely country come to town."

Taylor Hicks'

* A painting of his band playing at the House of Blues in New Orleans

* A T-shirt he got when, at 18, he worked in a roadhouse called the Flora-Bama Lounge

* His TaylorMade golf clubs

* His collection of old music magazines: "I learn from the singers I read about. They helped me create my own style."

* His case of 12 harmonicas, all in different keys

* His book "Heart Full of Soul"

* The plants all over his apartment

Today's cup:
“A heathy garden is a reflection of a healthy soul.”

To rate this article at the NEW YORK POST Website
AND to give it a buzz up please visit this link

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Do You Like Good Music?

When Arthur Conley shouts "Do you like good music?" on "Sweet Soul Music", the resounding response is "Yeah! Yeah!"

"Soul music is gospel music for everyone - black or white, sinner or saint and it lifted me up like nothing before or since.
Soul music didn't just touch my soul; I think it awakened it for the very first time."

~ Taylor Hicks ~

video: "Sweet Soul Music" performed by Taylor Hicks
American Idol Concert on 7-7-06 Manchester, New Hampshire

The majority of major label releases, or music that you hear on the radio today, is not actually music. It is a product engineered by people in suits who sit around and discuss the best way to get money out of our pockets and into theirs. They don’t give half a hoot about the musical integrity of the “art” they commission.

When they find a trend that sticks, they milk it until there isn’t a cent left in it.
Why does every wannabe teen celebrity princess come out with an album?
Don’t you feel patronized by this?
Major labels think we are stupid and will buy what they sell because of the advertising campaign and overlook the actual music.
You are being sold a culture that you have absolutely no input in creating.
By supporting mainstream music, you are a tool in the system of the rich.
by Jemayel Khawaja

"Good people know good music when they hear it"
~ Taylor Hicks ~

"Good people" was the way in which the crowd was addressed at the Renaissance Festival I recently attended. To borrow from that era and from Taylor's quote,
"Good people I give you ... good music"

Ipod playlist:
Taylor Hicks ~ "Georgia"
Freddie Scott ~ "Hey Girl"
Ray Charles and Michael McDonald ~ "Hey Girl"
Billy Joel ~ "Hey Girl"
Billy Paul ~ "Me and Mrs. Jones"
Taylor Hicks ~ "You Are So Beautiful"

"Hey Girl" has long been a favorite of mine in case you can't tell from the number of times it appears above in my IPOD player. I'm hoping that the next great artist that records this tune will be Taylor Hicks. He has the voice, he has the passion and he definitely has the soul! You have only to listen to his renditions of "Georgia" or "You Are So Beautiful" to imagine how Taylor would make this song his own. I often wonder if Taylor knows that this was one of Ray Charles favorite songs too?

While you are kicking back and enjoying the music - here is an excerpt from an article that I think you'll find quite interesting:

Music Rediscovers Its Vintage Soul
Soul music's origins can be traced to the mid-'50s, when artists such as Ray Charles began fusing gospel and R&B. It enjoyed mainstream popularity through most of the '70s, before the rise of disco and then hip-hop. The genre faded in the '80s as R&B reflected rap's influence, being slickly produced with less live instrumentation. At the same time, major labels catered to the vast youth market, which favored a more contemporary sound.

But in recent years, several factors have helped put vintage soul back on the cultural radar: Europe's ongoing love affair with American music, the re-emergence of older stars such as Solomon Burke, Irma Thomas and Al Green, and fans looking for something they couldn't find in the mainstream.

"I thought that once the music disappeared in the '80s, it wouldn't ever come back again," Charles Walker says. "Today, it's an underground thing. It's one of those things that club DJs and college kids are really into, and they're what's making it happening."

"Whenever you have these (economic) downturns, people turn to music that is uplifting," says Panos Panay, founder of Sonicbids, an online company that connects bands with concert promoters.
"This music resonates with people. Fans are won over by the music's authenticity. People long for the human touch that's lacking in a lot of other popular music. Soul has a familiarity to it, but it's something that hasn't been exploited a lot in recent years."

It's a struggle for soul performers to get airplay when more commercial acts fill that niche, says Sean Ross, vice president of music and programming for Edison Media Research. "If you look at the urban AC chart, there are songs with a retro feel — Noel Gourdin's The River or Alicia Keys' Teenage Love Affair," Ross says. "They have some contemporary element to go with the classic feel.
Sharon Jones and Ryan Shaw take it a step further, and they're harder for radio to relate to."

