Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Taylor Hicks' self-penned "Hell Of A Day", from his 2005 CD
'Under The Radar', was based on an expression Taylor remembers his grandfather Earl favoring when he was little.
Often his grandfather would talk to him about how it had been a hell of a day at work, but one day Taylor realized that you could also have a hell of a day in love too, and this original tune captures that feeling.
"Hell Of A Day", being a fan favorite, was also added to 'Taylor Hicks', his 2006 Freshman CD, as an exclusive bonus track for Wal-Mart.
I can truly empathize with Grandpa Earl's use of the expression,'cause it was a hell of a day yesterday for me trying to create and publish this blog.
Absolutely nothing was working right, I spent hours upon hours, between uploading & downloading programs, only to have error messages appear when the process was finally completed!
Today, miraculously everything is working, but now blogger is acting up ... I'm beginning to feel as if I've been slammed against the wall, and that's a whole other song!
I was at Taylor's concert at The Royal Oak Theater, front row, well actually sitting on the end of the stage, when Taylor first segued from "Hell Of A Day" into "Another Brick In The Wall"!
OMG, pretty much summed the reaction we all had, it was FABULOUS, and the crowd went wild, and it was already an extremely wild crowd!
You can see from the expressions that pass across Taylor's face in the following close up video, that at times he looked a bit bewildered by the intensity of the fans.
This is an awesome video capture and one of my most treasured concert videos!
Taylor Hicks @ The Royal Oak Theater
"Hell Of A Day"/"Another Brick In The Wall"
April 22, 2007
video capture: DianeC
If you have read any of my past blog entries, you already know I was at Taylor's Hagerstown concert, woo hoo, again front row, and how FABULOUS this concert was!
It was the second time I was fortunate enough to experience his "Hell Of A Day"/"Brick In The Wall" live and we have video!
It's not a close up capture, but the sound is superb and his performance outstanding!
Taylor Hicks @ The Maryland Theater
"Hell Of A Day"/"Another Brick In The Wall"
July 6, 2007
video capture: VICKILOVESTAYLOR
Wow, I am simply blow away every time I watch these two videos, "HOAD" with "Brick in the Wall" would make a hell of an opener, and I hope it's added regularly to his set on his next tour!
Now on to today's musical history lesson ....
"Another Brick in the Wall" by Pink Floyd, became a number one song on both sides of the Atlantic.
Pink Floyd's roots go way back to the early 1960s, when Waters, Wright and Mason were in an R&B band together while at art school in Cambridge.
After numerous lineup and name changes, the group settled on the name Pink Floyd (taken from the name two American blues musicians, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council) and featured Waters on bass, Wright on keyboards, Mason on drums and a friend named Syd Barrett on guitar and vocals.
Pink Floyd was one of the first bands to use instrumental freak-out passages incorporating feedback, electronic screeches, loud amplification and other unusual means to create eerie sounds.
In the mid-60s they began to incorporate light shows into their concerts.
Syd Barrett (lead singer and guitarist) began to compose songs that combined unusual psychedelic arrangements with melodies and lyrics that often viewed the world from a child's perspective of emotion and wonder.
Pink Floyd ~ "Another Brick In The Wall"
'Another Brick in the Wall', the stories behind Pink Floyd's songs, was written by Cliff Jones and tackles one of rock’s greatest enigmas: finding the muse behind Pink Floyd’s music.
Each track on every album is examined, revealing for the first time the creative context behind the music and the lyrics that made icons out of LSD, pigs, power stations, and brick walls, and unearthing the crazy, tragic stories behind some of the most popular and original songs of all time.
To learn the inspirations and muses behind Taylor Hicks' music, as well as his life story thus far, I highly recommend 'Heart Full Of Soul' his inspirational memoir about finding your voice and finding your way!
"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet.
Only through experience of trial and suffering,
can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired,
and success achieved."
Thursday, April 24, 2008
In Gone Hollywood, chapter 11 of Taylor Hicks' Heart Full Of Soul, Taylor talks about the visual medium of television, and utilizing the fact that he already clearly stood out from the pack with his premature gray hair.
