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Taylor Hicks at WorkPlay Theatre: The Party’s On!

Photo of Taylor Hicks with UAB Gospel Choir by NolaMar; all other photos of the 2009 WorkPlay shows are previously unreleased and now graciously shared by Louise/4tay.


On Thursday, December 9, Taylor Hicks and band will host a music party at Birmingham’s WorkPlay Theatre.  You’re invited. 

Oh yes, you have questions.  What kind of party is this?  Who else is coming?  What should I wear?  Should I bring an appetizer?

If the September 2009 shows are any indication, we believe that the upcoming 2010 concert will be a surprise party.  We’re expecting to hear the signature mix of country, rock and blues represented on Taylor’s most recent album, “The Distance”, but we’re ready for the unexpected.  The 2009 shows provided several unanticipated pleasures; the duet performance of “Woman’s Gotta Have It” by Taylor Hicks with local music legend Ona Watson comes to mind.  Then there were the collaborative efforts of guitarists Billy Earl McClelland and Josh Smith paired with Taylor Hicks’ vocals on “Dust My Broom”.  The lovely Donna Hall added her voice to the evening’s version of the album’s title track, “The Distance”.  Both sold out shows were surprising, and satisfying.

The people coming to this party like music, and they like to have fun.  They’ve got that dance without any steps; they let the music move them around.  If you decide to join them at WorkPlay, wear loose, comfortable clothing because you’re going to be doing some moving and grooving, too.

There is no need for you to bring an appetizer.  We expect that the Taylor Hicks band will provide a full course musical meal and a sweet dessert.  Last year’s encore showcased the University of Alabama Gospel Choir with a memorable performance of “New Found Freedom”.

WorkPlay Theatre has held several noteworthy parties recently.  During the month of October alone, the venue featured Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Michael Franti & Spearhead, JJ Grey & Mofro, among other national and regional acts.  While the venue has recently felt the impact of the national recession, the music is still going strong.

Tickets for the December 9, 2010 Taylor Hicks show at WorkPlay Theatre are available online at or by telephone at (205) 380-4082.  Join the party.

Taylor Hicks at Epcot: The Thrill is On

Louise/4Tay attended Eat to The Beat at Epcot and Taylor Hicks’ six shows and provides her recap, photos and video from the two day event. Click on the image for a larger view.
Seeing Taylor enter the stage at a live concert is always a thrill for me.  To be able to see him enter the stage six times in two days was an unbelievable delight. Whether Taylor flew through the air from the bass stand or he stopped and smiled with his band mates Brian Less and Brandon Peeples on the way to the mic stand, Taylor made quite an entrance in the two nights he performed at Epcot’s Eat to the Beat Food and Wine Festival this past weekend in Orlando, Florida.

Epcot’s Eat to the Beat is an annual event of food, wine and musical entertainment.  This year the festival was celebrating its fifteenth anniversary and what better way to celebrate than to mix the rhythm and blues of Taylor Hicks and his band with the tasty foods from around the world.  Eating your way around the world takes place during the day.  When the sun starts to set in the Florida sky, the musical talent appears on the stage.  Kids of all ages make their way to the outdoor theater expecting to hear  the young man with the gray hair who danced quirkily on American Idol in 2006 and transformed his charismatic personal style into an unexpected win for the ages.

It is here at Epcot where that unexpected talent wowed the audience not once, not twice, but six times.  The band was composed of Alabama musicians, friends of Taylor’s since before gracing the Idol stage.  By now familiar names to the ardent fan, the band was a new revelation to the fans who made their way to see ‘that gray haired guy who won American Idol.’  Little did they know that the Taylor Hicks show is a well oiled machine and they were ramped up and ready to deliver a show worthy of a champion in the land of Mickey Mouse, French crepes and Reisling wine.

The new fan arrived just thrilled at the thought of seeing a real, live, American Idol.  When they left, they left  thrilled but for a different reason.  They were wowed by the performances they saw and got back in line to be thrilled again despite their insistence that they were going to leave after the first show.  For those who have lost count of the number of times they’ve seen  Taylor perform live, the thrill of seeing him on the Disney stage in front of an audience that came there mostly out of curiosity, carried them through the long lines to get in, past the hot Florida sun and the long hours without sleep to see this unfold.

