Sharing thoughts about Taylor Hicks and concert travels and other musical musings!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Taylor Hicks - 2008 - A Year in Review

As the day winds down and 2008 comes to a close, I look back over the year to see what has happened. From political elections to economical woes this year has been full of surprises and struggle. But one person stands out in the entire year, and that’s Taylor Hicks with the twists and turns his career has taken this year. And as Taylor himself would say, ‘it’s all good!’ Yes, indeed!

January found Taylor Hicks in Charlotte at Palm Night where he sang to a charitable crowd raising funds for The Family Center, an organization formed to prevent and treat child abuse and neglect. With Taylor’s seeming love and warmth towards children, it seems quite natural for Taylor to share his talents to help much needed funds.

But like all of us, sometime pleasure needs to be mixed with fun, and that’s what Taylor Hicks did when he participated in the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in beautiful Palm Desert and La Quinta, CA! I even read where he enjoyed a big stogie after one of the matches he played while he was there!

February had to be a very special month for Taylor Hicks! The Alabama Music Hall of Fame located in Tuscumbia, AL, opened their display honoring three young Alabama men who had made their name a household word on the stage of American Idol: Ruben Studdard, Bo Bice and Taylor Hicks. Later that same night, in Montgomery, the Alabama Music Hall of Fame awarded Taylor the America’s Music Award for upcoming and outstanding new musicians from Alabama. Taylor Hicks was able to play with the likes of Tommy Shaw, Clarence Carter, Percy Sledge and other famous musicians from Alabama.

March would find Taylor Hicks again celebrating children when he performed on the Orlando stage for the Children’s Miracle Network. Taylor would later perform for the Green Hills School Gala in Addison, TX, at the school’s annual fundraising gala.

NASCAR and Talladega in April would be the place to find Taylor Hicks. He started the race out right when he performed “The Star-Spangled Banner”. Hopefully Taylor was able to stick around to see whether his favorite driver won the race or not!

Kentucky in May is the place to be for the famous Kentucky Derby. Taylor Hicks was an honored guest as he attended the Derby and Grand Gala VIP Reception the first week-end in May. Taylor was found sporting a beautiful white suit that would later be the focus of a wonderful career opportunity!

Before May was over, Taylor Hicks supported another Alabama charity, Hannah Homes Shelby where he was the featured artist for the Boots, Blues and BBQ fundraiser. This event, hosted by Governor and Mrs. Bob Riley, drew attendees from all around the country. The highlight, besides Taylor’s performance, was the chance to win dinner for twelve of your closest friends with the Governor and his wife. I tried to win a gorgeous pair of diamonds earrings but lost out when someone topped by bid before the third count!

Ah June! The white suit returns to grace the skyline of New York City as the Brooks Atkinson Theatre announces that Taylor Hicks will be making his Broadway debut as the Teen Angel in “Grease” for the summer! The Soul Patrol and New York City theatre goers loved Taylor Hicks in this role as evidenced by lots of positive publicity, including calling 2008 the Year of the Teen Angel as portrayed by Taylor Hicks! That gray hair in a combed back pompadour and the blue sequined suit with the sequined wings on back were perfect for our guy as he descended to the stage in the Ice Cream Cone from Malt Shoppe heaven!

And as with other golfing opportunities, Taylor Hicks was able to participate in the Autism Speaks Golf Event in Mamaroneck, NY outside New York City. Since the golf event was on a Monday when the theatre would be dark, it was the perfect time for Taylor to pick up his clubs and swing for a worthwhile charitable venture.

Celebrating our Nation’s July 4th birthday in Washington, DC would find Taylor Hicks performing on the stage with Jerry Lee Lewis and Huey Lewis and the News as thousands of people braved the city and rain while thousands of others sat at home as PBS televised the festivities and show. I was one of those souls who decided the televised version was for me!

While performing on Broadway, Taylor Hicks released his “Early Works”, a compilation of songs from his two CDs prior to winning American Idol, “In Your Time” and “Under the Radar”. The CD was released in August as a Target exclusive. We would later learn that Taylor had signed with Artist 2 Market to release his next CD.

After Taylor’s stint on Broadway in early September, Taylor returned home to write music and prepare to record his next record, “The Distance” which is due out March 10, 2009. When he had some down time, Taylor Hicks was found performing with Rick Carter and friends at the War Eagle Supper Club after an Auburn game or Marty’s in Birmingham with other musical cohorts.

By December, with the new CD almost finished, Taylor Hicks joined the “Grease” National Tour where he would reprise his role as Teen Angel. Beginning in January 2009, Taylor will begin incorporating his new single into the show as well as after shows in clubs where the tour will stop. Hopefully, the Traveling Circus will be able to make a stop along the way as well!

For 2008, not everything involving Taylor Hicks was about music or golf. Taylor generously donated autographed items to the Grammy Foundation, LIFEbeat for the Bid2Beat Aids campaign, KOPS for their Holiday charity fundraiser, and Pawz4Music to raise money to buy harmonicas for children. Items won in these ventures, I’m sure, will be treasured keepsakes for those lucky enough to win items. I know the items I won will certainly be!

So as 2009 quickly slips in, we can look forward to Taylor Hicks appearing in “Grease” on the road through the end of May, some concerts after the show in various cities along the way, a new CD in March, and finally the release of the long awaited “Whomp at the Warfield”. Maybe the year will end with another solo tour, but my crystal ball is out for service so I can’t make any prediction with certainty. But whatever Taylor Hicks has in store for us, you can be sure that the Traveling Circus will be along for the ride and enjoying every minute!

Monday, December 29, 2008

New Year's Resolutions - Taylor Hicks Style

As 2008 quickly comes to its close, it’s time to make my resolutions for 2009! And what resolutions I have made! It was impossible to rank them because for me, these all take top priority to have a great year. I’m sure you’ll agree with me, and you might even be able to help me add to the list!


My New Year’s Resolutions for 2009

  • See Taylor Hicks as ‘Teen Angel’ at least one week-end as he makes his way across the US in the “Grease” National Tour
  • Spend lots of week-ends enjoying my granddaughters and have them spend the week-ends with me when possible!

  • Finally put together my scrapbook of all the Taylor Hicks concerts that I attended in 2007

  • Walk a little more and eat a little less, which includes more cooking at home and less eating out

  • Watch Taylor Hicks in as many concerts or after-shows as possible, given the current state of the economy

  • Make sure that everything I do is both purposeful and fun!

  • Make sure I get at least two copies of “The Distance” when it’s released in early spring – one for the car and one for the house!

  • Give thanks for all blessings that I receive during the year, and remember the source from which those blessing come

  • Support those that need it with my time and resources, whether it’s a contribution to Kid One Transport or sending Taylor Hicks’ CDs to our troops

  • Watch “Whomp at the Warfield” at least 10 times and enjoy it more each time!

  • Live each day to its fullest and say “thank you” at the end of each day

  • Travel with friends and family whenever the opportunity arises, especially if a Taylor Hicks performance is part of the activities!

  • Live well, love much and laugh often – because these are the secrets to a happy life!

Happy New Year Everyone!

May 2009 be the best year ever!



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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year

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The Traveling Circus wishes everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! May all your dreams come true as we celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of a new. Let's remember the reason for this season and give thanks for both what we have received and what we didn't.

To good friends, good times, good memories and much more Taylor Hicks!

With love,
Mandy aka RagsQueen


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Sunday, December 21, 2008

12 Days of Christmas - Taylor Hicks Style


One of my favorite Christmas songs is “The Twelve Days of Christmas” so I thought I’d have a little fun with it and make it about Taylor Hicks! Hope you enjoy! And also have yourself a Merry Little Christmas too!

