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

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