CONGRATULATIONS, TAYLOR HICKS!
I’ve always been a fan of Jazz, Blues and Soul classics. Junior Kimbrough, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Bill Withers, Allman Brothers, John Coltrane…. those artists have made up a great portion of the soundtrack of my life. I love the classics, but I was also wanting to hear current, original music with the same soulful vibe and I was really beginning to wonder.. what happened to the emotion in popular music? Where’s the enthusiasm, the heart, and the grit? The true passion. It seemed that music was becoming more electronic, more trite and contrived, and more mundane each year, with the exceptions of a few greats such as Jeff Buckley, Keb Mo, and My Morning Jacket.
I was beginning to lose a little faith in the hopes of hearing new and original blues and soul. Music that is gritty, organic and sincere. I had seen so called blues musicians, and they were ‘playing’ the “blues”. The chords were there, and the instrumentation was alright, but there was no emotion, no fits, no fire, no raw passion and overwhelming love for the music, and that, I believe, is what good music is all about. I was beginning to wonder if amazing soul and blues performers were truly a dying breed. I thought it couldn’t be true, but where were they?
Then, one balmy Alabama night, I had the pleasure of seeing Taylor Hicks and his band live for the first time. Here was this man- striking and as talented as he can be, and full of fire, laying it out on the stage for us to enjoy. His music seemed to say ‘Here I am. This is me and what I have to offer. I’m going to put my heart and soul out on this stage. I want to share with you and entertain you’. Seeing Taylor perform lit a spark on the coals that had died down and been pushed to the side, and I began to gain faith in the future of modern blues and soul music. I am very thankful for Taylor’s effect on America, and his presence in the entertainment industry and I am incredibly excited for the things to come. We have needed this, and I know he is going to deliver the goods as well as inspire other artists to continue to make soul and blues music. Music with strong roots. The revival of music that has been a long time coming.