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Posts from the ‘American Idol’ Category

Taylor Hicks: Daryl’s & The Flying Monkey

©2016 Ontapblog All Rights Reserved

June 16, 2016: Daryl’s House Club, Pawling, New York 


Opening his New England tour last week with stops at Daryl’s House Club in New York and The Flying Monkey Performance Center in New Hampshire, Taylor Hicks, along with Brian Less and special guests Jamie McLean and Joshua Logan, performed two memorable acoustic sets to large, enthusiastic audiences.


Brian Less

Jamie McLean got the music started with his solo performance, infusing his new music with his well known originals before joining Taylor’s headlining set.  His guitar virtuosity added depth to the headlining set especially on his ‘In The Ghetto’ solo.


Jamie McLean

What made this show different?  Taylor mixes new songs and covers with his familiar set list but it is his talking and reflecting in between songs on his life since winning Idol that enriches the experience. His story telling centers on the songwriting he has done with some of the best, most prolific and happy songwriters in the industry.

Taylor’s new travel and food show ‘State Plate’ on INSP TV has started filming around the country and with it comes a new and different litany of stories from the road. If you have ideas for an interesting food experience, Taylor said he wants to hear it. You never know. You might be part of the Story Teller Tour.


Taylor Hicks

June 17, 2016: The Flying Monkey Movie House & Performance Center, Plymouth, NH

The Flying Monkey is a little jewel of a theatre in historic Plymouth, New Hampshire. Taylor invited season 5 finalist Josh Logan to open. Josh’s voice is strong and his guitar playing unique. He played original music and covered soul artists, including Justin Timberlake. He said he was so glad to see Taylor, a brother in soul music, win Idol. Being a local favorite encouraged the audience and his performance made him new fans.


Josh Logan


Brian Less and Taylor Hicks

The set list came with twists and familiar turns. Songs were added on the fly. Bob Seger’s ‘Main Street’, done acoustically, was a spur of the moment addition. The music ebbed and flowed over the hour and a half Taylor and Brian were on stage with love ballads sung tenderly and road songs sung with vigor.


The ‘take ’em to church moment’ came at the encore. With Taylor singing and Brian on keyboard, the audience joined en masse to sing the chorus to Bill Withers’ ‘Lean on Me’. The duo disappeared backstage as the audience walked from their seats humming, ‘we all need somebody to lean on’ all the way to the lobby. Catch a show on the tour that extends through December. By then, the new stories will be interwoven into the music and hopefully someone, somewhere, is writing a song about the road travelled.


Next up: June 24th in Natick, MA; June 25th in Boothbay Harbor, ME; July 8 in Rutland, VT; July 9 in Old Saybrook, CT.

OnTap Photo Focus: Flashback Friday:: Taylor Hicks at The Genesee Theatre

Photography: ©Louise Uznanski

©2015 Ontapblog All Rights Reserved

Please enjoy these photos of Taylor Hicks’ opening stint for BoDeans at the Genesee Theatre on December 28th and join with us in looking forward to all that is new for Taylor and his fans in 2015.














BoDeans and Taylor Hicks Prove Fan Favorites at Genesee Theatre: Part 1

Review contributed by Louise Uznanski and Holley Dey. Photography by Louise Uznanski for OnTapBlog.

©2014 OnTapBlog All Rights Reserved

Seemed an odd pairing when the show was announced, but on Sunday night at Genesee Theatre the performance bill suddenly made good sense and more importantly, made for good music.

American Idol winner Taylor Hicks opened the show. Perhaps best known for debut single “Do I Make You Proud,” Taylor’s post Idol career has also included lengthy and successful Broadway and Las Vegas runs. Now several years away from his 2006 reality show triumph, Hicks continues to work steadily with an album of new “country soul” music anticipated in 2015.

Legendary rock band the BoDeans headlined the Sunday evening show in Waukegan. The “Closer to Free” hitmakers continue to tour the country nearly thirty years after their smash debut, playing to devoted audiences who know and readily sing back the words. From roots to alternative to mainstream rock and back again, the BoDeans and their music have conquered the test of time. The band’s appropriately named twelfth album, I Can’t Stop, is targeted for a spring 2015 release.

Both Hicks and the Bodeans claim a foundation in American roots music and a sound that represents the fusion of rock, country, soul and blues influences. While the relative contribution of those influences differ between the artists, both careers reflect a dedication to craft that has found the ultimate reward – staying power.

