Skip to content

Archive for April, 2011

Taylor Hicks: Snoqualmie Concert ‘Preview’

Preview blog and photos by Louise Uznanski.

Taylor Hicks and his band of musicians hit the road on Wednesday morning before the wrath of the tornadoes devastated their home state of Alabama and six other states in the southeast.  Arriving at the Lincoln Theater with little time for a sound check, the theater’s staff managed to get the band on the stage to the delight of a nearly sold-out venue.  Taylor spoke about Alabama’s people and asked the audience to keep them in their prayers.  His emotional message demonstrated how hard this has hit everyone in the band and they were ready to put on a great show but the images of their home lingered in their minds that night.

More details of the Lincoln show will be published in a blog at this site later in the week.

For now, a preview of the Snoqualmie show in photos.  The venue was the best in terms of light, sound and comfort.  Nearly one thousand strong, the audience cheered for their Idol from beginning to end.  Looking at the audience,  one could see their smiling faces and hear their cheers of ‘Soul Patrol’ and ‘I love you Taylor.’ From Taylor, the audience could see a face smiling so broadly, returning their love in body language and surprising musical talent.  Bringing out some of his standards from AI5, Taylor re-introduced himself to the audience and then showed them what else he could do musically.  The harp playing and the guitar playing were new to most of the audience but the dancing and general handsomeness of the show’s star was not.  He thanked them for voting for him and giving him the opportunity to live his American dream.

In a few photos, some of the highlights of the night.  Visit back here this week for the full recap.

Hey everyone!

The stage is set~

The cowbell for CTW and a Rockband

Taylor is the Boogie!

On stage antics with Brandon Peeples

Band leader.

Red light, green light

Where's the cowbell?

Rethinking Music in the Digital Age

“It’s still a star business.”  For Jon Platt, EMI North America, it all starts with the music and with artist development.  The challenge is where to find the time and money to grow talent in an industry climate that favors disposable stars and demands instant results.

At last week’s “Rethink Music” conference in Boston, artists, academics, policy makers, and businessmen gathered to discuss the challenges facing the industry and to consider how music will be funded and distributed in the digital age.  The focus was on creativity and technology, and how  innovations simultaneously make it easier, yet at the same time more difficult for songwriters and performers to ply their craft.  While technology has made music readily accessible at the desktop and on the go, the creators of that music may not realize a profit from their work.  Illegal downloads and widespread sharing of digital media are difficult to intercept and unlikely to change.  As Platt explained, “It’s hard to educate a generation that is used to getting water out of the faucet for free.”

Most in attendance agreed that the music industry needs a new financial model, and one that is “not predicated on the sales of prerecorded music”.  Joe Kennedy, President and CEO of Pandora, insisted that the key to success is to create a wonderful experience for the consumer.  That experience should offer quality, convenience, and the capacity for new music discovery.  The music industry needs to provide consumers a product they’ll want to buy.

Kennedy predicted exciting times ahead.  Currently half of music purchases are digital downloads.  The growth in smart phone and tablet technology has contributed to an increased volume of digital purchases, and as prices for those phones come down, music will go increasingly mobile. 

It may be good news that only15-20% of the internet population purchases music, and that fraction of users is responsible for half of all music sales.  There is a large, untapped market that could be mobilized if music purchases could be made simpler and more attractive.  The next major advance in music distribution is expected to come through cloud technology. 

Just as we all get email through the cloud, music will soon be available without downloading.  Both ad supported (Pandora), and subscription based (MOG) services will soon make music available on demand through home theaters and in the car, and available to share through social media including Facebook.  Artist and songwriter payments will be based not on individual downloads, but on frequency of play.

As music goes social, the relationship between artist and fan has become increasingly important.  While consumers may be reluctant to pay for recorded music, they have been surprisingly open to providing direct support to musicians, cutting out the middleman. 

Boston based artist Bleu described his success using the online funding platform “Kickstarter”.  Without the means to publicize his new album, Bleu turned to his fans, asking for online contributions to fund promotion.  In return, fans were offered rewards ranging from a signed cd to the opportunity to write a song with the artist, based on contribution level.  The goal was $8K in 45 days.  Instead, Bleu raised $40k.  Whereas fans often balk at a $0.99 digital download, the average fan contribution direct to the artist was $100 for this project.  Fans wanted to be directly involved with the artist and his work.