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

12 Taylor Hicks concert tickets
11 airline vouchers
10 restaurant gift cards
9 hotel room keys
8 tickets to see “Grease”
7 digital camera cards
6 tickets for Taylor’s after shows
5 different Taylor Hicks’ CDs
4 new outfits to wear
3 new Taylor Hicks’ tee shirts
2 meet & greet passes
And 1 special Taylor Hicks’ autograph!











Merry Christmas!








Pictures & Video Courtesy of TNT & blondi0001

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Taylor Hicks "The Distance" - Coming Febuary 10, 2009!

Taylor Hicks has gone the distance from ten years on the bar circuit to winning American Idol to a national solo tour to Broadway to a national Broadway tour. Now Taylor is putting that distance into his latest project, his second album! With music and lyrics written by Taylor and other collabatours, the new album will be release on Taylor's own label, Modern Whomp Records and distributed by Artist 2 Market. Taylor Hicks has certainly gone the distance, and now "The Distance" will be released February 10, 2009! Taylor says the style is going to be a little bit blues, little bit country, and a little bit gospel!

Check out the video below from PRO 92-FM in Providence, RI and pictures from Taylor Hicks' MySpace photobucket

THE DISTANCE

coming February 10, 2009

from Taylor Hicks!

In the Studio - Taylor Hicks' MySpace Photos


Interview credit: PRO 92 FM, Providence, RI & willgilbert1969

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Taylor Hicks, "Grease" and Providence (RI, that is!)

As the sky darkens to indicate night is covering the ground, I realize that I am missing the opening night of the "Grease"National Tour, staring Taylor Hicks as Teen Angel, which starts tonight in Providence, RI, at the Providence Performing Arts Center. Instead, I'm having to remember those times I watched Taylor Hicks slide across the Broadway stage in an ice cream cone in New York City! It's not quite the same as being there, I know, but it will have to do for right now.

In just minutes the Rhode Island crowd will be witnessing Taylor Hicks open the doors of that ice cream cone suspended twenty feet or more in the air. They will watch him as the elevator lift descends to the floor where Taylor will croon "Beauty School Dropout" to Frenchy, trying to convince her to go back to high school to earn her degree. And the audience will be mesmerized by the glittering blue suit adorned with sequins to form the angel wings on the back of the jacket.

And by the time I get through dinner tonight that same audience will have watched the finale and curtain call where Taylor Hicks once again gets to perform a solo part and do some hand-jive as he dances his way to the end of the show. They may even get a special treat of a new song from Taylor that will be on his latest CD to be released in February 2009! Taylor Hicks has said in a number of recent interviews that he will be performing a new song from the CD at the end of each show. Sort of like a Taylor Hicks mini-concert coupled with a musical - a way to experience Taylor as an actor, singer and musician!

Yes, I'm wishing I could be there. But I'll wait for the reviews from fellow Soul Patrollers who are going to be there to cheer Taylor Hicks and applaud his performance. I hope they receive the treat of new music that is going to be incorporated as part of the show. No one knows for sure when those extra performances are to start, but I sure hope Providence is the starting point! Maybe as the name implies, providence will take over in Providence. A Soul Patroller can only hope!

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Taking Time for Being Thankful

The leaves are turning magnificent colors, the air is getting that nose nipping chill, the pumpkins are plump and the shops are decorating for the holidays. Our last holiday of the fall season is next week, a day of bounty, family, friends, memories, parades and ballgames. A day to reflect on what we have to be thankful for. For some, it may not be a good day, for others, it will be a day to be as stuffed as the turkey, and for others, perhaps just another day.

As I sit here right now, I have a lot to be personally thankful for. I have a good job that covers the bills and allows me to travel some, especially when I need to hear some good music and see that ‘handsome brown-eyed man’ named Taylor Hicks! I have a healthy family, two beautiful granddaughters who light up my day and two gorgeous cats that have to be with me constantly when I’m home. My home is warm and dry and the pantry is well-stocked. My SUV runs well and the tank is nearly full. Yes, I know I am blessed, and equally as bless as others. We are alive and we are free.

Perhaps as we sit around the family table this holiday, there are other things we can do to help others have a better holiday season. Taylor Hicks has brought a lot of us together through his music, and we are so much better for it. Our circle of friends has widened and made our lives more full.

This year, two fan boards have gotten together to help spread that joy to several less fortunate children in Taylor Hicks’ Birmingham hometown. The Official Soul Patrol (TOSP) and The Taylor Hicks Community (TTHC) have teamed up together to bring Christmas cheer to several Birmingham Salvation Army Angels this year. No donation is too small and any donation will be appreciated. If you’d like to help, go to one of the following site to sign up or donate – just remember – Taylor Hicks brought us together, and together we can Tay-it-Forward!

TOSP: http://www.theofficialsoulpatrol.com/Angel_Tree
THHC: http://thetaylorhickscommunity.com/angeltree

And one more thing that will also cost very little and will mean so much – saying thank you to a soldier healing at Walter Reed Medical Center this holiday season. To participate, send your cards and greeting to:

Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20307-5001

Finally, from the RagsQueen and the Traveling Circus -
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Taylor Hicks and Supporting Our Troops

November 11 is the official day to remember our veterans, those men and women who have given their time and lives to serve and protect our country. As member of the Soul Patrol it’s also a time to remember how Taylor Hicks has supported our troops.

Shortly after winning American Idol Season 5’s contest, Taylor Hicks performed at the “Stadium of Fire” in Provo, UT in celebration of our armed forces. On the stage that night Taylor performed “Takin’ It to the Streets”, his original “The Deal” and his first single, “Do I Make You Proud”.

For those that attended a show during the Season 5 American Idol Summer Tour, you will recall that Taylor Hicks always dedicated his hit single, “Do I Make You Proud”, to the our troops. The first time I actually heard Taylor perform the song live and made the dedication I was deeply moved by his simple gesture of honoring those men and women of our armed forces.

Just before the winter holidays, Taylor Hicks performed at a USO show aboard the USS Ronald Reagan while it was docked in San Diego, CA. I’m sure those men and women along with their families enjoyed their time listening to Taylor’s music as he sang for their entertainment.

Taylor Hicks has continued to lend his support in honoring our troops by allowing his name to be used for the ‘Taylor Hicks, Proud of our Troops Drives’ where fans have sent books and CDs to our troops overseas and at Walter Reed Medical Center. The troop drive, started by Purplebutterflies, or Jean to those who know here, is a great way for Taylor’s fan to help share Taylor’s music and story with others.

When “Do I Make You Proud” was first released in the summer of 2006, the first CD drive took place. Later, when “Taylor Hicks”, Taylor’s first post-Idol CD was released, another drive occurred to send our troops copies of the music. Then in the summer of 2007 when Taylor’s memoir, “Heart Full of Soul” came out, a third drive was set up for books to be sent to our troops and a later drive helped send books to Walter Reed Medical Center for troops who were there for treatment from military injuries.

Solders’ Angels, a nonprofit organization located in Newbury Park, CA helps distribute those books and CDs to the troops. Amazon will actually ship books and CDs ordered directly from them to Solders’ Angels so that postage only has to be paid once, saving the sender additional money and hopefully allowing them to send even more CDs!

With the upcoming release of Taylor Hicks’ sophomore album in February 2009, I feel certain another drive will take place to continue spreading the music of Taylor as well as a way for us to support our troops.

So as Veterans’ Day approaches, may we remember those military personnel who have gone before and those who continue to support our country, to defend our freedoms and protect our safety.



And keep in mind that if you want to do something special for our troops, send copies of Taylor Hicks’ music or books to our troops to honor them and give them music to enjoy.

