Taylor Hicks

Taylor Hicks

4.3 64
by Taylor Hicks

Taylor Hicks, the oldest contestant to take the American Idol crown, won Season 5 with an affable, wedding singer persona and a repertoire of soul-influenced material that included Ray Charles, Joe Cocker, and Elvis Presley. Taylor's inspired take on "In the Ghetto" was a highlight of the season and earned this son of the South favorable comparisons to the King…  See more details below


Taylor Hicks, the oldest contestant to take the American Idol crown, won Season 5 with an affable, wedding singer persona and a repertoire of soul-influenced material that included Ray Charles, Joe Cocker, and Elvis Presley. Taylor's inspired take on "In the Ghetto" was a highlight of the season and earned this son of the South favorable comparisons to the King. And while there are no Presley chestnuts on Hicks's self-titled major-label debut, there are plenty of nods to this Birmingham native's rhythm and blues influences. On "Heaven Knows," Hicks interweaves punchy horns and handclaps with instrumental snippets of Marvin Gaye's "Ain't That Peculiar" and Ray Charles' "What'd I Say." Elsewhere, Hicks puts his pliable tenor to good use on a cover of Gaye's "Wherever I Lay My Hat" that radiates an ethereal and thoughtful ambiance reminiscent of Rod Stewart's "Forever Young." Brother Ray gets a further nod via "The Right Place," a gospel-flavored slow burner originally penned for the late legend by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance; Hicks infuses the song with a raspy, unforced growl. Alongside numbers contributed by the likes of professional songwriters Dianne Warren and Rob Thomas, the prematurely gray vocalist holds his own with two self-penned cuts originally recorded for his second independent release, Under the Radar. His fans call themselves the Soul Patrol, and Hicks's R&B- and rock-infused album reveals him to be the most multi-talented American Idol winner to date.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Out of all the millions of words that have been written about American Idol, one topic that's never fully addressed is how the show winds up finding and filling America's forgotten pop music needs. Genres that have been banished from the airwaves for one reason or another -- usually because they didn't fit within the strictly regimented confines of corporate radio -- have resurfaced on the show, whether it's unabashedly square middle of the road pop, old-fashioned deep soul, Southern rock or blue-eyed soul. This may not have been true of the show's first season when the two finalists, Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini pretty much fit the bill for TV-produced pop stars -- clean and cute, singing dance-pop designed for the teenagers everyone assumed were AmIdol's core audience -- but things started to veer off track in the show's second season when squeaky-clean Clay Aiken and soul crooner Ruben Studdard constituted the top two. Instead of being a fluke, this was the beginning of American Idol's celebration of neglected styles, leading to the barnstorming soul of Fantasia Barrino in season three, the Southern rock of Bo Bice in season four, and then the white-haired, blue-eyed soul belter Taylor Hicks, who unexpectedly took the top honors in season five. At first glance Hicks sure didn't seem like an American Idol: with that prematurely white hair and his slightly hefty frame, he seemed like somebody's dad trying to pass as an AmIdol contestant, which was part of his charm. But charm alone doesn't win a singing competition, and Hicks had real power as a singer, blessed with a husky, soulful growl that displayed a clear Ray Charles' influence but an even heavier debt to Joe Cocker and Michael McDonald, two singers raised on Motown and R&B who still retained a soulful edge when they eased into soft rock later in their careers. Hicks picked up on this trick of Cocker and McDonald's, how they could still sound passionate while singing schmaltz, and that helped propel him toward the American Idol championship, but even though he took the crown, there was a huge question looming over the release of his debut album: would 19 Entertainment, Clive Davis and all the powers that be behind the scenes at American Idol let Hicks stay true to the gifts he displayed on the show, or would they shoehorn him into a sound that doesn't suit him, the way they did with Bice on his debut The Real Thing? Bice served as a cautionary tale for Hicks and his producers, since he was another Alabama boy who shined on AmIdol because he was bringing back a Southern sound not heard on the radio, but when it came time for his debut he was forced into a stilted modern rock that not only didn't suit him musically, but it ignored the very reason why audiences loved him on the show: they loved him because he didn't sound like everybody else on the radio, but on The Real Thing, his producers tried to make him sound like everybody