As the music industry evolves, the artist has become a small businessman.  Through an emerging direct band to fan connection, the artist can slowly build his/her business over time.  New software applications will allow better analytics to answer questions about demographics, allowing musicians to better understand their current and potential fanbase. 

The future of music is exciting, but challenging, as artists and industry professionals alike seek to provide a high quality product in a form that consumers will buy.  For the musician, the challenge to both create and market can seem overwhelming.  As one artist advised “Just be the best you that you can be.”

Taylor Hicks Goes to Washington to visit Lincoln

A preview by Louise/4Tay of the ‘Tour That Never Ends’ which kicks off in Washington state on April 27th.  All photos by Louise Uznanski.

Taylor’s going to Washington to visit Lincoln?  Yes, that’s correct. Spring has definitely sprung and Taylor Hicks and his band will launch their 2011 tour in Washington state with stops at the Lincoln Theater in Mount Vernon, WA, on April 27th followed by an April 28th show at Snoqualmie Casino-Ballroom in Snoqualmie, WA.

The Lincoln Theater is a historic site that hosts a variety of entertainment and educational shows from concerts to opera to seminars and photography exhibits.  The theater’s mission is to offer their diverse community a wealth of cultural events and sustain the Lincoln Theater’s presence in the city of Mount Vernon.

Tickets/Info: http://www.lincolntheatre.org/performance/taylor-hicks

 712 South First St., Mount Vernon

360-336-8955

Seating capacity: 500

Taylor appeared in Washington state on his 2007, 2009 and 2010 tours so the anticipation of his fans for this return engagement is edging up to the top of the chart.

April 28th finds Taylor and his band (band members have not been announced as of the publication of this post) making their way to Snoqualmie Casino-Ballroom for a show in beautiful Snoqualmie, WA. Casino shows have traditionally been among the best concerts for Taylor and this venue promises to be a big hit with fans of great music in a beautiful setting.

April 28, 2011         Snoqualmie Casino-Ballroom             Snoqualmie, WA         7 pm

Tickets/Info: http://snocasino.com/events/taylor-hicks/

37500 Southeast North Bend Way, Snoqualmie

425-888-1234

Seating capacity: 1,000

Taylor appeared in Seattle in 2009 at the Triple Door while touring with the National company of Grease.  The show was a sell out and Taylor gave a show that will not soon be forgotten.  The crisp temperatures, misty air and hip dinner theater venue combined with a hot band made it a memorable evening for the capacity audience.

So is Lincoln ready for Taylor to come to Washington?  Not certain if Abe is ready for the whirlwind that Taylor Hicks brings to town, but the fans in the Pacific Northwest cannot wait to see their Idol return to the Washington stage at the Lincoln and Snoqualmie venues at the end of April.

 

Adam Ezra Group: Takin’ Off Today

Special Video Supplement

The following video slideshow is offered by MacPolski from photographs by Louise Uznanski and Richard Uznanski captured during the Adam Ezra Group’s live show at Baltimore’s The 8×10 on April 7, 2011. 

The photos are set to original music from the Adam Ezra Group, “Takin’ Off Today” from the recently released EP “Part 1″.  Produced by Aaron Johnson , “Part 1″ includes the first three songs from the eagerly anticipated new album that is planned for fall 2011.

The video is best enjoyed full screen!  Click on the icon at the bottom right of the screen (just left of the word “vimeo”) to enlarge.

Adam Ezra Group

 

.

The Group:

Adam Ezra: Vocals, guitar, harmonica

Josh Gold: Keyboards

Robin Vincent Soper: Bass

John (Chappy) Chapman: Drums

Turtle: Percussion

Known for their energetic live shows, the Adam Ezra Group is currently on national tour; check here for dates and locations: http://www.adamezra.com/index.php?page=calendar  Look for the Adam Ezra Group at the Brooklyn Bowl with Rusted Root on May 17 and at Martyr’s in Chicago on May 19, among many other concert dates.

