Category Archives: Taylor

Get your mojo on


I was reminiscing and perusing the archives over at Gray Charles and began re-reading the wonderful multi-part interview with Taylor Hicks in the Summer of ’06, shortly after he won American Idol. In Part 2 of the interview, Taylor says:

I’ve been doing this all my life. People have been wondering about me for a long time. Hell man, people have been watching me for a long time, studying me and observing me, even when I was 15 or 16 years old. You get good at being observed. I hired a sideman when I was 17 years old. A guitar player named Billy Earl McClelland who was Delbert Clinton’s odl guitar player. We worked together when I was at Auburn, he told him that I was a natural entertainer and I shouldn’t worry about putting on a show. I should just be the person I was and that was entertainment enough. I had never thought about it that way until he told me that. I was able to loosen up and just by me.

After I got over Gray’s atrocious very few and intellectually insignificant spelling errors and word-o’s (due to rushing to get all the scoop to everyone), not to mention the fact that it’s Delbert MCClinton, this made me ponder. On one hand, there’s this image of Taylor Hicks that’s the guy who hit the lottery and is a greenhorn at all of this. However, when you go back to this interview, you’ll find that there’s a definite “experience” to the young man. Over the past six months or so, I began to think that maybe Taylor was a novice, in over his head, not ready for prime time. I then decided to delve into this side man, Billy Earl McClelland a little further.


Billy Earl McClelland is not a young man. Hell, he was in his mid-40’s when he worked with Taylor way back in those early Auburn days. He’s now 57 and extremely proud of his protege’. Perhaps Taylor’s new found success motivated Billy Earl to give music one more shot.

Now, Billy Earl McClelland is not light weight. He’s enjoyed a very impressive career as a songwriter and session musician in Nashville for greats like Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, Hank Williams, Jr., Sawyer Brown and of course, Delbert McClinton. He was also a member of the staff band at The Sound Pit in Atlanta where they provided back-up for Olivia Newton-John, Paul McCartney & Wings, and the Divine Ms. M, Bette Midler.

He ended up in Delbert’s band and for a while was Tanya Tucker’s bandleader and lead guitarist. He toured with Bo Diddley, Albert Collins, the Atlanta Rhythm Section and The Allman Brothers. He even did some time as a regular in The Dixie Flyers who were mainstays at the FloraBama for years.

From the mojo:saint website:

McClelland has stayed involved writing songs and recording in his personal studio. He has been jamming with his friend Steven Seagal in Memphis and acting like a proud papa for his close friend Taylor Hicks’ American Idol success.

Point is, this guy has been a major player in Country and Blues for a very long time. So, what possessed him in 1993 to become the side man for a young punk not even of legal age. There must have been something that he saw that was “special” in the young man. While he didn’t stay with Taylor for the entire 10-year journey, it’s evident that he did teach and advise Taylor and I’m sure that he shared his music business experiences. All of this said, my brief research into Billy Earl McClelland affirms to me that Taylor isn’t just off the turnip truck and likely does have a method to his madness. As I first suspected, if left to his own devices, he’ll be just fine.

And, as for Billy Earl — just where did he go after that time spent with young Taylor Hicks?

Well, McClelland does seem to relish in the mentor role as he ended up producing the first two CDs for Big Bill Morganfield, the son of Muddy Waters. He has also produced a couple of CD compilations of Alabama Blues Artists.

However, recently, Billy Earl is back performing and you’ll never guess with who. Try Jack Hall. Yes, that Jack Hall….the bass player from Wet Willie. When I found this I about flipped. Jack Hall is a superb musician and it’s so great to see him back playing music again. These two have teamed up with drummer, David Brazeal, to form Mojo:Saint, a down and dirty blues/rock band.


Jack Hall, David Brazeal, Billy Earl McClelland

Here are some live performances from YouTube:


They Don’t Make the Blues Like They Used To

Hot Guitar Licks

Just to tie it all in, here’s Jack Hall and his brother, Jimmy, at a Wet Willie get together:


It’s such a treat to see these guys together, playing music. From the calendar on their website, it looks like they’re touring the tri-state area of Georgia, Alabama and Florida and they are scheduled for a Mobile show at The Blues Tavern in mid-December. While I may not be able to dance yet, I can certainly show up and enjoy this delightful treat.