Rather than feeling insecure about being different, he focused on his strengths, adding some goofy charm and crazy dancing, to entertain the viewers at home during his American Idol competition.
He understood that a viewer at home wanted to root for a contestant, and that the best way to inspire that rooting feeling was to be a guy who leaves nothing on the field, who gives everything he's got - and maybe a little more.
Taylor already knew how to work a crowd, he'd been at it for 10 years, and he looked to his musical experience when it came time to choose songs that sold his strengths.
Songs that were right in his sweet spot, yet displaying range - songs that would tell the story of his musical identity.
Using his experience leading a band, Taylor taught himself how to get in and out of songs, while squeezing the most out of their melodies.
Having only 2 minutes to perform a song, with a normal length of 3-5 minutes, the idea was to make listeners feel they had heard the whole song.
Taylor said that all of those years facing large crowds in bars around the South had given him valuable experience not just singing, but also editing down songs and distilling their essence.
Unlike current AI competitors, Taylor and his fellow contestants were not allowed to utilize their additional musical skills or utensils as Taylor refers to them.
Not till finale night were we allowed another glimpse of Taylor's phenominal harp playing and we never got to see him with his guitar.
(Yet, Chris was permitted his guitar for one of his performances, forget what it was, but I've never understood why that was allowed.)
There is no doubt that Taylor knew how to capitalize on the visual aspects of his AI performances, who could ever forget his entrance through the audience singing and dancing to "Jailhouse Rock", or when he pulled Paula up to dance with him while singing "Dancing In The Dark"!
The following two videos from American Idol Season 6 Winner Taylor Hicks, probably best illustrate Taylor working the crowd and giving us the viewers at home - everything he had and more!
Taylor Hicks ~ "Play That Funky Music"
Taylor Hicks ~ "Takin It To The Streets"
Taylor Hicks is a multi-talented artist who shines as a live performer!
You never know what he is going to spring on you, whether you are going to see his sensitive, lost in the music side, or his funky let's have some fun side.
One thing is for sure, he will alway's leave you feelin' good and he will always leave you wanting more!!
Perfect examples are the following two videos from one of my favorite concerts, Taylor's Hagerstown concert at the Maryland Theater.
In the first video just listen to the crowd roaring as Taylor prepares to give them his first of two encores for the night!!
He is already lost in the music as he strums the opening chords to "Happier With Him", and though this first video is not the entire song, it captures perfectly the crowd's response to Taylor - from the thunderous roaring prior to his appearance back on stage for his encore - to an audience so awestruck by what they were witnessing - you could hear a pin drop!
video capture by skeeter(Candy)
This second video is of the same Hagerstown performance minus the thunderous roaring from the audience.
It is Taylor's full performance of "Happier With Him" and the video is up close!
video capture by collins316
No one's music has ever touched me as Taylor's does, so today I'm thumbing my nose at the rotten treatment Taylor has received from AI and the PTB, and also at the multitude of bloggers who use his name to attract attention to themselves.
You will soon be singing a different song ... cause baby the best is yet to come - and it would do well to remember this cup of karma:
"The highest joy in life comes from staying true to yourself and finding the courage to live your dream"
That being said I'd like to introduce you to another performer with the courage to stay true to his music and live his dreams.
Singer, songwriter, and producer Kenny Vance has had a long and varied career in music that began in the late 1950's.
He formed the group Jay and the Americans, a group that recorded 15 albums, toured extensively and opened for The Beatles and The Rolling Stones for each of their first US performances.
The core of his interest in music was vocal harmony, from the doo wop groups with which he started out to his long tenure as a member of Jay and the Americans in the 1960's.
I was looking for a Jay and the Americans' "Only in America" video to fit in with the more or less AI theme I began with and ran across this musical comedy of "Only in America" - I think you'll appreciate some of the points made here!
It tells the unauthorized, partially-fictionalized story of real-life 1960's pop vocal legends Jay and The Americans.
