Mea Culpa (of sorts)

12 Aug

It has been 90 days since I posted my unmistaken disappointment  in Taylor Hicks taking the role of Teen Angel in the Broadway production of Grease.  I vowed that if this turned out to be a good thing that I would happily admit that I was wrong.

Well, I have to say that I am floored that this whole Grease thing has been nothing but positive for Taylor.  Somewhat magically, once he donned the sparkly blue suit and descended the ice cream cone for the first time, substantial and positive press surrounded him.  Of course, this is the total opposite reaction I was anticipating from the less than kind industry press.

While I think that Taylor made chicken salad out of the proverbial chicken shit and seems to have virtually saved the production from closing early, I have to wonder about the sudden shift from cowpies continually flung in his direction (if he was even talked about at all) to the literal toast of the town (a really big one).

I don’t know if this gig was his idea or not; if he finally acquiesed to AI minions; or if he just wanted to summer in NYC, but he certainly has embraced the role and seems to be having a high time.  Again, I still don’t really “get it”, as I’d prefer that he be doggedly working on a “real” CD, however I must admit that this part has given him some definite positive traction.

With the demanding schedule, I highly doubt that he’s been recording anything.  So, I think it’s unlikely that we’ll see the new CD before Christmas.  Particularly since the Early Works CD is being released today in an exclusive Target offering.

For $9.98 you can own re-mastered tracks from In Your Time and Under the Radar.  While not the normal CD price, I think the $9.98 deal through Target is a great distribution deal that will end up saving Taylor money and ensuring that the CD is highlighted in a very effective channel.  (For example, EW makes it’s debut alongside the very popular Jonas Brothers CD ^^^^).  It’s also “priced to sell”, which means more people will consider buying it. 

In case you’re wondering about which songs are included on the Early Works CD, here you go:

1. Soul Thing
2. The Fall
3. Hold On to Your Love
4. The Deal
5. Heart and Soul
6. In Your Time
7. West Texas Sky
8. Somehow
9. Tighten Up
10. Son of a Carpenter
11. My Friend
12. Georgia (with Billy Earl McClelland)

While these are well known to many who have followed Taylor for a while, there are many who have never heard the early stuff, i.e., the good stuff.  Hopefully, this CD will show those who are unfamiliar, Taylor’s grittiness, talent and range.

It appears that some fan groups are doing a bit of guerilla marketing, as well…

  by PayTheDevil661

I’ll be glad when the Grease thing is done and a new CD with new tracks hits the street.  Will we finally see that collaboration with John Mayer?  How about Robert Randolph?  Norah Jones?


Posted by on August 12, 2008 in american idol, new releases, taylor hicks


Tags: , ,

24 responses to “Mea Culpa (of sorts)

  1. brc

    August 12, 2008 at 7:06 am

    Whodathunkit? I didn’t realize he was getting such good press. Is the Broadway press different than the music industry press? Otherwise there’s no explaining it. That said, I’m glad for any good press he gets. It would be nice if this Early Works album changes some minds.

  2. music maven

    August 12, 2008 at 7:11 am

    He’s gotten glowing Broadway press and really positive press from the mainstream press. The MUSIC industry press hasn’t really commented, which is a positive statement in itself. However, nobody’s really commenting on the creepiness of Clay Aiken fathering a child (artificially, no less), nor has a big deal big made by the fact that Simon Lythgoe has departed as a producer from AI. Could be that the jumping shark just doesn’t hold the interest of what’s left of the music industry press. I mean, who’s left? Rolling Stone and Bob Lefsetz?

  3. cadreamin'

    August 12, 2008 at 7:39 am

    MM you express my thoughts so well. I too was blown away surprised at the positive press even before Taylor’s opening night. It seemed that Broadway knew in advance what Taylor could bring to the Grease stage.
    The positive press has to fuel Taylor to do more with the role. Taylor seems so receptive to the love given to him from the audience that he wants to give them more and more – just as he does live in concert.