For additional information, please visit the following websites:
Taylor Hicks – Proud of Our Troops Drive
www.jewelrysprout.com/taylor-hicks-cd-drive.html

Soldiers’ Angels
http://www.soldiersangels.org/

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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Our Own Taylor Hicks Journey

Taylor Hicks has been on his own personal journey, but so have his faithful followers known as the Soul Patrol. And man, what a wonderful journey we, those fans, have had……

Have you ever read something that left you with that ‘wishing you had written that’ feeling? Well, just the other day I was reading a new blog and that day’s entry at http://thetaylorhickscommunity.blogspot.com/ and that’s just how I felt after I had finished reading it. I immediately contacted the writer and requested permission to repost it here because I felt her words were exactly what I was thinking and she had said it the most eloquently!

"We've come so far....."


“Taylor has come from a young, hopeful musician recording his first album at 19, to the svelte, hand-jivin’ star of Grease! He has gone abroad, gone jamming, and gone to Broadway. He has parked the old van and has ridden beside the driver on his own luxury tour bus. He’s been in a bubble, a golf cart, and an ice cream cone. He’s been on the 5-story billboard on the corner of 47th Street and Broadway.”

“We have come from routines that sometimes bordered on boring to dealing with “general admission” and standing in one place much longer than God ever intended. We have boarded planes and trains, driven back roads, gotten lost, found our way and, in the end, always made it to wherever Taylor was. We know whomp, swamp rock, and blue-eyed soul. We read Rolling Stone—don’t tell the kids!”

“We’ve learned to live in cyberspace. We can upload, download, and overload. We blog, post, and embed. We write html, create videos, store pictures in a bucket, and respond to 253 emails while eating dinner.”

“What’s next? We went to Broadway to see Taylor as he invited us to do. Now, he is bringing Broadway to many of our hometowns! Spring will bring us new Taylor music. We see exciting prospects for the journey ahead. We’ve said it before…we will be there.”

“We know one thing for sure…our way will be inspired by Taylor Hicks. His quest for something more in his life has made our lives richer. Someone has said that it is not the destination but the journey that matters.”

“We’ve come so far. We still have far to go. Taylor recently wrote with the release of Early Works, “Thanks for coming on the ride.”

“Thanks, Taylor, for taking us!”


Ah, yes, thanks Taylor Hicks for showing us, particularly us older fans, that we aren’t dried up old prunes, that we still have lots of get up and get, and that we stand ready to take up any challenge you present us. Thanks for coming into our homes, our hearts, our minds, and our lives. You have enriched us with new music, new friends, new opportunities, and new prospects. You’ve shown us that gray hair can be an asset, that dreams can come true, that hard work pays off, and that “the road can be your friend” and ours.


If you are looking for more information on what Taylor Hicks is up, make some new friends, or just hang out, there’s a great place on the web that will fill that need. Please stop by thetaylorhickscommunity where you are always welcome!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Taylor Hicks: His Trip Around the Sun

I bet with a title like this you think Taylor Hicks is about to board a spaceship for a trip around the sun! And the past couple of years may just seem like he has been skyrocketed….to stardom that is!

You see it takes 365 days and nights for our planet to make just one trip around the sun, or a year. Considering all that has happened for Taylor Hicks during his latest trip around the sun, it has been a whale of year for him. Taylor’s 32nd year on this earth has been astounding! What will come with his 33rd year?!?!?!

Back last October, just a short year ago, as Taylor was starting his 32nd trip around the sun, he was just finishing up his first solo national tour. He’d opened for Earth, Wind and Fire over the Labor Day week-end which really marked the end of the summer portion of his tour, but in October and November he was still making a few last stops. Like Millersville University where Taylor was the entertainment for their homecoming week-end.

And had Game 5 of the 2007 World Series been played, we would have seen Taylor Hicks singing our national anthem before the first ball was thrown out! Too bad the Boston Red Sox won their fourth game in a row on Sunday against the Colorado Rockies!

November was a dry month for Taylor Hicks fans – his only performance was at the Silver Star Casino in Philadelphia, Mississippi. Not knowing when Taylor might appear again, a number of Soul Patrol made the trip and the huge ballroom looked filled to capacity. Taylor did not disappoint as he was joined by former band mates, the Little Memphis Blues Orchestra and Josh Smith.

As the year was coming to a close, Taylor was still in the first quarter of his trip around the sun. December found Taylor in Indonesia and the Philippines to be exact, where he spent several days entertaining his Asian fans. As part of that trip, Taylor Hicks appeared on the final show of the season of Asian Idol where he performed a couple of songs including “Heaven Knows” from his self-titled CD and “Takin’ it to the Streets”, a song he performed during his competition on American Idol.

The end of the 2007 found Taylor Hicks in Memphis, TN singing for his dinner, and ours, at the Liberty Bowl President’s Gala the night before the Auto Zone Liberty Bowl. After his performance at the gala, Taylor was awarded the 2007 Outstanding Achievement Award, a beautiful crystal pedestal bowl. The next day, at the actual game, Mississippi State beat the University of Central Florida, 10 to 3. I may not be much of a football fan, but with Taylor Hicks as the half-time entertainment, I put on two coats, scarf, ear muff and gloves to brave the cold. It was well worth it to hear Taylor Hicks sing “Heaven Knows” and “The Runaround” while young patients from St. Jude Children’s Hospital danced on stage with him!

The New Year rolled in and in mid-January Taylor Hicks was hitting golf balls at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in Palm Springs, CA. I’m sure the warmer weather helped him finish thawing out from his Liberty Bowl performance in frigid Memphis! Other famous golfers included Alice Cooper, Meatloaf and Kenny G.

February, the month of love, found Taylor Hicks in the studio of Regis and Kelly where Taylor sang “The Right Place” just before the wedding of Kacy Hardenbrook and Jordan Edsall. Taylor’s fans will remember that before the originally scheduled wedding that Kacy and her two daughters were burned when the furnace in her mother’s home exploded. And they will also remember his dance with Kelly as he sang “Takin’ to the Streets“ at the reception!

Just a few days after helping the bridal couple celebrate their marriage Taylor Hicks joined the McDonald’s NBA All-Stars Celebrity basketball game in New Orleans where he suited up to shoot a few baskets. Before the game Taylor was found lending a helping hand in cleaning up and making repairs his Day of Service site. Let’s hope Taylor’s ability to use a hammer and handle a paint brush is as good as his cowbell and guitar playing!

For me, and I might guess for Taylor, the highlight of February and probably the his whole year, was being awarded the America’s Music Award at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Montgomery, AL. Taylor performed his own music, “Soul Thing” and the later joined Chris Tompkins and others to sing “Before He Cheats”. It was a night of honoring Alabama’s best and famous musical talent, from writers to performers.

March and April were light months. At the end of March Taylor Hicks performed at the Greenhills School Gala and in late April sang the National Anthem at Talladega before a NASCAR race.

As the Kentucky Derby was getting under way with parties and other festivities in early May, Taylor Hicks was spotted in his dapper suits of stripes and solid white. In retrospect, that white suit was alluding to something new and exciting about to happen!

Back home in Birmingham, Taylor Hicks lent his voice and support to Hannah Home Shelby, a shelter for abused and homeless mothers. At an undisclosed horse farm surrounded by a beautiful setting, guests dined on bar-be-que and baked beans, participated in live and silent auctions, and entertained by several bands before Taylor Hicks closed the event. With Jeff Lopez on sax and Brian Less on keyboard, Taylor Hicks with his guitar and harmonica gave a down home performance that included “Where I’m From” and “New York State of Mind” as well as “The Runaround” and “Soul Thing”.

