Woman's Gotta Have It
Filmed at The Workplay Theater in Birmingham, AL 9-26-09 with Ona Watson.
Song available on Taylor's new album, The Distance.
On sale now! Pick your copy today!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Review - The New Taylor Hicks Album, "The Distance"

It’s almost here folks! On March 10, the new indie album from Taylor Hicks drops! The post American Idol album – the rock, country, gospel, folkie, soul and R&B album we are so highly anticipating! Yes, you get all those Taylor’s in one comfy album right here! AOL leaked the album on Tuesday and we boy did we get a preview, er, we actually got the entire album! Whoa! Check it out here!

This is one MAJOR departure from the “Idol” album on JRecords. It doesn’t really sound anything like it. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed that first album, I though it had some great tunes on it. This new album, however, is pure, untouched, unfeathered Taylor Hicks with about as many genres and styles as one can muster on one album. A real treasure in this day and age of one sound, one genre albums. If you’re looking for that, well, this is not the album for you, but if you love a mixture of songs styles with an emphasis on songwriting, then this will definitely ruffle your skirt. I can say with complete conviction, that if Taylor had stayed with the major label, this album would never have gotten made – and I mean that in the most positive way possible. Going indie is the key to Taylor Hicks’ freedom as a performer, singer and songwriter. Below are the 11 songs that appear on the basic album with 3 extra tracks appearing on various exclusive versions from Walmart, Target and another spot I’m not yet aware of. Here are my thoughts on the tracks. I’d love to get your impressions as well! And don't forget, March 10th. Write that date down to head to your local retailer and add this gem to your CD collection! Pre-Order the album here!

The Distance: Great uplifting anthem to start off the album with a punch. A self penned tune, quite a departure from his past writing style! I was really trying to figure out the influences on this song and came up with a cross between Billy Joel and John Denver. I love the sentiment of song – an attempt to bridge the barriers in the world – especially relevant today. A powerfully delivered tune. A-

What’s Right Is Right: Absolutely the best choice as the first single from the album. A terrific vocal along with the bluesy, sensual sax and the smooth jazz sounds of the organ makes this an instant winner and tailored made for the Adult Contemporary market. The lyrics aren’t going to pierce any new musical barriers, but it goes down like a familiar warm cup of hot chocolate and is very listenable on repeated plays. A

New Found Freedom: This must be the gospel sound we’ve heard Taylor talk about when he describes the various genres on the album. Like The Distance, it sounds like a guy whose sense of self is crystal clear – a guy who has the world at his disposal – a real sense of freedom from the struggling path that has gotten him to this point in life. A very uplifting song that I could easily hear on one of the Christian stations. Again, another 180 degree departure for Taylor). B

Nineteen: Oh yea. I really love this song. I love this song for its simplicity. Songs with a socially relevant message and ones which can incorporate that message with a story line just captivate me - and this one delivers in spades. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to find out the song was inspired by Pat Tillman, the ex football star that was killed in Iraq. Probably the meaningful, most political song on the album. Definitely a great candidate for a single marketed to country radio. B+

Once Upon a Lover: Whoa! Some very cool scratchy style old vinyl effects to start the song off! You know, we just do not hear songs like this very often anymore. A creative and interesting touch I must say. Leave it to Mr. Hicks to find that idea like this and stick it in there (and if this was Mr. Climie’s idea, kudos to you, sir). A very well constructed song with a great vocal that completely left me swinging and swaying to the beat. There’s no question that Taylor’s earlier song on the new Early Works album, Hold Onto Your Love, was written in the same calypso mode. This one is a grown up version of that. B+

Seven Mile Breakdown: Hell ya! This is the song for those looking for the kick-ass bar band Taylor! This is just plain great! Written by his good friend Wynn Christian, it’s a song he’s been singing forever, so it seems. The driving drum beat keeps the song moving forward. Definitely has the potential to be the best song for a live performance – in fact, he did a wonderful job capturing that “live concert” sound in this studio recording. Not an easy task. One of my top 5 songs on the album. A+