The film illustrates their struggles with a fickle music industry, a New York mafia family, and, above all, each other!
Packed with retro costumes, fun celebrity impersonations and a bounty of great Rock and Roll performances, "Only in America" is a campy yet touching story about friendship, changing times, and the price of success.
Produced strictly as a portfolio piece, the film has not been released commercially.
In the 1990's, Kenny returned to his original love by forming his own neo-doo wop group, Kenny Vance & the Planotones.
When Kenny Vance started talking about creating a new band at 50, people said: "You're too old." "You're wasting your money." "There's too much competition." "Don't do it."
But he did it anyway and that reminds us that the highest joy in life comes from staying true to yourself and finding the courage to live your dream.
From the 1970's on, Kenny used his musical knowledge in a series of films while also releasing the occasional solo album.
Kenny Vance stars in "The Performer" music video.
Set in Brooklyn, New York in the 90's the soulful melody and authentic Doo-Wop talent make this a must see for fans interested in the rich history of the music and the place where it was born.
Before Lauryn Hill or "Sesame Street Doo Wop" this legenday performer blessed us with his perfect pitch and he is still rockin' crowds in his hometown of Brooklyn, New York and worldwide, a gentleman with soul in his doowop.
I hope you have enjoyed today's musical journey, please excuse my sidetracked rant and lengthy post, my final thought is today's cup.
"All things are subject to interpretation, whichever interpretation prevails at a given time - is a function of power and not truth."
Monday, April 21, 2008
photo caption: Taylor Hicks' Hard Rock Live Concert,
Hard Rock Cafe Orlando August 26, 2007
Thankfully, there are hours upon hours of concert footage from Taylor Hicks' 2007 Spring, Summer and Asian Tour available at You Tube.
God bless You Tube and all of the wonderful people who have generously shared their concert videos!!
If you need a little medication, I recommend some "Medicated Goo" to supply your daily Taylor Hicks' fix, "Heaven Knows" it works for me!
Today I thought we would revisit his concert at Hard Rock Live ... a fabulous time was had ... not only by the concert attendees ... but Taylor and the band had quite bit of good old-fashioned fun too!
This wasn't a concert I was lucky enough to have attended so I really appreciate having the videos, some are just a short tease that will leave you wanting more ... but then when have we ever had enough Taylor???
photo caption: Taylor Hicks Hard Rock Live Marquee
photo credit: Ragsqueen (Thank You!)
I guarantee you'll be smiling after watching these clips, a dose of Taylor is so infectious!
Taylor Hicks ~ "Medicated Goo"
video capture: antnana
You Tube Link
Taylor Hicks ~ "Heavens Knows"
video capture: antnana
You Tube Link
Taylor Hicks ~ "I'm All Right"
video capture: Teri(Cydter)
Taylor Hicks ~ "Heart and Soul"
video capture: Teri(Cydter)
Taylor Hicks - "Gonna Move"
video capture: Teri (Cydter)
Hard Rock Cafe Orlando, located at Universal Studios in the City Walk entertainment complex, is the biggest HRC in the world and is home to Hard Rock Live Orlando, a 3,000-person concert venue.
"The music speaks what cannot be expressed,
Soothes the mind and gives it rest,
Heals the heart and makes it whole,
Flows from heaven to the soul."
I know I sound like a broken record when I urge you to leave a comment or a rating when you revisit these concert videos ... but remember they are the next best thing to being there, and a great way to show our appreciation to those who captured these memories, as well as to show our support of Taylor!!!
There is nothing like Taylor live in concert, no substitute for the real thing, but till we hear CD's done and it's time to hit the road, take time to enjoy the treasures we already have!
Thursday, April 17, 2008
photo caption: The Soul Connection of Taylor Hicks and Percy Sledge was obvious when they connected again at the The Alabama Music Hall of Fame 2008 Induction Banquet and Awards Show.
"One of the highlights of my career before Idol was the night I had the honor of opening up for the amazing Percy Sledge in Tuccaloosa, Alabama.