In mid-May, on the Today Show, Taylor Hicks made surprise announcement! Taylor Hicks was heading to the Big Apple, the Great White Way, Broadway to appear in “Grease” as Teen Angel to croon “Beauty School Dropout” to Frenchie, encouraging her to return to high school and earn her degree. Beginning June 6 and ending the run on September 7, Taylor would perform eight shows a week as Teen Angel. The publicity blitz that followed was grand, and the public was able to enjoy a bit of the musical when Taylor appeared on Regis and Kelly a week after his Broadway debut!

The fireworks were plentiful as our country celebrated its birthday in style in Washington, DC. More fireworks were found on stage as Taylor Hicks helped celebrate by singing at a Capitol Fourth, televised by PBS, “Soul Thing”, “Dancing in the Dark” and “This Land is Your Land”.

Under his own Modern Whomp Records label and with an exclusive Target distribution deal, on August 12 Taylor Hicks released “Early Works”, a compilation of two early CDs that he had self-produced and distributed, “In Your Time” and “Under the Radar”. It is anticipated that the CD will be available for online purchase later in October.

As the “Grease” run was coming to a close, Taylor Hicks was saying he would be spending the next several months in a recording studio putting together his next album. After some much needed vacation time, Taylor Hicks made several wonderful and exceptional announcements.

First, he would be part of the touring cast for the national “Grease” tour, reprising his roll as Teen Angel. His time with the Broadway production had been wildly successful. Rumor has it that ticket sales experienced a $150,000 per week increase while Taylor was part of the cast! While fans were quietly and not so quietly waiting for word of a spring tour, this announcement caught them all by surprise!

By the time his 32nd birthday rolled around, Taylor Hicks had more announcements to make. On his birthday, fans received the gifts as Taylor announced that he would be releasing his next album through Artist to Market on his own Modern Whomp Records label and the drop date will be February 10, 2009! Taylor has a record deal and an album in the works!

But the best news of all was that as part of the Grease tour Taylor would be performing his new single in a new cutting edge way to market an artist and his music and Taylor Hicks was going to be part of that cutting edge! According to Taylor, about twenty minutes after the leaves the famous ice cream cone in the sky over the malt shop he will be singing his new single as part of the touring stage production!

So Taylor Hicks’ trip around the sun, that year between his 31st and 32nd birthdays, has been marked with all sorts of good news, opportunities, and successes. For a young man who had struggled to have his music heard, not only is it being heard now, but he has a record deal and an upcoming “Grease” tour to help spread his music.

Congratulations, Taylor Hicks, for a successful and wonderful year! Hope you had a great birthday, and may your next trip around the sun be just as wonderful and successful as the last!

Now sit back and enjoy this video made by KarinP, and used by permission, as she pictorially showcases Taylor’s “Trip Around the Sun”, sung by Jimmy Buffet and Martina McBride. You might want to grab a hankie first!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Those Summer Nights - A "Grease" Review



After returning from a fast trip to the Big Apple, the words kept going through my brain, “Those Summer Nights” (all 3 syllables of summer) followed by the quick beat of “You’re the One That I Want”! The more it played, the more I began to see a pattern – a blog title! So how I would I write such a recap of the week-end, seeing the musical twice in a span of eight hours?

Just like the words imply, the one I wanted to see was Taylor Hicks, of course, giving me one last week-end of bliss watching him sing “Beauty School Drop-Out” and doing the hand jive in the finale. And to catch up with friends who would be in the city for the same reason!

Our flight was on time, our hotel shuttle was prompt, and with a quick freshen up and clothes change, the bellman flagged a black town car to take into Manhattan, arriving just in time to hear the 5-minute to curtain call chimes. We had no matinee tickets purchased so we quickly finagled two seats in Box A for the price of two back row Mezzanine seats and hurried inside the Brooks Atkinson Theatre to take our places. Box seats, hovering just a few feet above the left side of the stage! Box seats! What a perspective that would give, and quite a contrast from our floor seats for the evening performance!

The steps and entrance to Rydell High on the screen touching the stage floor soon lifted and the stacks of lockers representing the inside of the high school opened up to produce the guys and gals of Class of 1959 singing the opening number and title song, “Grease”. As I watched Kenickie (Matthew Hydzik), I felt I was watching James Dean from the same period. Same suave moves, long thin legs, and sandy hair in a pompadour style. Yes, if Taylor Hicks could channel Elvis and Ray Charles, Kenickie was certainly channeling James Dean!

The rest of the guys, Doody (Ryan Patrick Binder), Roger (Will Blum), and Sonny (Jose Restrepo) finished out the opening set as the gals, Rizzo (Janine DiVita), Marty (Robyn Hurder), Frenchy (Kirsten Wyatt) and Jan (Christina Sivrich for the matinee and Lindsay Mendez for the evening performance that day) took their places inside the open lockers. Each time I’ve seen the musical I’m drawn to Rizzo and Frenchy as they shimmy inside the doors – it’s something you have to see live to understand – with their energy and glow that quickly lets you know they enjoy their parts. As they finish the scene, cafeteria and front door steps are moved into place

The gals of the Pink Ladies meet Sandy (Ashley Spencer) for the first time. She joins them for lunch as blonde Pink Lady wanna-be Patty Simcox (Allison Fischer) makes her entrance. She’s quick to pretend to be flattered to be nominated as Vice-President of the student council and then eyes Sandy as a contender for the cheerleading squad. While the gals continue lunch, the guys, Roger and Doody, are on the front steps eating their brown bag lunches.

Kenickie soon joins them with his lunch of what appears to be a pink snowball (a pink sugar-coated marshmallow treat). Sonny soon join them, and declares he’s not going to take any crap from anyone, particularly the English teacher he’s had for more years than he’d like. As he finished, Miss Lynch (Susan Blommaert) opens the doors and wants to know why Sonny isn’t in class. With a trembling body, he heads inside the doors and then comes back out to tell the gang to ‘shut up’ as they raze him about ‘taking no crap’! Danny comes up and they start digging into his summer love life!

“Those Summer Nights” begins the story of their summer romance, down by the beach, where both Danny and Sandy found young love. Sandy sings of their innocence while Danny suggests maybe something more. As the song ends, the girls can’t believe Danny Zuko was such a gentlemen and takes Sandy off to find the guys. When they do, Sandy is thrust out the main entrance into Danny’s waiting arms where they hug. That is until Danny sees his friends watching him and drops the embrace to act all ‘big man’! Sandy is mystified as the reception in the end.

The guys head off to the locker room when Doody comes in swinging his guitar. He’s been taking lessons, and when they ask him to sing, he starts a little number where he’s calling out the chord names before taking the spotlight to sing “Those Magic Changes”. We watch as he becomes a seasoned musician, playing the crowds, looking more like Elvis than Elvis, right on down to the gold lame jacket. As they finish the song, Miss Lynch grabs Doody by the collar and he’s quickly returned to reality.

The gals have gathered at Marty’s house for a sleep-over. They quickly realize that Sandy lacks any sort of experience and decide to see what she capable of doing, from choking on a cigarette, drinking a bit of wine and maybe having her ears pierced with Marty’s ‘virginity pin’! Now Marty is a Marilyn Monroe look-alike from the blonde hair right on down to the fur-trimmed high-heeled glass bedroom slippers. She announces she has a boyfriend, a Marine, who sent her not only a beautiful silk robe, but a diamond ring as well. Marty tells in song, “Freddy, My Love” what she writes in her letters to him. After the song, the girls fall asleep, and as Sandy comes out of the bathroom, Rizzo is leaving to catch up with Kenickie.