Maybe You Should: This is the song for those looking for the singer/songwriter, the acoustic, tender, and emotional man. I’ll admit, the first few listens had me reaching for the extra strength Kleenex. What a raw song for Taylor – a very personal lyric, no doubt. This ditty has overtaken “The Fall” as my favorite song of all time from him. Beautiful lyrics – check! Beautiful melody – check! Beautiful arrangement – check! Yes, everything about this song hits home with me. A++

Keepin’ It Real: Ha!!!!! You go Taylor! I’m a sucker for a song that injects a bit of truth in a seemingly light, cutsey song. Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and OJ…. We have your number. Oh yea…. I don’t know why I love this song so much. I just love lyrics, “she’s got the Paparazzi behind her Maserati...” and any song where I can hear Taylor say the word “Bootie” can’t be all bad. ;) Yes indeed….. B+

I Live On a Battlefield: Another top 5 song for me, written by Nick Lowe. Vocally, it fits right into his pocket – as well as style-wise. A bit of arrangement departure from the original, but it just grips you with a tight arrangement, not to mention that it is delivered masterfully. This song reminds me of the old folky songs from the early 60s with phrases such as “muddy waters”. A definite throwback here. A-

Wedding Day Blues: Okay, I knew this was coming, but I just don’t feel this song. The words are cute – reminds me of the storyline in the movie “The Graduate” – a twisty turn, ironical lyric but the melody and the construction of the song isn’t sinking in with me. I’ll definitely put this one in the novelty song column. I’ve give Taylor two points for this - one, it sure isn’t something you’ll see matched on your local radio station and two, he's got a great sense of humor! ;) Dare devil Taylor all the way! C+

Woman’s Gotta Have It: Without a doubt, this song is my favorite cut on the album. Taylor and guest vocalist and American Idol Season 5 finalist, Elliott Yamin, both shine on this wonderful old 1972 soul classic from the great Bobby Womack. It peaked at #1 on the R&B charts back then. It just goes to prove that a great song is a great song, no matter how many years later it gets performed. That gut wrenching growl in the middle of the song – true to form as Womack did it on his own original. I adore that Taylor kept in the opening, speaking part of the original as well. This is a technique that was very common during the Motown days of the 60s and 70s and has been a lost art for decades. Their vocal blend and the back and forth banter that closes the song is just plain wonderful to hear from these two great soul stylists. It’s a good ‘ol joyous song and one that will get many repeats on my IPod. A+++

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Wrap Out: Taylor Hicks "What's Right Is Right"

Director Jake Davis and Taylor Hicks are going to be giving us a present shortly ... a behind the scenes look at the making of the Taylor's new video! How friggin' cool is that? It's a brilliant 3 1/2 minute piece of art on film for his new single, What's Right Is Right . The entire video encompasses a wide variety of elements that stems back to the 1940's film noir style. I'm very interested in how he put the whole project together. Jake writes on his blog: "...I went into directing this project with the same expectations I always do. You're not going to sleep for the next month, you're going to push yourself like never before, and you're going to be a better director at the end of it. That was the bar and I think we raised it. With my videos I want to make timeless, beautiful, cinematic, iconic, imagery that tells a story people can connect with on an emotional level. I want to be able to look back with no regrets and I want the motion picture to hold up the same way my favorite classic films hold up decades later. I think for the most part we're living in a disposable culture right now and I've never really related to that ideology. The concept of quantity over quality has never appealed to me. Ultimately I'd like this video to stand the test of time..."

Friday, February 20, 2009

Monday, February 16, 2009

Taylor Hicks - New Video Premiere for "What's Right Is Right" Available Now!

Here is the video for Taylor's new single "What's Right is Right". It's a GREAT day in the life of Taylor Hicks and all his fans! Finally a professional video done exactly right! Kudos to Jake Davis (director) and Taylor for giving us what we've been waiting for - for 3 years.