But Panay points out that the definition of what's mainstream is changing. Airplay and MTV are no longer the only measures of success.
He says nearly 10% of the 160,000 bands registered with Sonicbids are soul and R&B bands. That's 20 times more than he saw a year ago. The Internet, with its multitude of bloggers and music services, and specialty retailers such as Starbucks also are driving consumption. "The curators of music today are very different from who they were just 10 years ago," Panay says. "People are discovering music in all different ways."

And not all the ways are new. At Daptone Records — home to Jones and other soul acts — recordings are made using analog equipment, and they've got a strong market for vinyl LPs and 45s. "When people get a Daptone record, they know it's going to be raw and soulful," says label co-founder and Dap-Kings bassist Gabriel Roth.

It's difficult to predict whether soul will continue growing in popularity, Charles McEnerney, producer and host of the podcast Well-Rounded Radio, says - but there's potential for greater breakthroughs.
"It wouldn't take much for any of those bands to have a fluke hit on commercial radio and interest a major label," he says. "But the desire to be on a major label now is about 'Will it get me into Wal-Mart or Target?' And the trade-off is having someone telling you how to do your music."

The bands find their best strategy is connecting directly with fans.
Playing at rock venues, "we get a lot of kids in their 20s," says Eli Reed. Sharon Jones says she has been surprised at times by the wide range of acceptance. "I was totally shocked when they had us at (Telluride) Bluegrass Festival," Jones says. "These people were a bunch of hippies into blues and rock. But once people hear us, they are into it."
excerpt from USA TODAY
By Steve Jones

Lots of info to ponder - follow the underlined links to read more and to discover or rediscover some great artists!


Today's cup:
"I don't think you could tag a certain year as the date that soul music appeared, because it didn't happen that way. It evolved over a period of time. Even today, you could ask five different people what it was and how it got started and get five different answers....

Originally, soul music had a strong element of the church, of spiritual music. It had a gospel music feeling, and then it incorporated the sound of blues music. That's soul's makeup: the fusion of gospel and blues, all mixed up together. It's the crossover of those forms of music that makes soul unique....

At first I got some criticism for playing soul music. Women sent me letters, accused me of being sacrilegious because they could pick out that gospel music was being incorporated into something that went beyond the sound they heard in church every week. They didn't realize at first how spiritual soul music could be....

And there were people who objected to soul being played on the radio because of the depth of feeling in the music. Some people thought it was too suggestive, and some thought it was just plain vulgar. But the feeling that comes through in the music --that's the essence of soul -- the word itself tells you that.
~ Ray Charles ~

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Taylor and The Beatles

This past week, Canadian Idol honoured the music of The Beatles for the first time on their show. No, this is not a blog about Canadian Idol and yes, I am still watching it because I want to know how it ends. It is rather strange sometimes how one thought leads to another thought and when you finally stop, you wonder how did I get here from there?

In a previous blog about Taylor Hicks' self-penned song, "Somehow", I mentioned that songwriters should be recognized as well as appreciated for their unique talent in putting words, thoughts and music together. Hopefully the end result is a song that is meaningful to others and a Top Ten Hit. The Beatles are definitely no exception when it comes to "creating memories" with their everlasting legacy to the world of music.

Whether you are a baby boomer or you are a child of a baby boomer, you have listened to the incredible music of The Beatles. Surely, everyone has heard about their North American debut on the Ed Sullivan Show back in the '60s.

video: Canadian Idol's Tribute to The Beatles

From Wikpedia:

"The Beatles are one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed bands in the history of popular music, selling over a billion records internationally. In the United Kingdom, The Beatles released more than 40 different singles, albums, and EPs that reached number one, earning more number one albums than any other group in UK chart history. This commercial success was repeated in many other countries; their record company, EMI, estimated that by 1985 they had sold over one billion records worldwide.

According to the Recording Industry Association of America, The Beatles have sold more albums in the United States than any other band. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked The Beatles number one on its list of 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. According to that same magazine, The Beatles' innovative music and cultural impact helped define the 1960s, and their influence on pop culture is still evident today."

"For accessibility and quality,
it remains impossible to beat The Beatles."

~ Taylor Hicks - 'Heart Full of Soul' ~

Moving from one thought to the next, I remembered that Taylor has also performed music by The Beatles. The first stop down "Memory Lane" is the fabulous performance by Taylor of "Something" which captured many hearts and more importantly, many well deserved votes. We were also introduced to the colour "purple" with this song - a colour that for some reason seems to be often associated with Taylor.

Video: Taylor Hicks "Something"

Thanks, AliceinTaylorland!

On the subsequent AI Tour in 2006, when Taylor brought out the red guitar, the crowds went wild. The audience knew that they were going to hear Taylor's rendition of "Don't Let Me Down". I do enjoy the music of The Beatles but when I watched this performance, it was as if I was hearing the song for the very first time. Taylor gave us a "WOW" moment with this one!

video: Taylor Hicks "Don't Let Me Down"
Thanks, mmmeverclear!