The guys take the stage with some nice shiny hubcaps freshly stolen off a beat up convertible. As they try to figure out how to fence the goods, the car comes up with Kenickie behind the wheel, driving his soon-to-be jazzed up “Greased Lightning”! As the guys are razing Kenickie, Rizzo finds the guys on the street corner. Rizzo makes plans to meet Kenickie and takes her leave. Kenickie tells of his plans for the car as the mechanics appear and with the help of the guys, the car is transformed into a sleek driving machine! With all the guys, and Kenickie in the lead, “Greased Lightnin’” is the song of the scene, and a real show-stealer.

It’s the next day, and Sandy is doing her cheer practice when Danny walks by. Their private time is quickly interrupted by Patty Simcox who tries to hide her own infatuation with Danny. Danny, in a macho moment, declares that he can do anything the jocks can do, and says that he will go to the next try-outs to prove he can! That just gives Patty her in to getting Danny to the track team try-outs the next day, much to Sandy’s dismay. As Danny leaves the stage, Sandy and Patty have a duet with the “Rydell Fight Song” and it’s obvious that Sandy is much ticked at Patty, and maybe even Danny!

The gang heads to the ballpark for a late night rendezvous. Roger and Jan get into a discussion of their not-so-flattering nicknames and Roger defends his reputation as being the mooning champ of the school! At first Jan is disgusted until she lets it slip that she wished she had been there to see him moon a little old lady or teacher. With that, Roger and Jan sing “Mooning” which more like mooning over the love of the other person. Sandy comes along on a leaf hunt with the school nerd, and quickly leaves to go find more leaves with Sonny! Sonny thinks Sandy may have the ‘hots’ for him!

As they leave, Rizzo begins to chide Danny about his little ‘Sandra Dee’, pure as snow, and just as annoying to her. Rizzo immortalizes Sandy in her rendition of “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee”. The gangs is enjoying her play with the song until Sandy returns and blasts them for making fun of her, and Danny not standing up for her. Rizzo and Kenickie have a fight, and Rizzo asks Danny to be her date for the dance on Saturday night. Kenickie, her regular steady, has a date from across town. Before the scene ends and the curtain falls for the intermission, the guys and gals sing “We Go Together”, the rama-lama-dinga-shoobop sha wadda-shebop song that leaves you wondering how they string all those words together in the right order and still keep time to the music!

Once intermission is over, there is an intensity in the air, anticipation of waiting for an ice cream cone that holds the Teen Angel, or a gray pompadour haired Taylor Hicks! Sitting in the box seats have given me a whole new look at the musical, just like sitting in the mezzanine a few weeks ago did. While I like the orchestra section, the opportunities to sit in other places has afforded me with views that I might not have otherwise had. Close proximity to the stage and facial expressions of the actors being the main one for the box seats, and the ability to take in the entire stage including the orchestra pit from the mezzanine. You have to try it to understand!

Act II begins in the school gym for the dance and Sandy’s bedroom as she listens to the radio broadcast from the school gym. Vince Fontaine (Josh Rouah for today, Jeb Brown usually) is the DJ of the evening. Along with Miss Finch, he will judge the dance contest later, but starts things rolling with “Shakin’ at the High School Hop”. He flatters Marty by asking if “her parents knew he came into her bedroom at night” and she flirts right back with him! Later he introduces the talent winner, and as Patty heads towards the steps, Jan is announced the winner. While Sandy in her bedroom at home, she and Jan perform “It’s Raining on Prom Night”, a song of teen frustration at missing the big dance due to the flu and a drenched dress.

Kenickie soon makes his entrance with Cha-Cha DiGregorio, a snobbish student from a private school where she is the queen of the Cha-Cha! Her complaints about the decorations drive Kenickie away and back to Rizzo where they kiss and make up. As it’s time for the dance competition, Danny is left to partner with Cha-Cha. Everyone participates, including Miss Lynch. The hand jive and “Born to Hand Jive” is a real audience pleaser, and even gets a few laughs as Miss Lynch tries to figure out the hand moves. When the dance is over, Danny and Cha-Cha are announced as the winners. Everyone except Patty is pleased. Danny and Cha-Cha leave just Sandy arrives at the school’s steps. She watches them walk away and sings “Hopelessly Devoted to You”, a song of love’s hurt and hopelessness when the love seems to be one-sided.

As the Burger Palace is moved into place and the ice cream cone makes it debut, Frenchy is outside lamenting her situation as the guys arrive and tell her to go inside because a rumble is about to take place. Seems Danny was with the steady girlfriend of a rival school’s gang leader, and he was out for blood. Danny jogs by as the guys tell him they need his help to defend their honor. He’ll be back later after the race is over. The guys take attempt to hide their fear – Kenickie with a stick, Doody with a chain, and Sonny with a gun. Now Sonny is so scared that the gun actually rattles, and the audience gets a chance to enjoy a good laugh. Roger arrives with a broken antenna but the guys decide that perhaps a good mooning would be better to end the battle.

Frenchy comes outside just as they drop Roger’s pants and the guys run away. Frenchy laments about how to tell her friends she’s dropped out of beauty school and wishes she had a ‘guardian angel thingy’ to tell her what to do. As she finishes, the ice cream cones lights up and it’s doors open to reveal Taylor Hicks as her Teen Angel. Dressed in a royal blue ‘silk’ suit with lots of sequins, Taylor sings “Beauty School Dropout”, telling Frenchy to go back to high school. Riding down the elevator to the floor, Taylor makes facial expressions designed to get laughs, cheers, woos, and applause! Dancing around the stage and singing to Frenchy, and then strutting back to the cone to leave, reprising the song as the elevator returns him to his position high above the stage, Taylor pulls out his harmonica and does a bit before finishing the song and leaving the stage.

At the Drive-In Movie, Danny is trying to make up to Sandy but she’s not so forgiving. Finally Danny takes off his ring and gives it to her and all is forgiven. At least until Danny starts to kiss her and take a few liberties that Sandy is ready to give. It’s another scene stealer with Danny wanting to place his hands you-know-where but won’t until he finally gives in and clutches his own chest. Sandy is repulsed and jumps out of the car, dropping his ring on the car seat as she goes. Danny realizes that he has deep feelings for Sandy as he sings “Sandy”.

The show is winding down as we see the gang minus Danny in Jan’s basement recreation room. Doody and Roger are singing “Rock ‘n’ Roll Party Doll”. Rizzo is not at all happy and when Marty asks if she’s having her ‘visitor’, Rizzo says she ‘late’ but asks Marty to keep it a secret. Concerned that Kenickie is the father, she tells him, and then Kenickie blurts out the news. Rizzo stuns him with he doesn’t know the ‘father’ and Kenickie leaves. Soon the others do as well. Sandy is left to gather up her records and tells Rizzo she’s sorry. Rizzo jumps Sandy as if a lecture is coming, but when that doesn’t happen, Rizzo sings a griping song of “There Are Worse Things I Could Do”. As Rizzo leaves, Sandy reprises “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee” before making her decision and calling Frenchy for help.

The guys are gathering at the Burger Palace and just settling in as the gals arrive and make the announcement for Danny to look at the new Sandy. Danny gets all excited and with Sandy and cast, sing “You’re the One That I Want”. Sandy has been transformed from a pony-tailed innocent into a curly-haired leather sporting babe! When the number is over they leave the Burger Palace and head for the bleachers where the final song “We Go Together” is reprised. As they finish, the curtain falls for only a moment.