There's so many emotions running through my mind, but I will say that I love this video for it's exceptional use of innuendo, subtleness, and suggestiveness. Definitely has a sensuality that's not in-your-face, but suggestive, like the attraction in this case, is. Fits the song perfectly!

Please view the video over on Yahoo Music and rate and comment on it! Thanks a bunch!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Taylor Hicks and Other Idols Winners and Contestants Celebrate Opening of AI Exhibit in Orlando

Taylor Hicks joined 6 other American Idol winners Thursday, February 12 to help celebrate the grand opening of the new "American Idol Experience" exhibit at Disney World in Orlando, Fl. This was the first time all 7 winners graced a stage together, and didn't Taylor look so dapper? So handsome? So classy? So... so... uh, well you get the picture! Oh yea, can you believe he and Simon Fuller had their picture taken together? Ah, to be a fly on the wall... And you'll notice one bald ugly guy (Daughtry, cough, belch) had the good sense to stay away - why ruin a perfectly good day, right? Anyway, below are some pictures from the event (click to enlarge)!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

"Wedding Day Blues" - One of the Songs On The New CD by Taylor Hicks!

BMI Work #10210835

Songwriter/Composer Current Affiliation CAE/IPI #

Here's a comment about this song I found from THIS BLOG -

"...I know the guy who wrote Wedding Day with Taylor. His name is Allen Little, a great song writer from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. I have heard the song, it is one of the best songs I’ve heard. it is about one hell of wedding crash. I think he has put a lot of time into this album. Him not being under the Idol roof anymore really excites me...."

And another from THIS BLOG ....

"...I have heard nothing but awesome things about this upcoming album. i hear that Wedding Day Blues is about a major wedding crash and is a very smooth song. Should be a hit...."

Let me remind everyone that there's only 30 days left before this album drops!!! It's going to be one of the greatest CDs in my collection - I'm convinced.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Taylor Hicks to Sing at 13th Annual Susan G. Komen's 'Race For The Cure'!

According to a press release from BusinessWire.Com, the Los Angeles County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure® is pleased to announce the upcoming 13th Annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure®, a walk and run to benefit the Los Angeles County Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure®. The flagship event is scheduled for Sunday, March 15, 2009, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

Race for the Cure® co-hosts Emily Procter (“CSI Miami”), Judy Reyes (“Scrubs”) and Poppy Montgomery (“Without a Trace”) will be joined by more than 13,000 participants to raise awareness and educate citizens throughout Los Angeles County. In addition, 2006 American Idol winner, Taylor Hicks, will be giving a soulful performance.

The Race for the Cure is our flagship event and our largest fundraiser for the Los Angeles County affiliate,” explains Catherine Mullally, Executive Director, Los Angeles County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure®. “Each year we reach out to people in the community to be a part of this race and help us all become one step closer to living in a world without breast cancer. This year we’re thrilled to have such notable celebrities offering their participation and entertainment for the survivors and race participants and hope to make this year the most successful fundraiser to date.”

A variety of activities are planned on Race day to accommodate all levels of interest and ability including a Health & Fitness Expo, Jazzercise, 5K Walk, 5K Run, and a 1K Non-competitive Fun Run. Festivities kick off at 9:00 a.m. with Opening Ceremonies and a Celebration of Life Survivor Ceremony.

A million kudos to Taylor for giving his energy and time to SUCH a worthy cause such as this event - an event that could very possibly save thousands of women's lives each year from the horrible disease of breast cancer. No surprise, tho... he has been giving of himself to worthy and charitable events for years now. I can't think of a more compassionate and giving person than him.

Wouldn't it be perfect for him to sing his new single "What's Right is Right" at the event? The lyrics are simply perfect ...."marching step by step, walking side by side", "I'm with you all the way to the finish line....", "We're gonna cross that bridge together." Yes, this song should be adopted by this organization and get played every single year without fail.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Win a Date with American Idol Winner Taylor Hicks

Here's your chance to go on a date with the most handsome, charming and talented man ever to come out of American Idol! Yes, girls, Regis & Kelly are hosting the "Dating With The Stars" contest in February and Taylor Hicks is THE grand prize! Gah! I can hardly contain myself! If I wasn't already married....... !