  4. music maven

    August 12, 2008 at 7:52 am

    I think he’s done all he can really do with the role. He’s taken a 10 minute “cameo” and basically stole the show. That said, I’ll just be glad when he’s officially done with the show and on to making music and touring. I put up with Grease and admitted that regardless of the motivation or my displeasure in the decision, it has been a definite positive for him. Now, I expect to be rewarded with some serious time and work on a new CD with new songs that are gritty and show some soul.

    ‘Cuz, after all, it’s all about me…

    **takes tongue out of cheek**

  5. azure

    August 12, 2008 at 9:06 am

    Yes, there’s no doubt that many of us are eating crow (or something distasteful) because of our initial reactions to Taylor taking the role in “Grease.” I was literally sick when I heard about him taking the role. Then he went on the Today Show, with his confident demeanor and upbeat attitude, and lo and behold, it didn’t seem quite so bad! That was around May 17th, and by the time he debuted on June 6th, the press surrounding him was so overwhelmingly positive, it was almost impossible not to jump on the Broadway bandwagon! So jump I did – savoring the sweet media – and relishing the video clips of both his performances and the Stage Door frenzy he was causing. It was, and indeed continues to be, heady stuff for fans who were so used to the negativity surrounding him!

    I think it was after his first performance, when he was casting his hand and harp prints at Planet Hollywood, and the video captured the cameras flashing in his face, while photographers called out, “Taylor, over here please” – “Taylor, Taylor, look this way” – that I gave in completely and planned a weekend in NY to see the show.

    His voice sounded glorious. He’s taken the cheesiest role ever and turned it into the highlight of the show. The energy level in the theater noticeably rises when that cone appears in the second act. And did I mention that falsetto? It’s a WoW moment! The harp gives the entire cast a new vibe at the finale, and it works beautifully. It’s a hoot!

    But for me, the absolute best part of the night was watching him after the show – sitting cross-legged on the stage with some of the cast members – chatting and answering questions. He was so natural and relaxed – just one of the guys! And then, when he walked out that stage door to sign autographs, the roar was unbelievable. Ever humble, he took his time signing, chatting and posing for pictures (which of course, he wasn’t supposed to do) until every person there was satisfied. He’s so sweet with little kids, it’s charming to watch. And just as he did on Idol, he left everyone smiling!

    So, yes, I ate crow and then some! The positive press shows no signs of stopping, and we have a few more weeks to revel in that. Then he’ll be back to the real world and the real media, and I’m assuming the accolades will diminish, and maybe even disappear. But I’ll always have that autographed Playbill and a couple of wonderful stage door pics, and the memory of New York as a whole, screaming “Taylor, Taylor, over here please!”

  6. shrewspeaks

    August 12, 2008 at 9:15 am

    Okay voice of dissent here-
    Maybe because of my Theater background or because I like the accoustic soul version better…I just see a man who dabbling in theater and music for… for what I don’t know; fame, a paycheck, cetainly not for the credibility of a serious musician.

    I am glad he has rave reviews if that is what is the desire. However, I personally struggle with all the congratulations for exceeding low expectations and what to me seems a clear departure of “all about the music” and “getting his voice heard”.

    I know, I know…I will be quiet now.

  7. willpen

    August 12, 2008 at 10:24 am

    I was also one of the naysayers in regard to Taylor being on Broadway. However, even though I cringed at the thought of him standing on a Broadway stage I always felt that this was a smart business move on his part.

    Taylor has two parts to his persona. There is music Taylor and Scary Smart Business Taylor. I will always respect the business side of anyone if done well, which Taylor usually does do.

    My hope is that now he will get serious and do some real music. All the great and positive stuff from the NY Press is good for now, but the boy needs to get is butt back in the saddle to make some great music. I am waiting patiently to weigh in on that.

  8. music maven

    August 12, 2008 at 10:25 am

    I hear you, Shrew. It does appear that this was a departure from “the mission”…at least the one I envisioned he was on. 😉

    However, I can’t deny that it actually helped him vs. hurt him, as I thought it would. Perhaps all is just “a means to an end”? The “fame” and celebrity help gain attention so it can be “all about the music”?