The entire cast comes out one and two at a time to take their bows. The audience applause raises a few decibels when Taylor Hicks makes his quick run and bow, generally with a wave and sometimes a Ray Charles sway. After Danny and Sandy take their much earned bows, the entire cast returns to reprise several of the songs, “Grease”, “Born to Hand Jive” and “You’re the One That I Want”. Taylor Hicks gets to do a solo in the beginning and after some hand jive, helps to close the show with more harmonica. As he sucks and blows, the cast is glowing as they watch him, and the audience enjoys wild applause. The orchestra is saluted and the cast takes a final bow while the orchestra finishes up. Soon the house lights are up and the audience is ushered outside the theatre.

After the show many fans of the cast, including Taylor Hicks, quickly head for the stage door to find a place near the barriers already set up. As the cast leaves the theatre, many stop to chat and sign Playbills. Everyone is patient until their favorite comes out and the squeals signal someone important has exited the theatre. This continues until people get what they want and leave or until Taylor Hicks makes his appearance. The squeals then can be deafening! As I watched, I chatted with the husband of a woman standing near the front. He was amazed at how she reacted and when he found out I too was a Taylor fan and had flown up for the day to catch two performances, I think he decided maybe his wife was saner than he thought! I moved into the crowd to try to capture a quick shot, but being short, heads kept getting in my way. A few people moved so I could get closer, but that didn’t help much.

Anyway, I got what I came for in the first place: two chances to catch the musical and watch Taylor Hicks perform on the Broadway stage. I left satisfied and must tell you that the entire cast is very good. All are very talented singers and dancers in their own right, and have much to be proud of in their roles! Contrary to what might be thought to be a cheesy musical, “Grease” is very entertaining! Each time I’ve seen it there have been additional nuances in each show. This week-end Taylor Hicks was cupping his hand at his ear as he ascends back into the ice cream cone so that the audience appreciation goes up several notches. I noticed several times in the earlier scenes that a couple of guys pulled up the skirts of the girls as they were singing and dancing to harass them. It all made for a fun and wonderful theatre experience!

As I was studying Taylor Hicks from the box seats, though, I couldn’t help but wonder if that pompadour was all his hair or if some hair had been added to give it body! Maybe sometime I’ll get the right answer! Ah, those summer nights in New York City, walking along Broadway, seeing Taylor Hicks' name up in lights! The Soul Patrol has had a great summer, and Taylor has had a great Broadway debut! Whatever the next adventure is, you can bet the Soul Patrol is ready!

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Taylor Hicks and "Early Works"

On August 12, 2008, Taylor Hicks fans were able to purchase “Early Works”, a compilation of pre-America Idol recordings previously only available from limited sources. If you weren’t lucky enough to know about Taylor Hicks before he claimed the Season 5 American Idol crown in 2006, weren’t a bidder on eBay or didn’t attend any concerts during Taylor’s first solo national tour, where these early recordings were often available, now is the chance to own a piece of musical history.

“Early Works” has been released as a Target Stores exclusive with some distribution available from Best Buy and Amazon (at least from Amazon International). After the initial pre-sale on Amazon and later its removal, fans clamoring for the CD were aghast at what had happened. With the announcement that Target would have the exclusive sale of “Early Works”, fans settled down to wait for the Taylor Tuesday drop this past week. Yes, I was in the rush myself to get my copy before there was any chance of a sell-out at my local Target.

Once home with my treasure, forget that I already had copies of these early CDs, I proceeded to open the package and carefully place the disc in my CD player. I was primed to hear what had been promised as remastered tracks of the original songs. For those unfamiliar with the term, remaster, it means that the original recording is enhanced using current technology to improve the sound.

According to the history of these recording, the original “In Your Time” CD, recorded in 1997, was actually recorded during a live performance. When listening closely to several of the tracks, you can actually hear the audience applause and chatter. At the time of making this CD, having written four original songs for the CD, Taylor Hicks was nineteen years old. “On Broadway”, a rather prophetic song for its time, didn’t make it to “Early Works”.

Eight years later, in 2005, “Under the Radar” was recorded in a studio setting with Taylor Hicks and his musically talented buddies, with all seven of the songs written by Taylor Hicks himself. The only song from that CD to not make it to “Early Works”, “”Hell of a Day”, was released as a bonus track for Taylor’s first major CD, “Taylor Hicks” which was sold exclusively at Wal-Mart with the bonus track.

With that said, as I listened to the latest version of the songs, I closed my eyes to enjoy the rich warmth of Taylor’s voice. The remastering of the early recordings seemed to have lifted his voice up and make it front and center for “Early Works”. Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know, nor do I really care, I just liked the clarity of the music and Taylor’s voice.

I tried to picture what must have been going on in Taylor’s life that led to the lyrics of many of his songs. What must he have been feeling as he wrote the words, where he saw his career heading, and what he expected musically for himself? I tried to imagine what it was like in the early days when the bar crowds might be small or almost non-existent. Did he feel like giving up? Would he be able to hang in there until success would someday be his?

So much has happened since those early days, those early works. We now know what Taylor Hicks has experienced as success, and now we get to watch how this new national release of his “Early Works” will pan out.

In looking at the songs on the CD, the way they are arranged, mixing them up between the original recordings, it reminds me of perhaps sitting in a bar, watching Taylor Hicks perform with some friends, singing his original music with a couple of covers thrown in for good measure.

“Soul Thing” starts the CD set, setting the stage for what’s to come. It has sufficient beat with its jazzy sax and guitar twang to make you want to dance as well as just sit back, sip your drink slowly, and just listen. “Soul Thing” would later be re-recorded for “Taylor Hicks”, Taylor’s first major release. “The Fall” follows with a slowed down tempo and string fret, that when you realize Taylor Hicks wrote this song before he was twenty, you can’t help but wonder about the heartbreak he must have felt as he ‘climbed the ladder’ while his lady love ‘took the fall’ as he sings this song almost apologetically to her.

The tracks come back to a later time with “Hold on to Your Love”, “The Deal” and “Heart and Soul”. All three songs make you feel good, wanting to sit back, and reflect on those around you, such as that special man or woman in your life. The clarity of the recordings is there, and the instruments are in fine tune with Taylor’s voice. “The Deal” was also re-recorded and made part of “Taylor Hicks”, Taylor’s 2007 major release.

The tracks take us back in time again to “In Your Time”, a song that winds up with another song embedded within it. If you’ve stopped imagining yourself in a bar, this song brings you back quickly when your realize Taylor is doing his famous tagging. Back to the future, with “West Texas Sky”, my favorite, with its Spanish feel and finger cymbals or castanets.

It’s the next track, “Somehow”, that truly shows Taylor’s talent as a songwriter. A truly perceptive 19-year old writer, looking to figure out how to get by and knowing he will do so ‘somehow’. If a single is to be released from this compilation, this song is definitely the one to be that single. With its country flair, it would make a great cross-over song between easy listening and country.

Sometimes in live performances Taylor has gone off in different directions with his music and “Tighten Up” is just another example of that happening. He introduces the song, not verbally spoken, but a sing-song way. Here he lets you know who the musicians are as he gives each a solo spot to show their talent. Not one of my favorites, but with the remastering of the track, it’s growing on me.

“Son of a Carpenter” brings us near the end of the set. As a song that appears to have a message but not one that can be clearly defined, some think it has a religious meaning while others proclaim it’s about his father (who is really a dentist). And then the set end with “My Friend”, a jazzy, New Orleans, blues sound. By the time it’s over, we too are ‘sharing that smile’!

But it doesn’t end there, because like a live performance, there is often an encore, and this particular track has been performed by Taylor in just that way. I imagine this song, much like the familiar scene at Smith’s Olde Bar in Atlanta, Taylor Hicks is sitting a chair, Billy Earl McClelland with his guitar is sitting beside Taylor, as Taylor closes his eyes, channels Ray Charles and sings “Georgia”. It’s a beautiful way to end a beautiful night of music.