After Percy sang his soul classics, including "When A Man Loves A Woman" and "Dark End Of The Street", you could put a fork in me, because I was pretty much done.
That night as I stood backstage I remember being struck that I was in the presence of a man who'd been singing some of the same songs for more than thirty years.
Yet somehow he still sang them like he meant every word.
Percy Sledge could do that because he did mean those songs.
He understood that singing your heart out is not about what you get paid or how many people are watching you.
Singing is about passing something on and connecting with whoever is out there in the dark watching".
Percy Sledge will forever be associated with "When a Man Loves a Woman," a pleading, soulful ballad he sang with wrenching, convincing anguish and passion.
Sledge sang all of his songs that way, delivering them in a powerful rush where he quickly changed from soulful belting to quavering, tearful pleas.
It was a voice that made him one of the key figures of deep Southern soul during the late '60s.
Not only did he sing deep soul, but Sledge was among the pioneers of country-soul, singing songs by Charlie Rich and Kris Kristofferson in a gritty, passionate style.
Percy Sledge know as the The Golden Voice of Soul was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 1997.
At the 2008 Awards Induction the stars didn't just fall on Alabama ... they thundered in.
From the 'live' jukebox of classic and contemporary songs performed by some of the state’s most decorated musicians, to the pre-and post-party gatherings that rivaled some of Hollywood’s best, the 2008 Alabama Music Hall of Fame was a showstopper.
photo caption: Taylor Hicks performs his self-penned "Soul Thing"
photo caption: Taylor Hicks and Percy Sledge share a smile as they pose for photos on the red carpet.
photo caption: This brick sided nightclub houses the Rhythm and Blues section of it's Hall of Fame Inductees.
Alabama musicians, producers and other achievers are commemorated with memorabilia in the hall of fame's museum in Tuscumbia.
Hicks said he donated his 'infamous purple jacket', which drew applause and criticism from 'Idol' viewers, for his display case at the museum.
Hicks said the last time he wore the purple jacket, he was headlining the "Idol" tour at the BJCC Arena in August 2006.
"I wore it in Birmingham and retired it," he said, laughing.
The Taylor Hicks' display will be unveiled May 10, 2008 between 10 and 10:30 am.
"Rhythm is my Heart,
Groove is my Soul,
GOD is my DJ,
And this is the Soundtrack of my Life."
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
"I like to take the Willie Nelson approach to music.
You can’t really pigeonhole me.
And I love that because down deep inside that really makes me feel unique.
I have no one genre, it’s tough to pinpoint my music and it’s because I’ve grown up on all kinds.
And I try to have all kinds of influences in my music.”
The blues came out to play in this gem of a video from Taylor Hicks' Pearl River concert!
I love the blue coloring that enhances the video, and Taylor's superb performance, I've tagged it The Blue Pearl!
"The Right Place" ~ Taylor Hicks
with the Little Memphis Blues Orchestra
(formerly The Taylor Hicks Band)
and his Tour Band guitarist Josh Smith
Pearl River Resort
Video capture: turk711
Pearl River photo credits: Ragsqueen
The View screencaps: Twitter
Yesterday's blog title was 'The Real Deal', and by coincidence today I happened across what Jim Vallance had to say about Taylor Hicks and "The Right Place" in a previous blog entry titled 'The Right Place ~ The Right One'.
You can read the entire post from November here ... but this is what jumped out at me:
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".
Another coincidence I'd like to share with you is a Swedish group I ran across, with their roots planted in the blues, who just happen to be called The Blue Pearls!
The Blue Pearls are a band from Sweden playing the music they love.
They communicate their own blues and rock feeling, which is improvisational innovative music - rooted in blues.
The Blue Pearls mainly play compositions written by bandleader/guitarist Bela Stephens altered with Fleetwood Mac classics.
Bela Stephens is the powerhouse of The Blue Pearls being guitarist, composer & bandleader.
He can take you to guitar heaven with a superb lyrical solo on his vintage Les Paul or an adrenalin charged high-octane wild wah-wah solo.
