Taylor Hicks on Patrol: Taylor Hicks Band Ready to Roll?
Taylor Hicks fans have finalized their plans and will travel from far and wide to attend the weekend concert series that begins at Vinyl Music Hall in Pensacola, FL on February 24th. The tour then continues to Tunica, MS and the Gold Strike Casino for a February 25th show, and on to Biloxi, MS at the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino for a show on February 26th.
The band leader has yet to name the musicians who will accompany him on the road, and so I’m left to guess the identity of those band(its). Based on recent tour history, here are my predictions for the makeup of the 2011 tour band. Comment/discuss/disagree/list your own band! And remember to click on the images to enlarge.
Taylor Hicks: Vocals, guitar, harp: It goes without saying that the leader of the band and Soul Patrol will be there, warming the South with his mix of soulful country and rock & roll music. Understudy: George Clooney.
Brian Less: Keyboards, Organ: Musical Director Brian Less graced the summer stage in 2010, tickling the keys across the country as Taylor Hicks took his show on the road for a four month tour. Brian provided the backbone to the music, especially on the acoustic encore numbers when Taylor and Brian shared the spotlight together on stage. Understudy: Kenneth Crouch
Sam Gunderson: Guitar, vocals: Sam was the man on guitar during the summer tour. Starting in New York City at Highline Ballroom, the audience could see how happy and nervous Sam was to be on the big stage. His guitar playing did all of his talking for him. Sam was always just ‘happy to be here’. And so were the fans! Understudy: John Kulinich.
Jeff Lopez: Saxophone, tenor sax, part-time conga player: Nicknamed ‘Soulful Sax’, Jeff Lopez made his mark on tour by providing the Latin beat under Taylor’s performances of Once Upon A Lover and the heart stopping flute tribute to Dixie in 19. Known to play two saxes at once, Jeff has inspired many musicians to play wind instruments because the sax is the pathway to the soul. Understudy: Would love to see Brian Gallagher….
Leif Bondarenko: Drums. Drummer extraordinaire, Leif is the rock that centers the band. The song Runaround will never be the same since Leif got his hands on it! Going mostly unseen at the rear of the stage, there is no doubt that Leif can bring down the house, or at least the drum shield, as he pounds out the heart to the soulful sounds of Taylor Hicks. As a photo enthusiast, I remember to ‘not forget the drummer’ in my photos. He never disappoints although his energy is hard to capture in a single shot. Understudy: Gary Novak
Brandon Peeples: Bass guitar. Dunt, dunt,da, dunt, da dunt. That’s the sound of the beat provided by the young, but experienced bass guitarist Brandon Peeples. In a word, Brandon is an entertainer. He rocks, he jams, he riffs with Brian and Taylor and is always having fun on stage. Understudy: Jason Parker.
Jay Smith: Congas or Coooooongas, as Taylor would say… Jay was on fire during the summer tour stop in Jamesville, NY. The outdoor venue, the smoke and lights and sun setting behind the stage laid a perfect backdrop for Jay’s nifty Calypso beat. Understudy: Jeff Lopez
Clay Connor: Stage Manager, Guitar, Vocals: Clay was a big hit when he performed solo as the opening act for Taylor at The Birchmere in Alexandria, VA. Often seen juggling several issues at once, he was still able to get it all done seamlessly and even found time to jump in and jam on the stage with his guitar. At WorkPlay, Clay made a big impact with his energetic guitar playing and rock star moves. Understudy: Bill Will…..
Javier Colon: Opener. Javier was a delight in the New England swing on the summer tour. Runner up: Open to suggestions!
So, who is it going to be? Taylor’s fans have much to remember from 2010 and much to look forward to in 2011. Who will go along for the musical ride? Who would you love to see play with Taylor Hicks on Tour??
All text, photos, and opinions expressed about the tour band provided by Louise/4Tay.