When it’s over and I come back to reality, I’m ready to restart the CD, relive my dream and listen again to the crisp voice, to enjoy it all over again. And with some of these songs, I have the opportunity to remember concerts where Taylor Hicks has performed these songs, such as “The Deal”, “Soul Thing” and “My Friend”. Other songs, such as “The Fall” and “Somehow”, were reserved for encores where Taylor would accompany himself with a guitar and sometimes still on a stool.

Perhaps the release of the CD is to whet our appetites for the next major CD to be released later in the fall. Maybe it’s to help bring in new fans that have the privilege of seeing Taylor perform the role of Teen Angel in the Broadway musical “Grease”. Whatever the reason, I’m glad it’s out there. It’s a great way to combine two early CDs into a single compilation that gives a flavor to what Taylor Hicks is all about.

If you haven’t already gotten your copy of “Early Works” by Taylor Hicks, head on over to your local Target to pick one up. In the mean time, if you’d like to hear samples of the songs, stop by The Taylor Hicks Community’s Discography (http://www.thetaylorhickscommunity.com/discography) and select your CD to hear!

ETA: string fret - that scraping metalic sound you hear when the guitar strings are rubbed harder than plucked or strummed.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

It's Show Time! "Early Works" Now at Target!

By the time you read this, "Early Works" will be sitting on the displays at your local Target!

Hear Taylor Hicks sing his own original music as well as a few covers. Notice the gravelly voice of a young Taylor and the bluesy soulful voice of Taylor just before his American Idol audition. As you listen, close your eyes and envision yourself sitting in a small, smoke-filled bar as Taylor Hicks performs these songs. Some of the tracks were actually recorded live.

Celebrate with Taylor Hicks the national release of his "Early Works"! Let's make this CD is a big seller for Taylor Hicks and Target! Be sure to get your copy today!


Buy an extra copy and send it to:

Taylor Hicks Proud of Our Troops Drive
http://www.jewelrysprout.com/taylor-hicks-cd-drive.html

Taylor's Angels, in partnership with Taylor Hicks Community, for international fans who have no access to purchase the CD
http://taylorconnections.com/forum/359053/

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

If You're Doing the "Hand Jive" Then "Grease is the Word"

What a whirlwind week-end in the Big Apple I had! When I came back from seeing Taylor Hicks in “Grease” a few weeks ago, my daughter thought a trip to New York City would make a great birthday present. After all, “Grease” was her favorite movie when she was just a kitten. Being the terrific mom that I am, she got her wish!

As long as we were going to the Great White Way, we might as well make the most of the trip and see “Grease” twice. I know that sounds a bit much, but it’s hard to see it all the first time because so much goes on.

For the matinee, we had seats in the third row of the mezzanine balcony, almost center of the stage. Later for the evening show, we had row E, center section but closer to the left side. By varying our seats, we were able to see the whole show, taking in the action on the stage and the orchestra pit-in-the-sky as well.

First, when you attend the musical, be sure to watch the opening act and the orchestra at the same time. It won’t be easy, but it will be worthwhile. The conductor is something else, let me tell you! As the music started, my daughter wanted to know if Taylor Hicks was up there directing the band! The conductor couldn’t stand still! He was even using the pole beside him in his routine!

When I saw “Grease” before, Max Crumm was Danny and Laura Osnes was Sandy. Now the characters are portrayed by Derek Keeling and Ashley Spencer. Both new actors were finalists on the TV show, “Grease: You’re the One That I Want.” Derek and Ashley are very talented and just fell right in with the rest of the cast. This was their first week-end for their Broadway stint in “Grease” which unless you knew that, would have though they had been in the cast since its revival debut! They were excellent!

The usual Kenickie and Marty performed for the matinee but their understudies took over the roles for the evening performance. Except for the fresh face of Kenickie, it was impossible to tell the difference between the characters’ performances! Both Marty’s looked alike and had the change notice not been in the Playbill, I wouldn’t have known it. As I watched the evening Kenickie I wanted to call my sister to make sure her son-in-law hadn’t become a Broadway actor because this guy looked just like him! He was a real cutie!

All the performers are very good! So good in fact, that during the matinee I actually forgot I was there to see Taylor Hicks! I was so mesmerized by everything from the balcony because I had full visual of the entire stage! It wasn’t until Frenchy was finishing her lines and the ice cream cone opened up that I even thought about Taylor Hicks and his Teen Angel persona! Now that’s a first for me!

I would have to swear that the entire section of the mezzanine was taken over by the Soul Patrol, given the squeals of pleasure as the ice cream cone opened! Watching Taylor ham it up as he descends from the Malt Shop in the Sky brought laughter from the audience. I loved how he held out his hands, looking skyward, with only the whites of his eyes showing! A little step here, another step there! “Beauty School Dropout” continues to play through my head, even now, two days later! Well, I guess I deserve that for seeing the musical twice in one day!

Both performances were great. I watched for differences but didn’t really notice any. Instead, I was surprised by how close to each the characters were, even with the understudies! Now that takes lots of practice and talent!

The finale changed up a little for the evening show, but only a little and that was because of Taylor Hicks! The devil must have gotten hold of the Teen Angel because as he came out from the back of the double line to sing his solo in the finale, Taylor grabbed his ankle and bent his knee, moving the leg back and forth while standing on the other leg! The audience loved that, but I’d swear I thought I saw someone close to him perhaps “dare him” to do it!

What I noticed was how everyone in the cast brightened up in the finale as Taylor Hicks blew his famous ‘harp’ (what other instrument would a Teen Angel play!?!?!). Their faces glowed with pleasure as they acknowledged their cast mate. That made me very proud for Taylor.

Watching the “Hand Jive” and other dancing made me want to jump up and dance right along! Instead, I kept hearing the music continue to pulse through my brain. I didn’t want the finale to end because it was fun, and so was watching the orchestra section! The conductor was up there dancing in such a way that John Travolta would have envied his moves and wanted to use them back when he did “Saturday Night Fever”! Too quickly it was over and the house lights came up.

As we left the theatre, I couldn’t help but mentally plan my next trip. Oh, you can be sure I’ll see “Grease” at least once more before Taylor Hicks finishes his Broadway run! It’s hard to get enough of my favorite Teen Angel! And it’s just as obvious that Taylor Hicks enjoying his role in “Grease” and is getting lots of great exposure and making new fans!


Catch Taylor Hicks as Teen Angel in “Grease”, now playing at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. Taylor’s last performance is Sunday, September 7, 2008.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Exciting News - "Early Works" is Releasing Early!

Start spreading the news! "Early Works" from Taylor Hicks is going to be released earlier than expected! The new release date is August 12, 2008!

Now if you want to pre-order your copy or copies from Amazon.com and can't seem to find the soon-to-be-released CD, never fear! It looks like Amazon.com has pre-sold all of their initial pre-order of "Early Works"! Now that's some really good news for Taylor Hicks! I would expect Amazon.com should have more available real soon!

You can still pre-order Taylor Hicks' "Early Works" from Barnes & Nobel and AOL Music.

AOL Music
http://music.aol.com/album/early-works/1411252

Barnes & Noble
http://music.barnesandnoble.com/search/results.asp?qsrch=A&WRD=taylor+hicks+early+works

Unlike Taylor Hicks who usually sings the blues, I won't be because I'm excited that "Early Works" is pre-selling so well!

Have you reserved your copy today?


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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Then & Now: Supporting Taylor Hicks

It started with a simple introduction almost three years ago, between Simon Cowell and Taylor Hicks. For the Soul Patrol that conversation was a conversion. It went something like this:

Simon Cowell: "Why are you here?"
Taylor Hicks: "Because I want my voice heard."
Simon Cowell: "Why's that?"
Taylor Hicks: "Because I think I have one."