"People" ~ The Blue Pearls
“My music had roots which I'd dug up from my own childhood,
musical roots buried in the darkest soil.”
I hope you have enjoyed today's blusey stroll down musical memory lane!
Monday, April 14, 2008
Taylor Hicks: I Won't Change
CBS News SHOWBUZZ
"I'm not going to change for anything," he insisted, whether it's his musical style or his salt and pepper hair. "I'm just who I am."
"If the person doesn't change, the surroundings change, but the music stays true - that's the stuff that's going to set you free."
Taylor's surroundings may have changed recently, but here's The Real Deal as Taylor gets into the groove with George Porter!
He's sportin' a sexy 5:00 shadow and some new wicked sideburns, but his gorgeous silver mane is still a shinin' and so are his musical roots!
Taylor Hicks jamming with PBS (Porter, Batiste, Stoltz)
@ Zydeco in Birmingham, Alabama on 04-11-08
George Porter Jr., Russell Batiste, and Brian Stoltz have lived a musical history that few, if any musicians, will ever have the chance to live.
They are originators of a sound and groove so intense that it pulls together and then transcends mind, body, and soul.
Their natural gravitation toward improvisation is what makes every PBS show a unique event.
They are from a place where no musician will ever walk again.
Their past collectively span over 80 years of playing a major role in funk, r&b, rock, and soul music.
They were raised on and taught the old school street methods of playing and for this reason they are considered the "real deal" by their peers as well as those in the industry.
This was just one of 5 videos at You Tube shared by cashbham - check them out!
It was another magical night in Birmingham, and huge thanks go out to cashbham for capturing Taylor's improv performance with PBS!
It was great to see Taylor sitting in with George Porter again, getting funky and having fun!
No hint was given as to what Nashville has added to Taylor's musical style, but we know Taylor's always going to have a heart full of soul!
"The highest joy in life comes from staying true to yourself,
and finding the courage to live your dream."
Thursday, April 10, 2008
"My music is a journey that is always moving forward; who knows what the next CD will bring!"
As Taylor Hicks spent the majority of 2007 on tour, here in the States and then in Asia, we've had a great deal of time to speculate what musical road his next CD would travel.
Here's a look back at what Taylor had to say about Modern Whomp and his self-titled 2006 'Taylor Hicks' CD!
Taylor described his Modern Whomp music as ...
"soulful, earthy, organic, kind of hip".
'Taylor Hicks' available @ Amazon
"You want to take your music and evolve it.
I haven't had the money or the time to expand on my musical thoughts in the past .. I definitely wanted to "produce" this album, I've always wanted to expand on everything, the vocals, the arrangements the depth of the whole song – watch them evolve.
This music is a journey that is always moving forward; who knows what the next CD will bring but I definitely needed and wanted this one to be 'produced'.
Still, while the idea of going forward and evolving is great, I'll always be able to get back to my roots if I want to.
Right now though, I really wanted to give this type of sound a shot.
It's all part of my entire expanding vision; it's where I'm at right now.
My thing, the thing I'm good at, is the live performance.
I'm still in the learning process of being a recording artist – it's a big curve, a big ride.
I can always strip the sound back if I want to but I wanted to add those layers this time and see where it goes."
I hope that you have been enjoying Taylor's funky "Heaven Knows" and "The Maze" playing in my audio player, now I'd like to share my latest video creation with you!
Funky Blue Soul is an apt description for my animated cartoon!
Rufus Thomas ~ "Funky Chicken"
Rufus Thomas, was one of the most beloved figures in the history of Blues and the renowned ambassador of Memphis music itself.
A truly unique personality, who called himself "The World's Oldest Teenager," Thomas' career spanned more than 70 years.
From the 1940s onward, he personified Memphis music; as a recording artist, he wasn't a major innovator, but he could always be depended upon for some good, silly, and/or outrageous fun with his soul dance tunes.
He was one of the few soul stars to reach his commercial and artistic peak in middle age, and was a crucial mentor to many important Memphis blues and soul musicians.
