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!