else, and failed miserably. The same thing could have happened to Hicks, since he also didn't sound like anybody else on the radio in 2006, but fortunately, everybody involved in Hicks' debut do not try to force modernity upon him: they let Taylor be Taylor. Which doesn't necessarily mean that Taylor Hicks is nothing but a Doobie Brothers album in disguise: it certainly has tracks that fit within the confines of adult contemporary radio in 2006, but they never feel as crass or formulaic as "Do I Make You Feel Proud," his post-Idol chart-topper that found him straining against the constraints of AC conventions. Cuts that are nothing more than professional and pleasant -- mainly ballads, such as the plodding yet anthemic "Just to Feel That Way" and the Diane Warren-penned "Places I've Been," which was written with Hicks' back story in mind but nevertheless feels formulaic, but also an overly slick cover of Marvin Gaye's "Wherever I Lay My Hat" -- account for about a third of Taylor Hicks, and while they're little more than the perfectly fine fodder of a waiting room, Hicks does not sound uncomfortable singing them. Indeed, he invests them with just enough personality that they're more engaging than the bland yet pretty ballads that pass as modern soft rock, and their inclusion here makes commercial sense; these are the tunes that play by the rules of modern adult pop, and Hicks performs them as a pro without losing his personality. In contrast, the rest of Taylor Hicks is a throwback -- not necessarily a throwback to the Motown and '60s pop that he sang on Idol, but rather to the soft rock and blue-eyed soul of the '70s and '80s, which itself was informed by the spirit of the '60s. And at its best -- and it's frequently very good, even excellent -- Taylor Hicks resembles nothing so much as a forgotten '80s soft rock album, a blend of Michael McDonald, Bridge-era Billy Joel, Hall & Oates and Steve Winwood's Roll with It that certainly satisfies any hopes that Hicks would indeed make a record that could be called Yacht Rock for the new millennium. Digitally polished though it may be, there's a lived-in warmth to the performances of Hicks and his studio pros, and producer Matt Serletic, who made his name helming records for Matchbox Twenty, is sharp enough to retain that feel even when he's building tracks upon samples, as he does on "Heaven Knows," which reworks Ray Charles' "What I'd Say" into an addictive, danceable piece of modern soul-pop. This gives Taylor Hicks a sound that's appealing on its own merits, but what makes the record work are the songs that evoke the past yet still sound fresh. Occasionally, this means something that's been unearthed, like "Gonna Move," a light, laid-back number found on Paul Pena's cult 1973 soul album New Train, but for the most part these are newly-written songs by professional songwriters. Matchbox Twenty's Rob Thomas is the only writer who attempts to bridge the gap between Hicks' retro-soul and contemporary pop, and he does so very well with "Dream Myself Awake," but the best stuff here are the songs that simply revive soulful sounds, whether it's Bryan Adams' surprisingly successful gospel-inflected closer "The Right Place," the neo-duet "Give Me Tonight" or, most of all, the absolutely terrific opener "The Runaround," a propulsive throwback to '80s soul-pop that's as good as any hit Michael McDonald had in that decade. As good as any of these professionally written tunes are Hicks' two originals -- the funky "Soul Thing" and the closest thing to genuine old-fashioned Southern soul, the quite wonderful "The Deal" -- revived and re-recorded from a pre-Idol independent album he made that show him as a solid writer in addition to being an inspired deal. Their inclusion also shows that he, assisted by some smart pros, can make the songs of others fit his musical style, which makes this debut somewhat of a subversive success: he's created an album that fits all of American Idol's requirements -- it's big, clean, catchy and commercial -- without losing his own identity, so he's sneaked blue-eyed soul back into the mainstream. But he never would have gotten this chance if American Idol's huge audience didn't recognize that he had this talent and if they didn't realize that he was making music that they had forgotten to hear, and fortunately, 19 Entertainment, in turn, realized this and let Taylor Hicks make an album that will surely satisfy anybody who loved to hear him on the show, and an album that stands as one of the best Idol-related records yet made.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Sony Mod - Afw Line

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Taylor Hicks   Primary Artist,Harmonica,Drums,Background Vocals,Soloist
Louis Price   Background Vocals
Rusty Anderson   Guitar
Curt Bisquera   Drums
Stevie Blacke   Strings,Cello,Lap Steel Guitar
Chris Bruce   Bass,Guitar
Paul Bushnell   Bass
Lenny Castro   Percussion