As for the Taylor kun-NECK-shuns, I can’t help but think that there are some deep, deep roots in blues and southern rock that will begin to manifest in Taylor’s music. I’d love to see him hook up with the old schoolers like Billy Earl and Jack Hall and get back to basics. I’d love to see him recording at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals. How about a live cut from the FloraBama? However, the lights of fame in L.A. and New York burn brighter than the candles of the turf he knows like the back of his hand, me thinks. Yet, this weekend, he’s back in Alabama to perform with the Auburn Marching Band at the half-time of the Auburn/Mississippi St. game (11:30am, CDT). So, who knows? Maybe the Yabba Dabba Soul Patrol Mojo Carpet Bomb Coast-to-Coast Dive Tour has a shot, albeit a very slim one.

If you’re out and about Phenix City this Saturday Night, you might want to drop in at The Broad St. Blues Club and catch mojo:saint. Billy Earl and Jack will, no doubt, be burning it up. For the record, the club is 34 miles from Auburn….you just never know who might be looking for an old friend.

By the way, I have it on good authority that Taylor’s been listening to bagpipes this week.


Posted by on September 13, 2007 in blues, gray charles, Taylor, taylor hicks


The Right Place, The Right Time…

Welcome Back to Alabama, Taylor! Hope Dothan was good to ya!

I just don’t get tired of this song. Here’s to finding the “right” place….


Posted by on August 23, 2007 in Soul, Taylor, taylor hicks


It’s Rainin’ Men….

Ok, enough of all of the wimmin singers. My tastes in music really run to the masculine side anyway. And, there happens to be some really great male singers out there. I’ve noticed a definite “back to the basics” style of most of the boys out there now, which I thoroughly enjoy. There is real music by real musicians out there who are giving us some really great, memorable music and performances.

It seems to me that music by men is not a typical “macho” characteristic, yet most male performers are so honed in and down right good that they take music to a different level. I think that men in music make a stronger kun-NECK-shun in delivering the message of the music between melody and lyric, but maybe that’s because I am truly touched by sensitive and artistic men.

So I figured that I’d throw a few out there. Such a plethora of testosterone that is simply spectacular, and all are strikingly different.

Of course, there is the Silver Fox — the epitome of passion in music….


A nice, new nugget of an old, familiar favorite:

Use Me, Taylor Hicks

Taylor is definitely “all about the music” and his love of music is readily evident and palpable.

Now, onto a few others that might not be as well known to you but are still hawt, in the musical sense, of course…


It Don’t Matter, Donovan Frankenreiter

Donovan is “ungh”. He is a bit of a hippie and not you’re typical media star, but his bluesy-ness is superb. Here’s a bonus of Donovan with JACK JOHNSON.

Heading Home, Donovan Frankenreiter and Jack Johnson




One of my music geek friends, turned me on to a relatively new artist named Matt Wertz. More to come on Matt, later…

5:19, Matt Wertz





Cas is a breath of fresh air from the cheesefest that is America’s Got Talent. From Dallas, TX, Cas is a dedicated husband and father and a rather unique talent. His performances on AGT remind me alot of Taylor on AI….not the “cookie cutter” pop star, he really brings some originality and huge talent. As with Taylor, however, I wonder if Cas can transcend the stigma of reality TV.

Easy, Cas Haley

Oh, if only Taylor had delivered this Lionel Ritchie classic as boldly.





Then, there’s Ben Harper. Flying under the radar for a few years, Ben is quite an eclectic talent. Here he is at Bonnaroo:

Burn One Down, Ben Harper

As as added bonus, here is Ben Harper with the Blind Boys of Alabama doing I Shall Not Walk Alone. I was gobsmacked when I first heard this version. Such honesty and sincerity where all of these gentlemen are obviously moved by the music.

I Shall Not Walk Alone, Ben Harper & The Blind Boys of Alabama



Likely one of the most passionate pairings on a song that I’ve seen in a while, this duo brings this classic to a new level:


To Love Somebody, Ray LaMontagne & Damien Rice

Perhaps I like the acoustical nature, ala James Taylor, of these newer artists, but I also love that all of these dudes are incorporating all kinds of instruments including harmonica, slide guitars, stand up bass, etc. Here’s a funky turn from Damien Rice at Abbey Road Studios:

Volcano, Damien Rice

I have a love/hate relationship with Ray LaMontagne. While I find him eerily freakish in stature and demeanor, the man has serious chops and talent.


This young artist, moreso of all the others, beckons memories of Stevie Wonder to me. He also uses rich instruments…

You Give Me Something, James Morrison




While many perceive of Gavin Degraw as “commercial” but I happen to think he’s got alot of “soul”…here is Gavin pulling off a classic:

Tracks of My Tears, Gavin Degraw

and I just love this stripped piano, solo version of Chariot:

Chariot, Gavin Degraw




Of course, I love me some Amos. Here’s a recent performance of one of my favorite Amos tunes (for obvious reasons):

Southern Girl, Amos Lee

Why are we not seeing more of Amos?