On Sunday the audience stayed as well, and appeared to thoroughly enjoy both music sets. Hicks offered a mix of tunes and a mix of genres from his own catalog and his American Idol run, as well as a few select covers. The audience responded most strongly to a performance of “Nineteen”, the story of a young football player and fallen soldier that Hicks earnestly dedicated to first responders, police and firemen. An emotional, soul-filled rendition of the song prompted an equally heartfelt standing ovation.

Some may have remembered Taylor’s televised performance of Elvis Presley’s “In the Ghetto”. Sunday night the audience was treated to the Simon Cowell backstory that led to the song’s selection, and to a jazzier, updated version of the song. Other standouts from the set included a clap-along performance of Timmy Thomas’ “Why Can’t We Live Together”, the mid tempo opener “Country Living”, and roadhouse rocker “Seven Mile Breakdown” that featured a silky smooth solo from in-demand Nashville guitarist Guthrie Trapp.

He sang with soul and played his trademark harmonica, but Hicks also showed his skill at the organ, on guitar and tambourine, surprising many. At intermission the audience poured into the lobby where “so unexpected”, “such a good voice” and “he can play that harp” were among the comments overheard. The Idol winner and band proved a fine complement to the strong musicianship of the Bodeans.

A gallery of photos from the opening set is found below. Review and photographs of the Bodeans’ headlining performance in Waukegan, Illinois will follow shortly.

Taylor Hicks photo by Louise Uznanski

Taylor Hicks photo by Louise Uznanski

Photo by Louise Uznanski

Photo by Louise Uznanski

Guitarist Guthrie Trapp

Guitarist Guthrie Trapp


Taylor Hicks photo by Louise Uznanski

Taylor Hicks photo by Louise Uznanski

Taylor Hicks Photo by Louise Uznanski

Taylor Hicks Photo by Louise Uznanski

Taylor Hicks photo by Louise Uznanski

Taylor Hicks photo by Louise Uznanski

Taylor Hicks photo by Louise Uznanski

Taylor Hicks photo by Louise Uznanski

Taylor Hicks photo by Louise Uznanski

Taylor Hicks photo by Louise Uznanski


Taylor Hicks photo by Louise Uznanski

Taylor Hicks photo by Louise Uznanski

Taylor Hicks and Band photo by Louise Uznanski

Taylor Hicks and Band photo by Louise Uznanski

Taylor Hicks photo by Louise Uznanski

Taylor Hicks photo by Louise Uznanski

Guthrie Trapp and Taylor Hicks photo by Louise Uznanski

Guthrie Trapp and Taylor Hicks photo by Louise Uznanski

Taylor Hicks photo by Louise Uznanski

Taylor Hicks photo by Louise Uznanski

Photo by Louise Uznanski

Photo by Louise Uznanski

Coming up next! Part 2, The BoDeans! 

Link to Part 2 featuring headliner BoDeans.

Taylor Hicks: The Year in Photographs 2013:: Gallery and Giveaway!

by Holley Dey and Louise Uznanski                       ©2013 OnTapBlog All rights reserved

Regis Philbin had a question for Taylor Hicks following the American Idol winner’s 2008 Broadway debut.  “This is what you want then……to be an actor?”  Replied Hicks, “I want to be a musician, and I want to be an entertainer.”  In 2013 Taylor made good on that intention, enlarging his artist brand with ventures into scripted television and celebrity cooking, while maintaining a primary focus on live performance music.

He had his fingers in many pies, borrowing from one recipe to enhance another, blending fun, food and football with the occasional falsetto to create an entertainment potpourri that satisfied even the most finicky.  Here are a few facts and photos attached to a musician who grew and diversified his brand in 2013.  Look for the giveaway that follows the photos; this features one of Hicks’ new ventures! Read more

Who Dat American Idol Got that Funk? Taylor Hicks at Harrah’s New Orleans

by Louise Uznanski     ©2013 OnTapBlog All rights reserved

image (1)

Football fanatic and American Idol winner Taylor Hicks is in The Big Easy this weekend with just enough time, and more than enough energy, to rock a few tunes before Sunday’s showdown between the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers. Read more

American Idol Aftermath: A Historical Perspective

Before American Idol captivated audiences nationwide, another talent show enjoyed a long run on syndicated television.  From 1983 to 1995,  Star Search declared competition winners in male, female, group, and junior vocalist categories.  Many years later it’s interesting, and possibly instructive, to take another look at Star Search.  It’s particularly interesting to examine the contestants’ careers after the cameras stopped rolling, and to consider parallels with the American Idol graduates.