.

.

________________________________________________

More on Adam Ezra Group from the archives:

http://ontapblog.wordpress.com/2011/04/04/adam-ezra-group-the-social-connection/

http://ontapblog.wordpress.com/2011/03/30/adam-ezra-group-enjoying-the-indie-ride/

http://ontapblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/04/adam-ezra-group-barefoot-pleasure/

Ellis Paul: A Tribute to Roy Orbison

Ellis Paul is celebrating a birthday this month!  Don’t light the candles quite yet, though.  The party belongs to someone else.  Music legend Roy Orbison would have turned 75 on April 23, and Ellis has been invited to contribute to a worldwide video tribute in the singer’s honor.  Produced by Mr. Orbison’s publishing company, the video montage will be backed by Ellis Paul’s cover of Roy’s signature hit “Crying”.  When complete, the montage will be featured in Hard Rock Cafes around the world.

The video is one of many planned tributes.  A new exhibit will open at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles on April 29, 2011.  “Roy Orbison: The Soul of Rock-n-Roll” will celebrate the life and career of the singer/songwriter.  Remembered for his powerful voice and emotional delivery, Orbison produced hit after hit in the 1950′s and early 1960′s including “Oh, Pretty Woman”, “Only the Lonely”, “Running Scared”, and “Crying”. 

The haunting loneliness of “Crying” and Roy’s effortless delivery of the very difficult song clearly impressed Ellis Paul.  The way Ellis tells it, the song has earned a prominent slot in his jukebox……..

.

Now Ellis will play a prominent role in celebrating Roy Orbison and his music.  The following performance of “Crying” was recorded live in concert at Wilde Auditorium, West Hartford on April 8, 2011.

.


.

With his lyrical delivery of the song, Ellis Paul will surely honor the man whose distinctive voice lingers in our collective memory.

Happy Birthday, Roy Orbison!  You made sunglasses cool.  You made the music cooler.  You will always have a place in our jukebox.

.

.

.

___________________________________________________

Photo of Ellis Paul courtesy of MacPolski

Video and audio captures of Ellis Paul courtesy of Louise Uznanski

Photo of Roy Orbison and the Beatles from Mr. Orbison’s official website: http://www.royorbison.com/us

More on Ellis Paul: http://www.ellispaul.com/

Josh Smith: Bluesman Plans European Tour

He’s just back from London, and will be leaving on tour in two days. I can hear both the fatigue and the determination in his voice.  Josh Smith is a very busy man.

Fortunately, Josh is also a multitasker.  He adeptly handles requests on both sides of the phone line while moving hurriedly through the mall.  There’s the interviewer on the telephone, and his young son by the musician’s side.  This afternoon’s mission is important.  Somehow and somewhere, a certain Samurai Power Ranger must be found before Dad can go on tour.

That tour will soon take the in-demand guitarist across the Atlantic.  There he’ll back soul singer Raphael Saadiq at several performances throughout western Europe.  Come mid May, Josh will headline his own European tour in support of the soon to be released album “I’m Gonna Be Ready”.

The new album will be familiar to some as the 2006 release “Deep Roots”.  Later this month that music will be made available to the European market for the first time, reissued as “I’m Gonna Be Ready” on the CrossCut Records label.  A bonus CD of four songs from Josh’s new all instrumental album “Inception” will be included with the first three thousand purchases.

Touring with Josh will be two longtime friends and musicians, John Yarling and Jeff Young, on drums and organ, respectively.  The trio plan thirteen appearances at clubs and blues festivals within a sixteen day span in Germany.  That does not include scheduled appearances on radio and television.

The headlining tour allows Smith the opportunity to introduce his original blues and roots music to a new and interested audience.  Josh has been playing guitar and writing music since childhood, playing lead guitar in adult bands from the age of thirteen.  Guitar great Jimmy Thackery once said of the young talent, “Josh is three heartbreaks away from being a true blues guitar genius.”