They write: "..Valentine's Day is right around the corner, but even if you don't have a special someone to celebrate with, it's not too late to find love. In fact, Regis and Kelly are going to play matchmaker! We have two adorable, charming and more importantly single men that we are giving our viewers a chance to go on a date with, which may include a trip to New York City to be on our show. Read on to find out about these bachelors and then let us know why you would make the perfect date. Please note: if selected you should be able to travel to New York the week of February 16th...."

"...Alabama's favorite son continues to be in "The Right Place" since becoming the fifth-season winner of American Idol. During the last three years, Taylor Hicks has seen his Arista debut album certified platinum, performed with the likes of Earth, Wind & Fire, The Allman Brothers and Willie Nelson, toured through Asia, penned a brisk-selling Random House memoir, and made his Broadway debut in Grease.

Currently promoting his new album, in stores March 10, 2009, the platinum-selling singer-songwriter will release The Distance with complete control of direction and ownership of his masters on his solely owned and operated, Modern Whomp Records label via Artist To Market (A2M).

Produced by Simon Climie (Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Faith Hill), and tapping the talents of guitarist Doyle Bramhall II, bassist Nathan East and drummer Abe Laboriel Jr., The Distance features eleven tracks, some co-written by Hicks: "Wedding Day Blues," "Seven Mile Breakdown," "What's Right is Right," "Woman's Gotta Have It," "New Found Freedom," "The Distance," "Nineteen," "I Live on a Battlefield," "Maybe You Should," "Once Upon a Lover of Mine," and "Keepin' It Real."

"'What's Right Is Right' is the soulful love song of the album," says Hicks. "I think it's wonderful message about love that people can relate to. The saxophone subtones as they are called, is where you can actually hear the breath from the instrumentalist before he actually plays the next note. Capturing the sound is almost like a music lesson within a Soulful love song. Subtones are a lost art in music today. These musical nuances do not limit themselves only to 'What's Right Is Right,' but are heard throughout the whole album."

"'The Distance' is my tribute to the world as whole. 'The Distance' is a rock song with a great message for all of us as a people. I wanted to try my hand at writing a harder edged song with a universal message, but not leaving my personal influences behind. The message is really important to me. If we all glanced at the world as a whole 'The Distance' between us will fade."

"'Nineteen' made me cry the first time I heard it. I wanted to arrange the song to where it fit my style. Such powerful imagery. It is American, Patriotic and Honest."

"'Wedding Day Blues' is a great story tune, in the vein of past singer-songwriters. A man attends an ex-lovers wedding and ends up in his own honeymoon."

In August 2009 Taylor released a reflective of his pre-Idol years, Early Works (Vanguard Records), which merged his indie albums In Your Time and Under the Radar into one collection. Along with his contribution to the forthcoming Warren Haynes Christmas Jam, recorded live in Ashville, North Carolina, his own DVD, Whomp at the Warfield (release date to be confirmed), offers fans exhilarating live performances by Taylor and his band at the Warfield Theater in San Francisco.

For now, he is excited to spend the next few months on the road promoting his new album and continuing his run as Teen Angel for the national tour of Grease. Beginning summer of 2008 in New York City, Taylor assumed the role of Teen Angel singing "Beauty School Dropout" performing eight shows a week at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. While also showcasing his harmonica skills, Taylor appreciates the opportunity as "a perfect fit for me to experience Broadway theater," in a musical much-loved for its memorable songs. The three-month role, which began in June, continues to sell-out shows and is currently on a national tour.

Taylor was eight when his family moved from his native Birmingham to nearby Hoover and his parents divorced. Early hardship quickly led him to the warm and tender mercies of soul music. As a youth he realized he had perfect pitch, and taught himself to play guitar and a blues-wailin' harmonica. After graduating high school in 1995, he studied business and journalism at Auburn University and shepherded the release of his first independent album, In Your Time.

