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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


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.

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.

Product Details

Release Date:
Sony Mod - Afw Line

Related Subjects


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
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
Anne Preven   Composer
Greg Collins   Engineer
Lindy Robbins   Composer
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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Taylor Hicks 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 64 reviews.
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
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
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
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
All I can say is this cd was rated as one of the best idols cds ever, and that includes Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. Taylor uses all the sources that he has to put out a cd that everyone should like. there's uptempo songs and great ballads. Taylor sings his butt off so my recomedation is to go to the listening part of the page and listen to one of the best cds of the year
Guest More than 1 year ago
There have been much better singers lose American Idol.
Guest More than 1 year ago
He is a recording artist and doesn't need to be seen to be enjoyed as some Idol watchers believed. He really delivers vocally on this CD. My personal favorites are two covers, Gonna Move and Wherever I lay my Hat. I had heard his original song, Soul Thing, previously and thought the CD should have been called Soul Thing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Horrible album. Biggest waste of money... I'm ashamed to call him our American Idol. Sounds like a croacking frog. Save your money. Don't blow it on this worthless album.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is one of my favorite! His voice just hypnotizes me when i listen to him sing. Some of these songs sound kinda like Rod Stewart songs. I love him too. I love every song on this cd and the way he sings it. Sexy...sexy voice!!! He is so gorgeous and i hope to buy many more of his albums! GO SOUL PATROL!!!! WOOOO We love ya in Mississippi!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
WOW!!!! Finally a new kind of music to listen to. He puts all of his heart and soul into each track, and has amazing vocals through out the CD. I love all of the tracks, but 3 of my favorites are "Runaround, dream myself awake, and just to feel that way." I am so glad Taylor won American Idol because he truly deserves the title. Anyone who loved Taylor on the show will love his CD. Well worth the wait! THANKS FOR A WONDERFUL CD TAYLOR! SOUL PATROL!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
For the past 10-15 years, I only listened to either Broadway musicals or Country, as the music out there was not thrilling... I sort of watched American Idol the previous years, but when Season 5 began, particularly with the auditions in Vegas, that I heard a voice that really caught my ear, which turned out to be Taylor Hicks. Taylor made me do a double-take, to the point where "'Attention must be paid,'" like in 'Death of a Salesman' by Arthur Miller. There is a song on this album that EVERYONE will enjoy/love, and for a 12-track album, that is rare... I have NEVER been this excited about anything in the music world, and I have to thank Taylor Hicks for bringing real music back to my life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This cd only improves as you listen to it, and it starts out wonderfully. Kudos to Taylor Hicks. And congrats to the listeners as we are all blessed by his talent. "Blue eyed soul" had been gone far too long...it is a great day for music lovers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This cd has to be heard, Taylor Hicks duts together a group of songs that has something for everyone. He blends a type of music that is old school meets new school. the up tempo songs make you want to move in your seat and he has some help from Tower of power horns, from the Run Around a up tempo song that the horn section is terrific to Just to feel that way, a ballad that you can really hear how good taylor's voice is. He uses songs from marvin gaye,rob thomas, and bryan adams.this cd has been rated as one of the best idols cds ever and it must be heard. most people say that everytime they play the cd it gets better and better, and it's very hard to pick a favorite because there are so many. So if you want a cd that's is unique in that every song is either good or great and there's a mixture of uptempo and ballads, this is the cd. please take a listen to this cd.
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Taylor Hicks is the most passionate musician of our times. My favorite cut is Feel That Way. Taylor is here to stay.
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
Enjoyed Taylor and his moves on Idol...but this is a very weak CD. He'll change up the tempo on his next album...if there is one that is.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved Taylor on American Idol and voted for him every week but I was worried that American Idol would try to change him when he was ready to make a post-American Idol album. It was better than my expectations. Every song is wonderful. Especially "The Right Place" and "Just to Feel that Way". Even if you never watched American Idol you should check this album out. I like this album even better than Kelly Clarkson's albums. Do not listen to those who trash Taylor because they just either hate American Idol in general or just mad that their favorite didn't win. They are just losers who have no life and have nothing better to do than come on here and trash him, and many base thier dislike for Taylor on nothing. 5/5 GREAT ALBUM!
Guest More than 1 year ago
He sang that it would, and it has.
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
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
I was extremely impressed with this debut CD from Taylor. Except for one track (Dream Myself Awake), the songs are lively, danceable and soulful.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was really looking forward to his CD release. I even pre-ordered a copy for myself and another friend of mine. Needless to say, I listened to it a handful of times and haven't listened to it sense. My friend couldn't even listen to it a second time. We both were relentless voters for him on AI. I am very disappointed in this CD. I am not sure if I will buy another CD of his in the future. If there is another one in his future, then I hope it is much better than this!
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.