Josh has stayed true to his first love.  While his songwriting offers original music across a range of genres, the overall approach is from the perspective of a bluesman.  Says Josh, “I don’t feel like I will ever get that far from blues; in fact I kind of think that’s what after all these years, defines me as me…….everything that I play, be it some straight ahead rock and roll tune or jazz tune comes from the heart of a blues guy, you know.  So you’re going to get that feeling from me no matter what I’m playing. It’s kind of my calling card.”

From the album “Inception”, a Josh Smith original – “Penance”


The European tour also signals Josh’s intent to strike a new balance between doing “my own thing” and his work as a sideman.  Over the last few years Smith has played in support of Taylor Hicks, Raphael Saadiq, and Jennifer Hudson, among others.  That work has offered some unique and memorable opportunities. At this year’s Grammys, Josh was on stage and rocking with Saadiq and Mick Jagger as they performed “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love”.

Josh describes both Saadiq and Jagger as consummate professionals.  Saadiq was focused and, as always, 100% committed to the song and performance.  Jagger made every rehearsal.  Following the Grammys, the rocker surprised each musician and crew member with a gift basket and personalized note of thanks.  It was a night to remember.

There will be more memories made throughout an exciting but hectic 2011.  Following his return from Europe, Josh plans to tour again with Raphael Saadiq.  He’ll also make time to promote “I’m Gonna Be Ready”, now planned for an April release in Europe, and a May release in the United States.  It’s a plan and schedule that may require super powers.  Luckily, there’s a Samurai on call.

________________________________________________________

For more on guitarist/singer/songwriter Josh Smith, including music and tour schedule: http://joshsmithguitar.com/

To purchase “Inception” by Josh Smith: http://amzn.to/hcDUkU

Josh is on Facebook here: http://on.fb.me/f8pErv

Taylor Hicks: Sliding into the Popular Vernacular

Click on photographs to enlarge.
 
Contemporary culture has an important influence on the English language.  New words come and go; existing words and phrases take on fresh meanings as people and events shape the world around them.
.
The following words/phrases added new meanings after the 2006 season of the blockbuster television show American Idol.  Review previous definitions for these terms, and then consider the surprising impact that musician and American Idol season 5 winner Taylor Hicks has had on your pop culture vocabulary!.
.

Soul Patrol

.

Soul Patrol - He rocked the Motown sound; Bernie Milton had a dance hit called “The Waddle” in the ’60′s, and returned to the charts in 1985 as “Bernie Milton and the Soul Patrol”.  The band is best known for the 1985 hit “60/40″.  Listen to a snippet here:


.
.
Soul Patrol -  The charismatic 2001 Minnesota Twins infield was known as “The League of Nations” and included players from four different countries.  The Twins outfield was dubbed the “Soul Patrol”.  At a time when fewer American born blacks played professional ball, Minnesota fielded an all black outfield.
.
.
.
.
Soul Patrol - Since 2006 Soul Patrol has most commonly been used to describe American Idol winner Taylor Hicks’ fanbase, and this is currently the #1 definition of the phrase in the urban dictionary.  Late Night television host Jimmy Fallon is believed to have originated the signature hyperglow sweatshirt with striking soul patrol badge.
..
.

Woo

.
Woo – A gleeful sound made by rock and roll legend Little Richard during his energetic and emotional delivery of gospel influenced rock and roll music.  Little Richard charted seventeen original hits in less than three years, before returning to the ministry and gospel music in 1957.  Catch a few woos during  “Long Tall Sally” here:


.
Woo – Used as a verb, “woo” means to romance or court, especially with intent to marry.  Prince William is a recognized expert in the field.  Following an eight year courtship, the Prince and commoner Kate Middleton will meet at the altar later this month.
.
.
.
.
 
 
Woo – An expression of delight by singer and songwriter Taylor Hicks, often accompanied by a sudden, extreme, and potentially dangerous side bend at the waist.  Do not try this at home!  This alternate use of “woo” is linked to the phrase “soul patrol” in current editions of the urban dictionary.  Correct usage: Woo! Soul Patrol!
.
 