Reggie Hamilton   Electric Bass,Upright Bass
James Harrah   Guitar
Nick Lane   Trombone
Greg Leisz   Pedal Steel Guitar,Lap Steel Guitar,Soloist
Eric Marienthal   Tenor Saxophone
Jamie Muhoberac   Organ,Piano,Keyboards,Clavier,Wurlitzer
Joseph Powell   Background Vocals
Lee Thornburg   Trumpet
Patrick Warren   Keyboards
Oren Waters   Background Vocals
Terry Young   Background Vocals
Kara DioGuardi   Background Vocals
Leland Sklar   Bass
Greg Adams   Trumpet
Matt Serletic   Keyboards,Background Vocals,Wurlitzer
Mark Hollingsworth   Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Soloist
Tom Leonard   Background Vocals
Kevin Kadish   Organ
Jason Migas Morales   Background Vocals
Nikisha Grier   Background Vocals
Almost Exhausted Tabernacle Choir   Background Vocals
Matt Tryggestad   Background Vocals
Weekend Warrior's Drum Corps   Drums
Johnny Bamont   Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Judith Hill   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Marvin Gaye   Composer
Smokey Robinson   Composer
Barrett Strong   Composer
Jess Cates   Composer
Scott Cutler   Composer
Pete Davis   Programming
Stephen Marcussen   Mastering
Warren "Pete" Moore   Composer
Jamie Muhoberac   Contributor
Alexander Richbourg   Programming
Jess Sutcliffe   Engineer
Jim Vallance   Composer
Diane Warren   Composer
Norman Whitfield   Composer
Rob Thomas   Composer
Kara DioGuardi   Composer
Greg Adams   Horn Arrangements
Mark Dobson   Engineer
Corey Rooney   Composer,Original Concept
Matt Serletic   Composer,Producer,Horn Arrangements,Audio Production
Emanuel Kiriakou   Composer
Brent Paschke   Digital Editing
Anne Preven   Composer
Greg Collins   Engineer
Lindy Robbins   Composer
John Hanes   Digital Editing
Patrick Woodward   Engineer
James Renald   Composer
Kevin Kadish   Composer
Makeba Riddick   Composer
John OBrien   Programming
Taylor Hicks   Composer
Rhea Willis   Groomer
Paul "Earthquake" Pena   Composer

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Customer Reviews

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Taylor Hicks 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 64 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album's Title Taylor Hicks. What can you say you get what you see that's whoooo he is. It has great moving songs. My daughter and I love to dance and sing along. I would enjoy buying other CD's by Taylor Hicks!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Even though this CD was somewhat rushed, I give Taylor Hicks 5 stars for his powerful vocals that convey so much emotion and are refreshingly unique in today's mainstream music scene. This CD offers a great overview of the versatility for which Taylor was already known for during American Idol as well as in his pre-idol performances. This man can definitely sing anything, but the true beauty of his voice and talent shines through in the soulful ballads of which the Right Place is a prime example on this collection. The Deal and Soul Thing are other beautiful examples of Taylor's true talent and give us a glimpse of what he may have in store for us in the future. Having given these highlights, I must say that there is not a song on this CD that does not captivate me at one time or another. There is something to listen to no matter what mood I am in.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Despite a few songs with rather ridiculous lyrics, Taylor's unique voice and personality shine through on this album. Although he is best as a live performer, his voice translates well onto a CD. My favorite songs? The Runaround, and The Right Place. Soul Patrolers will mostly love this album, while others may find themselves surprised.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gritty, soulful, tender, hyper, foot tapping are all words I would use to describe Taylor Hick's new CD. I bring him to the gym with me while I run on the treadmill. He can really get my energy up with his lively music and I just love his voice.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a truly marvelous CD. Taylor's voice is beautiful and the band is marvelous. I expect this CD to do very, very well. There is something for everyone here and not a bad cut on the entire CD. "The Right Place" alone is worth the price of the CD.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Taylor, you are an amazing performer, you make people get off the couch and dance and grin from ear to ear. Thanks so much for bringing back the music. The band is awesome too. I can't get enough of you!!!!! The Runaround is amazing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Soul Patrol...Soul Patrol! WOO! I know this CD will be as cool as Taylor's hair :oD I've been a fan since the beginning of American Idol. Keep up the great work..WOO!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I wish American Idol would go off the air if it can't produce anything better than this. Taylor Hicks talent is marginal at best. I saw him recently on television, and his performance was embarrasing. Don't waste your money (or your time) on this or any of his CDs.