Focusing on music full-time, Taylor became a fixture around Birmingham, opening concerts and club dates for visiting stars like James Brown, Tom Petty, Jackson Browne, Robert Randolph, Keb' Mo' and others. He honed his skills and learned to please diverse audiences. "At some of the beach bars I played over the years, I had to entertain 15-year-olds sitting with their 75-year-old grandparents," Taylor recalls. In early 2005, Taylor released his second indie CD, entitled Under the Radar.

His personal twist of fate came in New Orleans, at the wedding of an Auburn friend, the night before Hurricane Katrina hit on August 29, 2005. With his flight cancelled, he was given a free airplane voucher. Earlier that summer, he had considered auditioning for AI in Memphis, but the auditions were cancelled as the city became one of hubs of the Katrina relief effort. Through the summer and fall, however, auditions proceeded in eight cities across the country Taylor eventually used his voucher to travel for a Las Vegas holiday, coincidentally American Idol were auditioning in Vegas during his vacation.

By February, as the fifth season got well underway, two dozen semi-finalists had been chosen. From the start, Taylor's material set him apart, with such blues and funk-based rockers as the Doobie Brothers' "Takin' It to the Streets," Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away," Sam Cooke's "You Send Me," Elvis Presley's "Jailhouse Rock" and "In the Ghetto," and Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness." By May 12, "Soul Patrol!" fever was everywhere as Taylor was brought to Birmingham for a weekend celebration, a concert in his honor and a personal meeting with Governor Bob Riley, who officially proclaimed Monday, May 16 as "Taylor Hicks Day."

A lifetime steeped in the blues, soul and R&B of his native Southern heroes – Ray Charles, Otis Redding, James Brown and Sam Cooke, to name a few – culminated in no uncertain terms as Taylor Hicks won the fifth season of American Idol. It was an emotionally uplifting night – May 24, 2006 – when 36.4 million viewers tuned in to watch the season finale, the year's third-largest audience for a televised event after the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards. More than 63 million votes were cast in crowning a gritty, down-home, white R&B singer the new winner.

Less than three weeks later came the debut of Taylor's first single, "Do I Make You Proud," coupled with "Takin' It to the Streets," culled from the AI Season 5 Encores CD. The single entered at #1 on Billboard's Hot 100, Pop 100 and Single Sales charts, with first-week sales over 190,000 units. As with previous AI winners' singles, a portion of the proceeds from every CD single, download, ringtone and ringback benefited the American Red Cross. Coinciding with the single release, a cover story named Taylor as People magazine's Hottest Bachelor of the Year.

His self-titled album, Taylor Hicks (Arista), was released on December 12, 2006. It debuted in the #2 spot on the Billboard 200 and was quickly certified platinum. Produced by Grammy winner Matt Serletic (Matchbox Twenty, Santana, Willie Nelson, Courtney Love), the album showcased Taylor's talents and roots: from the feel-good groove of "The Runaround" to the ballad "Just to Feel That Way" to the bluesy "Heaven Knows" to the earnest "The Right Place," originally written by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance for Ray Charles to record before his death. During the fifth season of AI, in the summer of 2006, Taylor had already recorded his third indie album, Live at the Workplay Theatre, with the Little Memphis Blues Orchestra.

Audiences cheered Taylor during the summer American Idols Live! tour, and he went on to thrill audiences across Asia. Back in the U.S., Taylor went on the road performing with Willie Nelson, Widespread Panic, The Allman Brothers and Jackson Browne. Adding publishing to his list of growing accomplishments, Taylor's memoir, Heart Full of Soul: An Inspirational Memoir About Finding Your Voice and Finding Your Way (Random House), was released in July 2007. It's clear that Taylor Hicks continues to find his way to success, at a level that a young boy from Birmingham may not have imagined..."

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