Taylor's audition was almost over as Simon Cowell uttered those unspeakable, but incorrect words, "They'll never put you in the final ....." but with Paul Abdul and Randy Jackson in his corner, Taylor Hicks was going to Hollywood. Not only that, he would later leave victorious as the the winner! American Idol! Simon may think America got it wrong, but when you see all that Taylor Hicks has accomplished these last few years, I believe Simon was the one who got it wrong!

Enjoy a look back to the 'then' days before American Idol when Taylor Hicks with a few friends performed at Zydeco, a Birmingham, AL haunt. Fast-forward three years to 'now' where Taylor Hicks can be found on the Broadway stage as Teen Angel in "Grease".

Get ready to continue the journey with Taylor Hicks as his "Early Works" is released August 19, 2008. This release should tide us over until his new CD comes out in the fall with another tour to follow!

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Taylor Hicks & the Early Works - Track List


Thanks to Amazon, the list of songs for "Early Works", the latest CD to be released by Taylor Hicks on August 19, 2008, is now know! It most of the songs from "In Your Time" released in 1997 and "Under the Radar" released in 2005. Missing are "Hell of a Day" and "On Broadway" for those of you who need the additional details!


1. Soul Thing
2. The Fall
3. Hold On to Your Love
4. The Deal
5. Heart and Soul
6. In Your Time
7. West Texas Sky
8. Somehow
9. Tighten Up
10. Son of a Carpenter
11. My Friend
12. Georgia (with Billy Earl McClelland)


The Editorial Review from the Artist, Taylor Hicks, states:

"First and foremost, these two albums represent who I am and who I am trying to represent as a songwriter. "In Your Time" was a first attempt at recording songs that I had written at the time. Some songs that were really hitting home with me at the time. "Under the Radar" was a second attempt at a first attempt to try to record an album that resembled the production quality of Al Stewart's "Year of the Cat." The songwriting was getting better and my direction as an artist was getting clearer. Warmth in the production was the main goal; "nostalgic" and "endearing" are the terms that I like to use for these two records."

"Thanks for going on the ride!"
"Taylor"

And what a ride this has been for Taylor Hicks! The Traveling Circus is tagging along just to see where the roads will lead!

Click below to vote for your favorite song:

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

"It's Awesome with a Capital A, Baby!" and a "Big New Deal"

Taylor Hicks has an exciting way of letting the Soul Patrol in on upcoming happenings! Like getting on a morning show such as Good Day New York to tell us what he's up to. Maybe telling about a few not so new tidbits about his upcoming new CD and the "Whomp at the Warfield" DVD recorded last summer.

But this morning on Good Day New York, while talking with the hostess, Taylor Hicks "confided" that he had a "big new deal" to announce real soon! The last time Taylor Hicks made a big announcement, he appeared on the Today Show to tell the Soul Patrol about being cast as Teen Angel in "Grease", the Broadway musical!

It seems Taylor Hicks likes to drop hints - such as 'honing his acting skills' or singing "New York State of Mind" at a charity event just days before the the "Grease" announcement! So what might this "big new deal" be? I'm out of guesses myself, so I'll just have to wait and see!

In the meantime, enjoy the interview and Taylor Hicks crooning "Beauty School Dropout" to his Frenchy co-star! Taylor describes his time on Broadway as "awesome with a Capital A, Baby"! For the record, this is my favorite rendition of Taylor Hicks singing this song - with only a keyboard and harmonica accompanyment! Enjoy!

The Interview

Beauty School Dropout


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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Word is Out!


Good news travels fast! Wonderful news makes good blog entries! Thanks to all for the recent alerts! I can't wait now for more information on this! I am so excited for Taylor Hicks that I have to help spread the word!

Taylor Hicks' "Early Works" has a release date as well as some pre-order opportunities! Pick your favorite source! All sites show August 19, 2008 as the ship date!


Amazon


AOL Music

Barnes & Noble
http://music.barnesandnoble.com/search/results.asp?qsrch=A&WRD=taylor+hicks+early+works


The real question is: what will be on the CD? Who knows! A compilation of "In Your Time" and "Under the Radar"? A new "lost" recording? Something from live performances pre-Idol?

Does it really matter! I'll be buying a few copies!

And if you, like me, are a supporter of the Taylor Hicks Proud of Our Troops Drive, keep in mind that Amazon will ship them to Soldiers Angels for you so you only paying shipping once! Now that can add up to savings for your that may result in another CD for the Troops! For more information, visit http://www.jewelrysprout.com/taylor-hicks-cd-drive.html .

Let's keep spreading the news! The good news! Taylor Hicks has his "Early Works" just about ready to hit the streets and our CDs! Congratulations to Taylor Hicks on his latest accomplishment!


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Friday, July 4, 2008

A Capitol Fourth - This Land is Your Land

As I listened to Taylor Hicks' rehearsal of "This Land is Your Land" for Friday night's live performance of a Capitol Fourth, I thought about last year's tour and all the places he performed. It made me think about the different marquees with Taylor's name in the center, which ones I had captured and which ones that eluded me. I thought of how far Taylor Hicks had come since winning American Idol in 2006, from a major head-lining tour in 2007 of the US and then on to several places in Asia before the year was out. His first major-label CD, his first Christmas of TV appearances and specials after the win, now with his stint on Broadway in "Grease", and finally tonight on "A Capitol Fourth", an annual PBS special.

It occurred to me that the song is more than just a traditional song to help celebrate our great nation's birthday. It's also about Taylor's travels and his determination to move forward with his career and take advantage of the opportunities he has. After all if the US didn't have the freedoms that we enjoy and often take for granted, talented performers like Taylor Hicks wouldn't have the opportunity to show their talents.

But more importantly is that whenever Taylor Hicks is involved in something like this, he pays tributes to and thanks the men and women of our Armed Forces for fighting to keep our country free. That to me is rare indeed. Taylor does it as effortlessly as he does his "Soul Patrol" greeting.


So enjoy the song that Taylor Hicks will sing tonight, try to remember those marquees of last year, and buried like the treasures they are, enjoy a few pictures, courtesy of PayTheDevil, from Taylor's rehearsal last night.

This land is your land, this land is my land....let us protect it and never take it for granted.

Happy Fourth of July!

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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Happy Fourth of July!

Since our Independence Day is near, I wanted to celebrate by trying to learn something new, like making a video from some of my Taylor Hicks concert pictures, adding an audio to it, those fun things that others do, but I haven't tried yet. I can't say I was all that successful, but after several attempts, I managed to make at least a montage of Taylor Hicks pictures from the Spartanburg, SC perform for Red, White and Boom! After several tests of the videos, I discovered my cat had caused my sound to mute, voila, there was Taylor Hicks, singing our National Anthem from his Talladega performance a few months ago!


A very special thank you to Gypsee and The Taylor Hicks Community for the use of the following spectacular video of fireworks with Taylor Hicks singing our National Anthem when he was at Talladega a few months ago! The fireworks are from last year's Capitol Fourth show. So if you want to watch fireworks while listening to Taylor, this is a great video to watch!

Happy Fourth of July, Everyone!
A very special Happy Birthday to my Daughter who celebrates her birthday on July 4!
And a heart-felt THANK YOU to men and women who fight on a daily basis in our Armed Forces to preserve our freedoms!


Support our troops with a donation through JewelrySpout's "Taylor Hicks Proud of Our Troops Drive"! Please visit http://www.jewelrysprout.com/taylor-hicks-cd-drive.html for more information.

Some of My Favorite Pictures