    Not the way I would have gone about it, but hey, I’m stubborn like that. I’m also living in obscurity in Alabama….jus’ sayin’.

  9. shrewspeaks

    August 12, 2008 at 10:39 am

    Okay I hear ya, but helped Taylor with who? Sure it generated great press, but the press was about him a broadway show.
    This serves to do what? Increase fans amoung the broadway set? Pull back in old fans that were lost?

    Perhaps, this is all that is meant for Mr. Hicks, which is fine…actually, a TH Variety Hour on the CW could be fun, complete with embarresing skits and crushed velvet suits singing duets with other cast away idols.

    But I keep asking how does this all jive with the guy who was interviewed by Rolling Stone…or heck by the Guy who visited the all and Might Wizard?

    I want to believe, really I do. But the insincerity of it all has just irked me to no end.

  10. brc

    August 12, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    A TH Variety Hour on the CW… tee hee. Shrew is funny 🙂

  11. shrewspeaks

    August 12, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    I am serious…how great would THAT be? This weeks special guest Elliott…next week join me for for more wacky reports from Pickler’s People.

    It could be as good as the Smothers Brothers

    but would most likely be on par with The Hudson Brothers which ain’t bad. I would watch The Boogie Hour!

  12. willpen

    August 12, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    If Taylor is going to do a Variety Show then he will need a female sidekick. I wonder if Kat is available?

    I just laughed so hard at myself that I fell off my chair. The best way to deal with all this insanity is to just laugh at it. 🙂

  13. Dee

    August 12, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    I fail to understand how Taylor has departed from his musical path. That’s probably the same thing some of his musician friends told him when he tried out for AI. AND THAT’S where we ALL fell in LOVE with him. Now theater goers are falling in love with him in Grease. I view this as a good thing. Taylorizing more fans to buy future CD’s and go to future concerts. I don’t think we can pigeon hole Taylor into one type of music. He has proven over and over that he loves all types of music. He can sing some of the old pop tunes from AI, the light pop tunes of Grease, the nitty gritty jazzy tunes he loves has well have his own originals. I just love to hear his voice no matter what he sings. He is such an all around performer it would be a shame to put any limits on him.

  14. spinshack

    August 12, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    I was all for his taking the “Grease” role from the get-go, but what he needs beware – and I’ve seen him in those photo ops – becoming just a caricature of the ‘character’ he worked on Idol. One thing the press has been very good to him on Broadway, and that’s been a needed positive for Mr. Hicks.

    Regarding “Early Works”, guess it’s a little early to be buying it, most locations around my neck of Texas don’t have any in stock. Most I have found, two at a Super Target in central Dallas. Now mind you there wasn’t two left, they only received two. Like I said, it’s likely just a little early…

  15. colette

    August 12, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Shrew,as a fellow (sistah?) theater person, I think what I’ve learned about Mr. Hicks is that there is a wide streak of the carny in him.

    He isn’t a conventional (to this era anyway) entertainer. For me, the jury is still really out on whether he can make a great post-Idol album. I think he has better chance now that he’s out of the machine’s clutches. But what I loved so much on TV, his ebullient dancing and the infectious fun he brought to the venture (more than anyone else I’ve seen on that show), may not translate into great musical virtuosity. If TV variety hours were still alive, yeah the boy could that!

    I know he takes music seriously and passionately, from all the press he did after winning Idol. But I can actually at this point see Taylor on Dancing with the Stars, or filling in for Regis, or something, rather than getting serious attention as a musical artist. (Just no “reality shows,” please!) He’s an odd duck, and Broadway will embrace that — actually, it will embrace anyone famous enough to put butts in the seats, and the list is loooooooooonnnnnnng and weeeeeeirrrrrd.

    Anyway, I have to say I just don’t have the same level of interest in him anymore, but I wish him well. And one thing we do know about the guy: he’s a bundle of surprises!

  16. shrewspeaks

    August 12, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    Colette…to paraphrase Meatloaf “you took the words right out of my mouth!”

  17. music maven

    August 12, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    I think I kind of like the Variety Show idea, if done right.