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been waiting for an artist like this to make their way to the forefront! Taylor has done a wonderful job of uniting the sounds of the legends and reviving that with his own fresh flair! My favorite song would be hard to pin point because there are truely about 6 that stick out. 1) The Right Place- Written for Ray Charles before his passing. Taylor channels Ray's vibe and infuses his own pleading, moving emotion into this beautiful song...it is haunting! This song is destined to be a classic for him! 2)Just To feel That Way- a powerful and romantic ballad. Beautifully written and performed. His voice takes this song and gives it strength and tenderess all at the same time. 3)Runaround- definatly written for Taylor. His fun energetic personality comes out in this one! This one ROCKS! 4)Wherever I Lay My Hat- This song has an old school vibe and it is perfect for taylors tender and soulful voice. His performance is very convincing. I think he might have lived a line or two of this song. 5)The deal- Sounds like James Taylor meets Taylor. Actually I think this is a Taylor original...and it's just a groovy tune. I could hear this song being used for tv or movies. 6)Gonna Move- I have to say I like this one LIVE. He does a great job of changing it up for the cd. Love the story this song tells. Having said this...there is one song that I tend to skip...just because it really does not capture me...just my opinion/ Places I've Been. This song just kind of seems like a filler song. ALL the other tracks are great! This is his first major release. I think that he has put a lot of his heart and soul into this cd. For having come out of AI..he has done a tremendous job of making those fans pleased as well as those who just love him for his REAL approach to music!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Two thumbs up to Taylor Hicks. Strong CD with excellent vocals and powerful music. Continues with the music he loves Soul. Also delivers a Beatles style with Just To Feel That Way. Our favorite Give Me Tonight,GREAT! You will not be able to stop the CD player with this one in it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Amazing. Especially The Right Place and Just To Feel That Way. Taylor did a magnificent job and should be very proud of this album.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an outstanding cd! Considering that he recorded this in six weeks, it is absolutely astounding.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Way to go! Awesome Music, every time I hear it it continues to grow on me. Can't choose a favorite as of yet!! Congratulations!! Highly recommend for the soulful!
Guest More than 1 year ago
First album I've ever seen that all tracks are great. I can't pick a favorite. First time I listened to it, I thought all the songs were pretty good. The next time I listened to it, I thought all tracks were good, but a few were excellent. By the third time I listened to the album, I could not pick a favorite. I love all the songs on this album. Each one is different in it's own way and all of the songs are fabulous. Taylor thank you for this wonderful album of great music. LOVE IT!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Firstly, about my own musical taste. I have an eclectic taste in music ( from opera to classical music to blues to funk to modern) and this CD is tailor made for me (pun intended). Well, what can I say after several rounds of listening ? It is absolutely one of the best CDs I have ever heard this year and most definitely one of the best one recorded in the past few years! Taylor never ceases to amaze me! How anyone can compile and record a CD of this great quality and versatility in such a short time is beyond me, but he definitely did it. It simply shows that he has been thinking about doing something like this for sometime. It might have been created in a few weeks, but based on interview after interview with Taylor, it is obvious that a lot of thought went to it LONG before Taylor joined American Idol. I listened and re-listened I keep hearing something new with each listen. Taylor's vocals are amazing. The songs are all so different and I love the way I can hear each word in every song Tayor sings. Taylor certainly has delivered. I can't decide on a favorite. With each listen, it changes. The songs range from GREAT ( e.g. THE RIGHT PLACE ) to acceptable ( PLACES I'VE BEEN ). I even love the "electronica" they've used on some of the cuts and usually I prefer less of the "high tech" sound. Taylor Hicks does not disappoint. He has exceeded my expectations and all I can say is this album deserves a Grammy Nomination. One thing that I realized after listening to this CD is that Taylor never could have made a record like this simply