I can’t pass up an opportunity to talk about my “home boy”, Marc. Here’s some relatively new Marc vids:

I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know
, Marc Broussard

Donny Hathaway would be proud.

Love & Happiness
, Marc Broussard (For those of you who never could connect to the Yahoo! link.

Lastly, here’s a tasty little bootleg:

Pappa Was a Rollin’ Stone
, Marc Broussard




And lastly, there’s Johnny Boy. New Yorker, stoner, environmentalist, comedian….and damn-good musician. I have it on good authority that Mayer may actually be a stalker. (BTW, I’ve forgiven him the Jessica indiscretion.)

Talk about an artist that beckons the past….he brings it to life.

Come Back to Bed,
John Mayer with Buddy Guy & Double Trouble

While I highlighted John’s GMA performance with Eric Clapton a few weeks ago, this is a particularly lovely performance of the two guitar impresarios.

John Mayer & Eric Clapton

Clapton ain’t so bad, himself.

I’ve gone through many Mayer favorites, but right now it’s this one:

In Repair,
John Mayer

In more ways than one, Johnny Boy, in more ways than one.

So, what musical dudes in today’s music have I failed to mention?


Posted by on August 10, 2007 in dudes, Taylor


Taylor does Marksville…


Taylor Hicks – “Heart & Soul”

Well, I am back from my handicapped trek to Louisiana for our “Girls’ Weekend”. While it wasn’t easy, it sure was fun. We thoroughly enjoyed the getaway including: food, a little gambling, great company, some bodacious and very affordable pina coladas, and of course, the Taylor Hicks concert Saturday night.

First, let me say that the Paragon Casino in Marksville, LA is certainly “off the beaten path”. Fortunately, one of my D-i-Ls is from around those parts and got us there promptly and safely, mid-day on Saturday. We lounged around the pool and spent about an hour pouring money down a rat hole….uh, I mean gambling. After a very nice dinner where we saw Loren Gold and Brian Gallagher having their supper, my party wheeled me through the crowded casino and to the Mari Showroom, where the concert was being held.

Our seats were very good. We were about 15 rows back on the left of the stage with a big aisle in front. As it happens, even though the tickets were purchased way before my accident, we happened to be sitting on the handicapped aisle….fate, no? They were a little late getting started, but at about 9:10 p.m., Soul Finger, started and the band (all dressed in black shirts) took the stage. The stage was completed with “Little Ray” at the bottom of the drum platform, right next to the harp case and mic.

lil-ray.jpg felix.jpg

Then, Loren Gold announces….Ladies and Gentlemen, Taaaayyyyyllllorrrr Hhhhhiiiiiccckkks.


Taylor came out in a black button down, jeans and tennis shoes. He looked great and seemed very relaxed. He talked quite a bit to the crowd and was happy about being back in the South, even though it was hot. He talked about loving Louisiana, which immediately endeared him to the crowd.

I was very pleased to see that Taylor played quite a few songs from my suggested Set List. He started out with Soul Thing, followed by Heart and Soul. I captured some pretty good pictures with my zoom lens but the back lighting wasn’t as good as the House of Blues, so I did a little editing. Here’s one I captured during Heart and Soul.


He followed up with Just to Feel That Way and then pleased me greatly by introducing My Friend, with a sweet little soprano sax solo by Mr. Brian Gallagher. Awesome.


It was great. I hadn’t heard that one live yet, so I was thrilled. He was definitely having fun and looked very fit and comfortable. While he was really good at the Mobile and New Orleans concerts I attended this Spring, this was strikingly different. There was a certain air about the performance. Like a cloud was lifted and his spirit was a bit “free”-er. Whether it’s because of his AI “reign” being officially over; increased confidence from playing a successful, full tour in the Spring; his new girlfriend; or the fact that he had a week off from performing and was back in the South from a prolonged stretch up North; he looked like he was really happy to be there and was having a great time. His vocals were spot on and his trademark “passion” in the performance was certainly there, with a vengeance.


The set list included the following, with many “tags” embedded:

Wherever I Lay My Hat
Don’t Let Me Down
The Deal
Hold On To Your Love
Heaven Knows
The Maze (with a long tag of Do You Believe in Magic?)
Gonna Move (with a special nod to Louisiana of Gov. JimmieDavis’ You Are My Sunshine as well as Smoke of a Distant Fire)
The Right Place
The Runaround

The harp was ultra-hot on the last number and the crowd LOVED it. Me too, as I love me some harp.