A year later on his solo tour, Taylor Hicks continued to sing his way into the hearts of audiences with his version of "Here Comes The Sun".

video: Taylor Hicks "Here Comes The Sun"

Thanks, elaine1154!

As my feet gently touch the cobblestone of 2008 along this pathway of thoughts, I am reminded of the excitement that was generated in April of this year when it was announced that Taylor would be appearing in "A Tribute to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" at the Wolf Trap Centre, Washington, D.C. One can only surmise that since Taylor has always enjoyed and admired the genius of The Beatles' music that he would definitely have wanted this page in his book of memories.

This weekend in Washington was a date that many had circled on their calendars. Unfortunately, schedules change and Taylor was not able to participate in this "Tribute" due to his commitment to Grease on Broadway. While many were disappointed, I suspect that many others were elated that Bo Bice stepped into Taylor's role at Wolf Trap.

In the spirit of the significance of this weekend's previously anticipated performance, finally we come to my last thought. A salute to Sgt. Pepper with a sprinkle of Taylor Hicks!

video: American Idol's Tribute to St. Pepper -
Season 6 Grand Finale

Thanks, VeGaS1004!


Today's Cup:

Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons.
You will find it is to the soul what a water bath is to the body.

~Oliver Wendell Holmes~

Monday, August 18, 2008

Taylor Hicks A Tall Cool Drink

Dog days of Summer getting you down?
Feeling tired and cranky?
In need of a pick-me-up?
How about a Big sip of a Tall cool drink?

I have just the thing, a little cool Jazz and a lot of hot harp from Taylor Hicks!

video: "Tall Cool Drink" by Lisa Koch
"Soul Thing" by Taylor Hicks

Now, don't you feel better?

Today's cup:
I'm thinking you'd prefer it iced :-)
One iced Karma coffee coming right up!

Taylor's self-penned "Soul Thing" available on
Taylor Hicks "Early Works"!
A compilation of 12 tracks from his two independent albums prior to
winning American Idol in 2006!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Simply The Best


I am long overdue in officially welcoming KarinP on board as a blog author here at The Pond.

Karin, I really wanted to to do something for your Birthday that was beautiful or at least clever, but as I wasn't clever enough to even realize I missed your birthday, this is the best way I could think of to celebrate your Birthday!

Plus it gave me a perfect opportunity to say thank you for your friendship, thank you for your endless support, and to thank you for all of the wonderful videos you have given us of Taylor.

YOU are "Simply The Best" and I don't know if you remember this or not, but this is a video you made for your friends at The Official Soul Patrol way back in November of 2006.

The "Groove Moment" is on this one!

video: Taylor Hicks Is "Simply The Best"

And so MY Friend are YOU!

Audio: Taylor Hicks self-penned "My Friend" is available on his newly released "Early Works".

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What's Next?

Could any of us have ever imagined that one man and his music could have held the key to bringing so many new and exciting changes to our lives?

Taylor Hicks was an inspiration for many of us to take that flying leap and step out of our respective boxes. To learn new skills as we made our way around the Internet, travel to places we'd never been before, pursue dreams that we had thought impossible, and especially for us to put ourselves out there and make new friends. Friendships that I expect shall last our lifetimes.

His music spoke to us and as we got to know his heart, we gave him a special place in ours. We willingly boarded the Taylor Hicks' train yet sometimes we got impatient when the train wasn't travelling at full throttle, or went to places we didn't expect to find on it's schedule, changed direction or was delayed.

Sometimes we forget that this is Taylor Hicks' life and career and they are his choices and decisions to make, not ours. Sometimes we need to just step back and realize it is our own selfish needs that causes the impatience and fretting that occurs when the train is delayed, changes direction or the schedule isn't posted timely.

I've learned to just plain be thankful for the gifts Taylor has already given us, I know there are many more coming and they are worth waiting for. In the meantime I'll do my best to share those gifts with as many people as possible, any way I can.

The title of this blog 'What's Next' is not about me wondering what Taylor Hicks will be doing next, but has to do with an article that appeared this past weekend in the New York Post about what's on Taylor Hicks' bookshelves.
If you missed the article, you'll find the link posted below, but now that I've gotten off my soap box, I'd like to share with you something that has recently made it into my library.

I stumbled across a series of books for and about women on my visit to the bookstore earlier this week. The title of one of the books 'Late Bloomers', caught my eye and I began thumbing through it. It looked interesting, what I would call a beach read, a good book to simply kick back and enjoy. It is and I did!