Slider

 
Slider – an overpriced small burger that goes down easy and greasy.  The slider often whets but does not satisfy a hearty American appetite.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Slider - The red eared slider turtle is a strong swimmer and is commonly seen basking on rocks or logs above the water surface.  The slider is found from the eastern coast to western Texas, and will hibernate in northern climates.
.
.
.
.
Slider - For spring 2011 a slider is the season 5 American Idol winner with Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon for an epic version of Rebecca Black’s “Friday”.  This slider is fun, fun, fun!
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Could some of these definitions change or be lost with time?  Of course, but given the widespread acceptance of the current meaning of “soul patrol”, Taylor Hicks may have permanently changed our pop culture vocabulary.
.
.
.
.
____________________________________________________
*The full video of “Friday” performed by Stephen Colbert with Jimmy Fallon, Taylor Hicks and The Roots on Late Night:
 
 
 
*Cine loop of slider Taylor Hicks courtesy of artist Katja Virtanen
.
*Photo of Taylor Hicks “woo” bend courtesy of media blog RightHicksSave http://bit.ly/ec2hOy
.
*Bernie Milton and the Soul Patrol clip courtesy of John Manship Records: http://www.raresoulman.co.uk/rarest-of-the-rare/all/15
 
 

Adam Ezra Group: The Social Connection

Photo by MacPolski

He may not have a setlist, but Adam Ezra has a plan.  The plan involves community, and starts in the bars and clubs where the music gets played.  The song list is fluid and on any given night varies with the artist’s mood, the energy in the room, and audience requests.  The performance of individual songs may also change from show to show.  The one constant is Adam’s commitment to making a difference in his community through music.

For a recent Connecticut gig, the Adam Ezra Group asked ticketholders to bring nonperishable food items to the show.  These were gathered in large baskets and donated to the House of Bread Soup Kitchen, serving hungry families in the north Hartford area.  Now on national tour, the band has asked fans to submit the names of local charitable organizations, and plans to make similar contributions in cities along the way.

On April 17, the band will host “The Ramble”.  What is The Ramble?  It’s a concert but it’s also a tailgate party with the band.  Last year the Group held a special concert to raise money for Haiti relief efforts.  This year the event will benefit Feeding America, a charity that serves hungry Americans in all 50 states through a network of food banks.  In 2010 The Ramble attracted 500 concertgoers.  This year the band hopes to fill the 1000 capacity Showcase Live venue in Foxborough, MA.  To help enthusiastic fans get to and from the show, the Group has made a unique offer.  If you live anywhere in New England and have 20 people who’d like to attend, the band will send a bus to get you.  That’s right; it’s a party with a free ride!  Learn more about The Ramble here: http://www.getrambled.com/2011.html

Adam and the band do more than raise money.  This Group is actively involved in their local community.  Aware that music is an important part of students’ lives, but a less important part of their formal education, last spring Adam proposed a pilot program for the public schools.  The band teaches middle schoolers how to write a song.

Adam tells the children that writing lyrics and music is a form of self expression.  Together the students and the band brainstorm ideas and write a story.  Then the melody is added.  The students learn the contribution of each instrument as layers are added to the song.  Later in the week, the new songwriters join the band to play the music for an assembly of their fellow students.  Featured in both print and online editions of The Boston Globe (http://bo.st/g9F1Xq) last May, the pilot program was a big hit with the students.  Their excitement is clear in the following video:

.

Adam feels a special connection to the students, confessing that he tends to think in pictures rather than in words, and is a terrible speller.  He believes that innovative programs in the arts can refocus students who show limited interest in standard classrooms.  While his claim to be an “underachiever” is not believable, it’s clear that this singer/songwriter relates easily to people both young and old.

The Adam Ezra Group started a non-profit this year; the band’s goal is to devote 25% of future tours to charity events.  This is a band with a strong social conscience and a refreshing commitment to action.  Oh, by the way, they also make good music.

Photo by Louise Uznanski

.

For more on the Adam Ezra Group, including music and tour dates: http://www.adamezra.com/index.php?page=homepage

The FedEx Underground Music Series offers the possibility of a recording contract to 3 top vote getting bands.  To vote for Adam Ezra Group, scroll down the page and click on “+” below the band’s name:  http://fedexmusic.com/bands/

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 111 other followers