Taylor could have sung his Idol favorites everyone knew from his time on the TV show that made him a household name.  But, Taylor stayed true to his blues, soul and country roots by singing six, thirty minute medlies of original tunes including Soul Thing, The Deal, and Hold On To Your Love and covers including Love the One You’re With, Battlefield, Stay With Me and Bulletproof. Taylor’s rendition of Nineteen brought the audiences to their feet each of the six times it was performed.

The band each took their turn in the spotlight.  Sam Gunderson’s guitar blazing solo on Battlefield brought standing ovations time after time.  Brian Less and Brandon Peeples duel it out on piano and bass guitar on Seven Mile Breakdown while Matt Kimbrell adds his spice and flavor to the thunderous drum rhythm supplied by Leif Bondarenko on Hold on To Your Love and Love the One You’re With.  Leif has been known to pound the drums so intensely that plexi-glass flops to the floor under the pressure of a hot drum solo.  Jeff Lopez’s heart stopping performance of a Dixie tag during Nineteen is worth coming to see the show just to see this one single solo.

And then there is the American Idol, Taylor Hicks, up on the stage playing the guitar, blowing sweet sounds on a hot harp and dancing to the rhythm of Scarlet Begonia’s, a Grateful Dead standard.  Who is this man on the stage doing all of these things we’ve never seen him do before?  His thrilling blend of voice, instruments and showmanship prompted some in the audience to call family or friends to come to the theater because they were missing the ‘new’ Taylor Hicks!

We went to see Taylor in a different type of venue where you have to line up six times to re-enter the theater for three shows a day.  What we came away with was the joy of seeing Taylor enter the stage in six different ways and leave the stage with six sets of new fans made by providing them with the thrill of live performing at it’s very best.  The joy that Taylor performs with makes it thrilling for fans old and new to see him in a venerable venue such as the one at Epcot. The festival was a treat for the senses and the greatest surprise in that festival was a much loved and now more admired thrill provider:  Taylor Hicks.

Back to Louisana covered by Taylor Hicks at Epcot.

The Epcot American Theater keeps in tandem with the excellent organization expected from a Disney venue.  Great lighting, acoustics and staging, these elements created a perfect environment for Taylor to do his best to thrill every last audience member for six sets of thirty minutes each.  Below are a few examples of the excellence forged out of the collaboration of Taylor and Disney.


Additional photos of Taylor Hicks

Celebrating 2011 with Taylor Hicks Calendar

Big Taylor News!!

The long awaited  fan produced calendar featuring illustrations and fan photos is underway and ordering the calendar begins today, right here.  Celebrating 2011 with Taylor Hicks is the newest calendar dedicated to all the fun and good times the Soul Patrol will have in 2011.

Check other Taylor Hicks fan sites for this link but right now the calendar can be ordered by clicking the link below to the ordering and  purchase page!

The proceeds will be donated to Gulf Aid, benefiting the fishermen and coastal regions, on behalf of Taylor’s fans and the calendar will be filled with our favorite illustrator’s creations and photos from fans who have graciously shared their work as well.

Once you have ordered, clicking the link to the hotmail email address will bring you to a thank you page filled with information about shipping dates and the charity’s information and a link to their web site.

Ordering deadline is NOVEMBER 13, 2010 so order yours early.  First shipment goes out December 1st!

So, are you ready Soul Patrol to Celebrate 2011 with Taylor Hicks???  Thank you for your support!

Order Here

Taylor Hicks and Marilyn Monroe: A Photographer’s Story

By Holley Dey  ©2010 OnTapBlog All rights reserved
All photographs provided by Taylor Christian Jones and reproduced with permission. The car had been purchased at auction, and was made available for the photo shoot by a private collector.  Two truckloads of equipment and gear traveled Interstate 65 from Nashville to the local Birmingham warehouse where the session took place.  In all, two months of planning and preparation were invested before a single picture was taken, and before Taylor Hicks took the driver’s seat in the 1962 convertible. The Chrysler 300 is in pristine condition.  The odometer reads 4900 miles and the paint is original.  Originally owned by MGM Studios and driven by Marilyn Monroe, the car was a perfect fit for the “old Hollywood” feel that photographer Taylor Christian Jones hoped to create for the photo shoot.