    However, I can’t help it. I like my Taylor Southern Fried. Things like Broadway shows and such just make me cringe. Not to sell CDs or become the next Elvis, just to live up to being “all about the music”.

  18. Colette

    August 12, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    Maybe, if (who knows?) David Cook lives up to that phrase, you’ll have barbeque a little crow for him, MM! I’m just sayin’……..

  19. hickifino

    August 13, 2008 at 10:50 am

    Music Maven, I love how you word things. I come here often to see what you’ve got to say and to hear/see your music. AND I’m an LSU fan!

    Appearing on Broadway and making/releasing an album are not mutually exclusive activities. If he renews with Grease, he can still complete recording in time for Christmas sales. Others have done it; he can too, especially if he’s really a hyperactive workaholic as we’ve been led to believe.

    For example, he could have every Tuesday- Thursday off, and perform in the Friday – Sunday shows, that’s 5 times a week instead of 8. That gives him Monday – Thursday, four days of uninterrupted studio time. Can that be done in a theater contract?

    Either choice he makes, I’m behind him all the way!

  20. marymagdalene

    August 13, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    That sort of schedule could work, and has been done before…

    The last time I saw “Beauty and the Beast” on Broadway, the guy who was portraying Lumiere (the candlestick immortalised by Jerry Orbach in the Animated Movie) was Jacob Young, a Soap Star on “All My Children”…

    I saw the Wednesday matinee, and his understudy did the Wednesday matinees due to Jacob’s schedule with the Soap…

    Anyway, should Taylor decide to extend his contract, “Grease” does not perform on Mondays, which is the traditional day-off for Broadway…
    So, Taylor could have Monday through Thursday off, and perform Friday night, and both performances on Saturday, and on Sunday…

  21. hickifino

    August 14, 2008 at 12:34 am

    marymagdelene, I think we’ve come up with a great plan! Now if someone would tell Taylor……….!

  22. kanniduba

    August 19, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    Sorry I’m coming so late to the party!
    So there’s been great press? Where? I know I haven’t been looking for it, so maybe that’s why I haven’t seen it. Is it really so out there in the mainstream that it will be heard by the masses, or is it only findable (is that a real word?) by those who are looking? And let’s face it, the only ones who may be looking are his fans.
    I’ve heard of the early works release, but nothing of the Broadway stint since I switched the channel on the performance on one of the TV appearances. Please point me in the direction of great press, cause I’d love to read it.

  23. azure

    August 20, 2008 at 11:43 am

    kanniduba –

    There has been more than an abundance of great NY press. You can go to the Boogie Board “Grease” section, and there are pages of reviews – from both fans and Broadway media. One of the first (and most read) pieces was on the front page of the NY Post – an article by Michael Riedel. I think that was back in late June, early July. He has since done a video interview with Taylor that can be seen on either the Broadway World site or Broadway TV. But if you care enough to spend some time on the Boogie Board Grease Forum, you should find plenty of reviews, recaps, pictures, video and all things Broadway related.

    I’m sure you’ve seen the picture of the 80′ Billboard in Times Square. If not, there’s a thread and plenty of pictures for that as well. Actually, this past Friday, a new billboard, right next to that first one, was discovered by a fan. The “Wicked” billboard that had been so prominent in all of the SP pictures (because it was next to Taylor’s and was front and center from Broadway) was removed and Taylor’s picture put up. It’s about half the size in height of the original, but it wraps around the center of the structure, in a much more visible space from the main street and is completely framed in lights. No doubt the bigger one is coming down, but for the weekend at least, there were two giant billboards featuring Taylor Hicks hanging in Times Square! I’d say that’s good publicity. The new billboard is definitely a much more prime piece of real estate. If Taylor is leaving Grease on Sept. 7th as planned, they’ll still have three weeks to use his face to sell tickets before they have to put up another poster. (It really is quite something to see the two huge images of him side by side.)

  24. kanniduba

    August 21, 2008 at 10:38 am

    Azure, thank you! I will spend some time later browsing the Boogie Board…Glad to hear there’s so much positive press out there…really out there. 🙂


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