The series of books is called 'What's Next' and is a line of entertaining novels about women looking for what's next in their lives. These novels are about rediscovery and reconnection. They are warm, compelling and entertaining stories that are relevant for every woman who has ever wondered, "What's next?"
After all, there's the life you planned. And there's what comes next.

Now if books really aren't your thing, and the only book you can recall having read cover to cover is Taylor Hicks' Inspirational Memoir 'Heart Full of Soul', maybe a few key words that pop up in 'Late Bloomers' will entice you to give it a read. You'll find Ray Charles, Huntsville and Hoover, Alabama woven into this heart-warming story about two friends.
You can find 'Late Bloomers' by Peggy Webb on line @ TheNextNovel.com

Here is the link to the New York Post article
'In My Library - Taylor Hicks'

I think I've figured out why this particular photo of Taylor was used for the article. I believe it is because one of Taylor's book choices was 'Texasville' by Larry McMurtry. I haven't read 'Texasville', but I did read his 'Lonesome Dove'. For anyone who is not a BIG reader, I don't suggest you add McMurtry to your list of must reads, but I hope you'll check out the 'What's Next' series, because "Every Life Has More Than One Chapter".

My life has been all about believing in what lies
just around the corner. After winning American Idol and recording my first commercial album, it still feels like
the best is yet to come."
Taylor Hicks ~ 'Heart Full Of Soul'

Friday, August 8, 2008

Desperately Seeking Soul

Taylor Hicks ~ "Run Baby Run"
Dream Series Canvas

You know how it is when you get a song stuck in your head and it just keeps replaying over and over ... well that is what happened to me after I added Taylor's "Run Baby Run" to the new video IPOD player here at the Pond.

She was born in November 1963
The day that Aldous Huxley died
And her mama believed
That every man could be free
So her mama got high, high, high
And her daddy marched on Birmingham
Singing mighty protest songs
And he pictured all the places
Where he knew that she'd belong
But he failed and taught her young
The only thing she'd need to carry on
He taught her how to

Run baby run baby run baby run
Baby run

I'm sure the fact that I kept playing the video again and again had 'something' to do with the vision of Taylor Hicks singing "Run Baby Run" in Joliet firmly embedded in my mind. And what a wonderful vision it is!

It inspired me to create the new Taylor Hicks Dream Canvas above, and to send me on a hunt to determine what the lyrics of the song meant.

From The Sheryl Crow Post:
Augustine: Sheryl, I was wondering what is the meaning of "Run Baby Run" on the Tuesday Night album? I love that song I can't get it out of my mind.

SHERYL CROW: The meaning of it was really about a person who was sort of caught in between generations. She was raised by hippies in a time of real conservative social structure. I wrote that song with a couple of friends of mine the night the election results came in, when we were watching the government change from conservative George Bush to young, unconventional, good-looking Bill Clinton. That was a large influence on the song.

Past the arms of the familiar
And their talk of better days
To the comfort of the strangers
Slipping out before they say
So long
Baby loves to run

She counts out all her money
In the taxi on the way to meet her plane
Stares hopeful out the window
At the workers fighting
Through the pouring rain
Shes searching through the stations
For an unfamiliar song
And shes pictures all the places
Where she knows she still belongs
And she smiles the secret smile
Because she knows exactly how
To carry on

So run baby run baby run baby run
Baby run

From the old familiar faces and
Their old familiar ways
To the comfort of the strangers
Slipping out before they say
So long
Baby loves to run

To my knowledge Taylor only sang "Run Baby Run" at two of his concerts, but it's as if he was born to sing this song. Sheryl may have penned the lyrics, but it is the voice of Taylor Hicks that brings the passion to the words.

photo caption: Taylor Hicks "Run Baby Run" from his Joliet concert

Boy what I wouldn't give to turn back the calendar to 2007 and get to relive all over again that 'special' feeling that comes over you when experiencing Taylor Hicks live. That feeling that all is right with your world!

Well, this past weekend I succeeded in turning back the calendar, but my time travel agent was off by 40 years and I ended up traveling back to 1967, a time of war protest songs, flower power, love and peace. I ended up in the 'era' of the lyrics for "Run Baby Run". Close but no cigar!

I ended up smack dab in the middle of Hippiefest instead. LOL, what a trip!
I'm a Motown gal and this was a whole different vibe for me, straight out of the Haight-Ashbury scene. Think die-dye clothing, flowers in the hair, peace signs and a smoke scented haze drifting in the air.

So my quest wasn't fulfilled, I'm still desperately seeking, and
since a trip to New York to see Taylor on Broadway isn't in the cards or my bank account ... what's a girl to do?

Save, Save, Save ... to be ready for my Soul Revival ... and think twice before doing any more time travel!