Then…..the Encore. The stool came out, then Taylor. Then a guitar was brought out to him and then his harp brace and finally, the harp. What followed was simply remarkable. Taylor, by himself, playing guitar, playing harp AND singing Randy Newman’s Louisiana 1927. If you’ve never experienced this gem, here is Taylor’s version from the Open Door Sessions back in 2004.

For expediency’s sake, here is a YouTube of Taylor’s Louisiana 1927 as the backdrop to a Hurricane Katrina video.

Here are a few pictures I took during that performance, as well.


Someone captured video that can be viewed at the TMO Server – Taylor Hicks Marksville LA1927

He ended with one of my favorites, Take Me to the Pilot. A really great performance. My girls all agreed that the stage is where Taylor shines. To really appreciate Taylor, his talent and energy, you have to see him “live”.

I was very glad that I went, even though the going wasn’t the easiest. For those of you who have asked about my recovery….it’s going ok. I still have pain in the leg that I’m hoping starts to subside. Two or so more weeks on crutches and then a walking boot for a few weeks. This was certainly a great “pick me up”.

To conclude, I leave you with a couple of favorite pictures that I captured of, as one of my girls says, “The Silver Fox”.





Share that smile….



Posted by on July 24, 2007 in Concerts, Reviews, Taylor


Return of Taylor Time…


Taylor “Black, White & Gray all over” Hicks

Well, this is the weekend. I’m actually going to make the trek to Louisiana to see Taylor Hicks, once again, at The Paragon Casino in Marksville, LA. I’m a little apprehensive to go as I’m still on crutches and in this boot. But, my daughters-in-law assure me that they will haul me around and basically “make it happen”. One is driving four hours here to pick me up (‘cuz I still can’t drive).

So, I thought that I’d put together my suggested Set List. Thankfully, the Soul Patrol has provided ample videos of virtually every song Taylor has sung or “tagged”. The only one that I didn’t find that I would consider giving my eye teeth to hear live is Grandma’s Hands.

I’m sure we’re in store for a great show, but if he really wants to knock ’em dead I think he should perform MY setlist…I’ll have a full report upon my return.

Call Me The Breeze

Rockin’ Pneumonia/Hey Pocky Way/Big Chief

Run Baby Run

Wherever I Lay My Hat

My Friend

The Fall and Take Me to the Pilot

Heart and Soul


In Your Time

Grits Ain’t Groceries/Can’t Trust Your Neighbor

Hold Onto Your Love

The Right Place (after a short interview)

Here is a LINK to a very nice High Def. version of this performance.  I do so love the harp in this version of The Right Place.

Don’t Let Me Down

A Day in the Life

Feelin’ Alright

Happier with Him


Posted by on July 19, 2007 in Taylor


YouTube-Fu Smorgashbord

Some favorites I’ve found recently while “diving”. Yes, I’ve become bored with the hinter lands of cable TV….on to the Internets.

Otis Redding, I’ve Been Loving You
From the Monterrey Blues Festival. One of my Top 10 Favorite songs.

Marc Broussard, jammin’ on the tour bus.

Ray LaMontagne, Your the Best Thing
At The Beacon in NYC.

Sam Cooke, Bring it on Home to Me
Another all-time favorite of mine….there’s just something about this music…

Joss Stone & Rod Stewart, Hot Legs

Amos Lee, Soul Suckers

Taylor Hicks, Long Train Running
A dedication to Corn Hole in Kentucky?

Stevie Wonder, Yester Me, Yester You
Yet another all-time favorite.

Barbra Streisand & Judy Garland, Happy Days/Get Happy
Two of the BEST voices of the 20th century.

Patsy Cline, Crazy
No matter how many times I hear this song, I never tire of it.

The Yardbirds, Louise
A young Eric Clapton on lead guitar.

Here’s the last one…ok, this is not music, but it is HILARIOUS….Ladies & Gentlemen, I give you PooPoo Broussard.


Big Teeth


Posted by on July 15, 2007 in Amos Lee, Artists, Taylor, YouTube


Dancing Queen….Bjorn Again

ETA2: Huck is right….THIS is what needs to be done on AI next week. Taylor, bring ’em to their knees.

Sorry, that line was too good not to use.

The Abba Tribute Band

captured by Wildrosegirl76 in Seattle — last stop on the tour.

Yes, you certainly make us proud……BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

Taylor receives 50 MERITS for this.

To quote a wise gentleman, “If I have to explain it, it just ain’t as funny.” But for those of you who don’t “get it”….context.

Don’t forget to watch Leno tonight….

Maybe you’ll catch something like this…..

Thanks for sharing, Gray.

ETA: Nice footage of Hold Onto Your Love in Seattle, attributable to Catchthatgroove.


Posted by on May 14, 2007 in gray charles, Taylor, Uncategorized