The shoot had been commissioned by CityVision, Inc., a Birmingham based company that welcomes visitors to the City with information about local attractions, eateries, and nightspots via television and print.  One of the company’s products is EXCURSIONS, a hardcover, high quality publication placed in hotel guest rooms.  Each year, the book includes interviews with celebrities whose roots lie in the Birmingham area.  In 2009, American Idol season 2 winner Ruben Studdard was featured.  The 2010 book has just been released and includes an interview with and several photographs of Alabama native and American Idol season 5 winner Taylor Hicks.

Hicks was recruited for the project by CityVision president/CEO Brent Boyd.  Boyd arranged a photo shoot for September 2009 when Taylor was in Birmingham to star in the Broadway production of GREASE, and to perform at WorkPlay Theatre.  Photographer Taylor Jones was booked for the shoot; he had worked with CityVision in the past and impressed the CEO with both the quality of his work and his professionalism.  Jones was introduced to Hicks at soundcheck for the WorkPlay show, and subsequently photographed the concert.

Following the Workplay show, Taylor Jones developed more elaborate ideas for a photo shoot with Taylor Hicks.  To incorporate both the singer’s retro style and theater background, the photographer proposed a scene that would recreate an old fashioned movie set, complete with classic car.  When Jones learned that Hicks is a Marilyn Monroe fan, the pieces all fell together.

The shoot was scheduled for December 2009 and held at Birmingham’s Old Car Heaven, a unique live music venue where an extensive collection of antique American cars is on display. The Chrysler 300H was placed against a 14 foot backdrop of the historic Birmingham entertainment district that had been  printed from an old 1930s photograph.  Lighting was set to provide a constant light orange glow and a sense of theater.  Strobes were placed overhead and all around the set.  A Fender Gibson 345 guitar was borrowed from Bailey Bros. Music Company to faithfully reproduce Hicks’ concert style.

The weather was particularly cold on the day of the shoot, but it was warm inside where both Hicks and the production team were upbeat and enthusiastic about the project.  Boyd reports that Taylor Hicks was a true southern gentleman, charming the production team with his good natured conversation and sense of humor.  When a few extra minutes were needed to retrieve a missing wardrobe item, Taylor kept everyone entertained, cracking jokes and taking several additional pictures. The photo session had been scheduled for thirty minutes, but half an hour soon became three hours in front of and around Taylor Jones’ digital camera (Canon 5D Mark II).  At one point, Hicks claimed the camera himself to review the images.   Taylor Jones was surprised to find that the musician could operate the relatively complicated camera without instruction. Taylor Christian Jones is himself relatively new to photography. The now 23 year old reports that his first commercial shoot was completed at age 20.  He calls what he does his “obsession” rather than his profession, a reflection of his intense focus.  Jones has photographed several bands including Switchfoot and Need to Breathe, as well as singer Ted Nugent.  Jones recently filmed his first professional music videos, and envisions a future in cinematography.  Taylor Jones provided the photographs of Ruben Studdard included in the 2009 EXCURSIONS guest directory. The 2010 edition of EXCURSIONS fills 92 pages, featuring Taylor Hicks and including Taylor Jones’ stunning photographs of the musician and the classic Chrysler automobile.  The book will be a staple of hotel guest rooms throughout Birmingham this year.  A limited number of copies are available for direct purchase.  Inquiries may be directed to Brent Boyd at

The production team. Back row, from left to right: Taylor Christian Jones (photographer), Kris McAuley (production assistant), Allison Jones (shoot producer), Taylor Hicks, Brent Boyd (President/CEO, CityVision). Front row, from left to right: Celine Chenowith Russell (shoot stylist), Krista Conlin (Vice President, Wilbanks Agency)

For more on photographer Taylor Christian Jones:

For more on singer/musician Taylor Hicks:

For more on CityVision:

To view last year’s (2009) CityVision Excursions Travel Guide:

For more on Old Car Heaven:

Marilyn Monroe



Taylor Hicks on Tour: The Sounds of Sequim:: supplement

Courtesy of Bonnie, these additional video clips have been made available from the September 25, 2010 Taylor Hicks show in Sequim, Washington.  Scroll down to revisit the entire Sounds of Sequim post, including a live recording of the show.


“Maybe You Should” consider this original tune from Taylor Hicks’ 2009 album “The Distance”.

Country rock takes on a soulful vibe in this live performance, as “Seven Mile Breakdown” is tagged with verses from the Beatles and Jackson Browne.

And here, a brief bonus clip that includes only the “tags’, those songs within a song that highlighted “Seven Mile Breakdown”.