Not all of the Star Search contestants achieved highly visible careers in entertainment after the show ended.  Some of the runner-ups became more famous than the show winners.  Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, and Britney Spears were all contestants on Star Search. 

None of them won.  Aguilera, Timberlake, and Spears were all recruited by Disney after the contest and benefited from consistent exposure to a national television audience through the Mickey Mouse Club, and from the continued support of the Disney company.

Season 1 male vocalist champion Sam Harris produced two early, well received albums following his Star Search win as well as several follow-up albums, and has worked continuously.  Perhaps best recognized for his contributions to theater, Harris was nominated for a Drama Desk award for his performance as Doody in the original Broadway revival of GREASE, and has worked intermittently in both television and film.  He has written as well as performed for the stage. His acclaimed Star Search performance of “Over the Rainbow” follows:

Season 2 male vocalist winner, Durell Coleman produced one album following his television victory, and subsequently toured in support of Anita Baker and BB King, among others.  There was no follow-up album.  In 1990 he joined the Los Angeles based Al McKay’s All Stars as vocal director and lead singer.  In the mid 1990’s he organized the Durell Coleman Band, a special events band that provides entertainment for private parties and large corporate events in southern California.

Kenny James was the 1986 grand champion in the male vocalist category.

His musical efforts received limited attention after the competition ended; James is now a vocalist/performer on the cruise ship circuit.

David Nelson Slater was the 1987 male vocalist champion.  He subsequently released two critially acclaimed country albums, but has since had difficulty with the law, serving jail time for forgery and theft.  He now lives and continues to sing in Nashville.

It’s difficult to draw generalizations from such a small sample, but it does seem that diversification helps, and that American Idol contestants may benefit from expanding their brand beyond singing into other entertainment avenues.  And not surprisingly, added face time in front of the television camera works.  What’s also true  is that talent is not enough to ensure a healthy career in the industry.  All of the Star Search contestants and winners could sing, and sing well.

Why a Reworked American Idol Won’t Work

The  judges panel in turmoil, a shrinking talent pool, the music industry in flux: all are potential reasons for American Idol to rethink and retool its television franchise.  There are signficant incentives for designing a fix to the Idol woes.  Big money and bigger egos are at stake.  Yet even if the judging troika found common ground, and a young Britney Spears presented herself at auditions, would that be enough to guarantee a future for the television show?

I contend that it would not be enough, and in support of that contention, I offer you Mr. Simon Cowell.  Yes, I do mean that Simon Cowell, the ascerbic British judge with the limited wardrobe and bad haircut.  His interest in music leans more to commercial potential than artistic merit, but Mr. Cowell understands business, and he understands human nature.

Simon cited boredom as one of his reasons for departing Idol, and frankly, we’re bored too.  Every popular television show from Seinfeld to Friends to The Sopranos has a limited lifespan as the concept becomes too familiar and the characters predictable.  Take for example the talent show Star SearchStar Search enjoyed a long run in syndication, generating winners and also rans from 1983 to 1995.  The show introduced talent that still works the music industry today, including Mickey Mouse Club members Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera.  Yet despite the success of its alumni, the show ended, and a shortlived relaunch on CBS lasted only from 2003 to 2004.  Enough is enough.

We share a national ennui, fueled by the ready availability of digital entertainment and our ever shortening attention spans.  We are tweeters, not writers.  We scan; we don’t read.  To quote Jeff Goldblum’s character in The Big Chill, “Any article for People can be no longer than the average person can read while taking a crap.”  We expect, even demand, myriad entertainment options, and we want those options now, albeit briefly.

That American Idol has held our attention this long is a testament to the original construct and staffing of the show.  Waning interest is an expected outcome associated with longevity.  While his taste in both clothing and music may be suspect, Simon Cowell has shown an uncanny ability to predict public sentiment and follow the money.  His departure from the show signals an inevitable, although gradual decline to the end.


This essay is solely the opinion of the author, and does not necessarily reflect the view of the entire Taylorhicksnews on tap editorial staff.

Tomorrow on the blog:  American Idol afterlife: a historical perspective

Thursday on the blog:  Taylor Hicks National Tour: A Photo Essay