He recorded music as early as 1941, but really made his mark on the Memphis music scene as a deejay on WDIA, one of the few black-owned stations of the era.
He also ran talent shows on Memphis' famous Beale Street that helped showcase the emerging skills of such influential figures as B.B. King, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Junior Parker, Ike Turner, and Roscoe Gordon.
Thomas hit his commercial peak in the early '70s, when "Do the Funky Chicken," "(Do The) Push and Pull," and "The Breakdown" all made the R&B Top Five.
As the song titles themselves make clear, funk was now driving his sound rather than blues or soul.
Thomas drew upon his vaudeville background to put them over on-stage with fancy footwork that displayed remarkable agility for a man well into his 50s.
In 2001, Rufus Thomas was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.
Later that year, on December 15, he died at St. Francis hospital in Memphis, Tennessee from heart failure.
I hope you've enjoyed today's musical journey, and my new video, and that you'll sit a spell and tell me what you thought :-)
To laugh often and love much;
To win the respect of intellingent persons and the affection of children;
To earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To give of one's self;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived - this is to have succeeded.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson~
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
caption: Taylor Hicks and Michael Buble ... So Different and Yet
Back in December a discussion began that resulted in a blog topic here titled So Different and Yet.
My friend, and across the border partner, Karin had just watched Michael Buble's interview on The Glen Beck Show and started musing about the many similarities between Michael Buble and Taylor Hicks.
It's a hot topic here at 'The Pond' with an ongoing discussion that you are invited to join!
Just click on So Different and Yet (above) to muse along with us and to enjoy the videos of both Michael's and Taylor's interviews from The Glen Beck Show!
Continuing the saga ...
Award Winning Artists Recognized
photo caption: Taylor Hicks poses with his America's Music Award received at the Alabama Hall of Fame 2008 Induction Ceremony.
Michael Buble poses with his Fan Choice Award received at the 2008 Juno Awards in Calgary.
Reading IS Fundamental
photo caption: Taylor Hicks gets “caught reading” for the “Alabama Gets Caught Reading” Poster Series being distributed throughout the state by the Alabama Center for the Book at Auburn University.
photo caption: Just before Sunday night's JUNO Awards, Michael Buble and his manager Bruce Allen handed a $140,000 donation over to the Canadian Raise-a-Reader literacy program.
The money was raised from ticket sales from Michael's recent cross-Canada tour.
So Different and Yet ....
A new Taylor Hick's video with a great storyline, set to
Michael Buble's "That's Life"
video credit: KarinP
Karin has not only become a topnotch videographer with her montages for Taylor Hicks ... her high-quality video captures of Michael Buble from the 2008 Juno Awards have been receiving Top-Rated honors at You Tube and are linked to the Official Michael Buble site too!!
This is a copy from Karin's You Tube page, taken late yesterday.
I just want to say CONGRATULATIONS KARIN on the 12 honors your Juno Award's video capture received!!!
Way to go my friend and way to go Michael!!!
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Honors for This Video:
#66 - Most Discussed (Today) - Canada
#12 - Most Discussed (Today) - Entertainment - Canada
#55 - Most Viewed (Today) - Canada
#24 - Most Viewed (Today) - Entertainment - Canada
#16 - Top Favorites (Today) - Canada
#6 - Top Favorites (Today) - Entertainment - Canada
#68 - Top Favorites (This Week) - Entertainment - Canada
#61 - Top Rated (Today) - Canada
#8 - Top Rated (Today) - Entertainment - Canada
#78 - Top Rated (This Week) - Entertainment - Canada
Michael Buble 2008 Fan Choice Award Winner
Juno Awards/"My Everything"
video capture: KarinP
Lastly a big thank you to my friend Darlin' (DidNotExpectThat) for her photo of Taylor I used in depicting So Different And Yet .. fabulous Darlin' ... simply fabulous!!!
"Imagination is the beginning of creation.
You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine,
and at last you create what you will."
~George Bernard Shaw~