with his own band --- LiMBO. While they are great and highly talented, they have a style that isn't as diverse as what is being shown here. The musicianship on this CD is superb, especially for the diversity of styles represented. It Crosses over into virtually every genre ( cajun,funk,soul,pop,etc.) and I believe it IS something that HE assembled from his musical experience with his personal "stamp of approval". There is something for everyone here. This album is a great compilation of songs and a showcase of his broad range and appreciation for all things musical. Overall, I give it 8.5/10. If this is a fortaste of things to come, I say Taylor will have a long, enduring career. Like so many others who have heard this album, I think my favorites will rotate. The one constant for me is this -- THE RIGHT PLACE is the masterpiece of this CD ! But really, you have to listen to the CD more than once to mine the many precious musical nuggets it contains. OVERALL : Outstanding vocals, stupendous instrumentation by the musicians - plenty of Whomp, Funk, Soul - both fast & slow. As one poster commented --- This CD is one groovy EARGASM! It will be a cultural crime if they overlook this album for a Grammy Nomination.
Guest More than 1 year ago
He sang that it would, and it has.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am looking forward to having some Taylor in my Chritsmas stocking, or under my tree. The album sounds great...it is a sample of what is the first of many musical fruits.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The songs they chose to give Taylor are mediocre - that's the best I can say about this disc. I can't help but wonder how good it would have been if they had let Taylor have as much creative control as Chris Daughtry had. We only get two re-hashed songs from Under the Radar and nothing new! I'm disappointed because I know Taylor can write decent songs. Most of the songs on this CD just come off as 'cheesy' and I know Taylor deserves so much better than this. In summary, I'll say Taylor manages to make some very bad songs listenable, but only because he has a great voice and immense talent. Unfortunately, I think this collection of songs may have trouble finding a home on radio station playlists for various reasons, but maybe that doesn't matter.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For the peeps who already love Taylor Hicks from "American Idol," of couse they are going to love his debut album. "Heaven Knows" is the Taylor we all know, and "The Right Place" is the right song for those who love Taylor's affinity to Ray Charles. "The Runaround" and "Dream Myself Awake" should appeal to many music lovers, but "Just to Feel That Way," is Taylor at his best and should please his die-hard fans as well as pop music lovers. With the variety on this CD, there should be something for just about any music lover to love.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am so excited about Taylor's new album. The songs are wonderful and have amazing star quality. There's something for everyone on the album: it's soulful, funky, groovy, modern "WHOMP" music. I LOVE IT!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
You are amazing, this album is amazing, all the songs make you smile and want to dance. I love your whomp music. The world is about to be Taylorized..
Guest More than 1 year ago
WOW & WOW - I have never enjoyed an entire album the was this one has thrilled me. Every song is a winner and a potential #1 hit!! It's got something for everone wheather you are 18, 28 or 88... A little blues, a little soul, a little rock and a LOT OF WHOMP!!!! Put a smile on someone's face that you care about. Get it for your friends and loved ones, because they will thank you for it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I can't wait to get this CD in my hands. Not very often do I find a CD that I love just about every song. He has such soul and such a beautiful voice.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This cd is so wonderful. There is music that makes you want to dance...and music that makes you want to dance...closely. Horns, harp, outstanding percussion, and the velvet and earthy voice of this Southern gentleman. This cd will be one listened to with every listen revealing another layer of musical genius. Out of all the songs, I love 7, like 4, and one is so-so. For a first commercially produced cd, this is great. I think Taylor is here to stay...and will take many people on a wonderful and unexpected journey with him.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The right mix of songs the right voice the right instruments the right everything. There is something on this CD for everyone. And there is just one word to describe THE RIGHT PLACE....SOULFUL. What a talent. I am a 49 year old mother of 4, Nana of 7, and I ran music stores for years this CD is everything that is right with music today. Buy and enjoy!