I was going to talk “The Distance” as a listening experience today but I’m waiting until I have the CD and all the data in front of me and the music – as is on the disc. Instead I’m hitting on some interview points that have surfaced in the Taylor Hicks google alerts.
Taylor Hicks is in the interview
circuit circus, out promoting “The Distance” coming out March 10th. Mary Colurso, a writer whom I enjoy with The Birmingham News, gets Hicks to sit a spell and talk about this CD. She stages a song by song discussion with Mr. Hicks providing his views on the songs on the CD. Gosh, I don’t think even U2 did an interview like this for their new album.
Kicking off this interview, Taylor Hicks, talking to Mary about “The Distance” calls it his version of ‘Born in the U.S.A.’ He said, “I think the message is clear; the distance between us and the world is closer than we think.”
I had to mull that over a moment. The world, us. Closer than we think. It appears to be a consciousness reaching statement talking about what, our country? We as humans running around on the Big Blue? I know when I walk outdoors my feet are hitting that pavement. What grabbed me was his comparison of himself in a round about way with an artist like Bruce Springsteen. That gave me pause.
In expressing his first single, “What’s Right Is Right”, Hicks likens it to a lesson. He’s here to provide a little education for we masses dubbing this song, “Soul Song 101”. I guess in all of us there’s a little bit of the teacher. Hicks carries on with adding, “the saxophone subtone in the solo is kind of like a little music lesson”.
I had been wondering why that sax was saved for the last on this track. So we could get edumacated about the sax. Light bulb on now.
Taylor tells Mary, “You can really hear the instrument breathe. In the video for the song, I wanted to get across my idea of what true love is, when you know it’s real. What happens to one person happens with another.”
Thing is I watched that video a dozen times and I still don’t see how he’s communicating the message of “this is true love”. Nope, not buying what you be selling Taylor Hicks in that statement.
Taylor calls “New Found Freedom” his gospel number. He stresses his gospel past; I was unaware that he was a strong church goer. Managed to squeeze that time in I guess between all those gin joints and such. What makes this a gospel song though, you might ask? It’s all in the choir. He and his cohorts on this album found a gospel choir and worked it out. Yes, it’s all about the choir. That makes it gospel.
Hicks says he likes “Nineteen” because “it’s American and honest”. I agree certainly nothing French in those lyrics. It’s a story of a war hero. Seems like so many artists are singing about the soldiers, hey Bruce Springsteen has and since this album is Hick’s “Born in the USA” it fits. He says this is a relevant issue and since it’s being sung about by many, I agree. Though, Obama promises us this War is gonna end. It’s a nice song, country flair to it and he may find it commercially appealing to the Country music crowd.
“Once Upon a Lover” features Father/Son combination Abe Laboriel Jr./Sr. Being legendary Latin musicians Hicks feels this gives the song authenticity. Certainly the music sounds very Latin but I’m not sure it is a great fit for Mr. Hicks and his gringo pronunciations.
One of the more bluesy tracks on this CD, “Seven Mile Breakdown”. Doyle Bramhall II plays slide in it; it is one of the best tracks on the CD. Hicks talks about thinking of the song along the lines of “Traveling to the west side of Mississippi in a conversion van with no air-conditioning in the middle of summer.” Been there, done that and no, it ain’t great.
I was tickled by Taylor’s comments on “Maybe You Should”. Certainly this guy has no lacking when it comes to confidence or self-esteem by the sound of this, “I wrote that with Mike Reid, who’s famous for ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’ with Bonnie Raitt. It’s one of those songs where we got chill bumps. It could end up being a career song for me.” Keeping it confident, Mr. Hicks
Which leads me to this next track, “Keepin’ it Real”. Taylor Hicks in keeping it really real says, “That’s my tongue-in-cheek reference to pop culture. I got my ideas for it when I went to a local magazine stand.” Magazine stands and Billy Ray Cyrus – it’s okay to throw rocks, folks. Sticks and stones.
Now this title is funny. Seriously, if anyone’s been in this fan world of Hicks for long you have to find humor in the title, “I Live on a Battlefield”. He thinks it necessary to explain this is a blues song. With a name like that, I guess so.
Again, demonstrating a complete overwhelming confidence in himself, Taylor Hicks tells Mary, “Wedding Day Blues” might make a movie someday. He may have the cast already picked out but he’s not sharing that right now.
Last track on the main CD is “Woman’s Gotta Have It”, features his buddy, Elliott Yamin. Hicks is quick to own the fact that he considers both Elliott and he have great natural, soulful sounds to their voices. He gives Yamin props, saying, “There’s no better pure vibrato sound than Elliott Yamin’s way.”
A fellow blogger and struggling writer, Cindy Wright, was able to interview Taylor Hicks again. She’s promised to have that up as soon as it goes ‘live’ – that’s website lingo for published on Associated Content. AC has scored Ms. Wright numerous interviews and even a first listen to the CD. For now on her blog, taylorspoeticheart, she gives a heads up on what’s to come. So far Mr. Hicks has provided her with a rather vague, ‘maybe’ interview moment, but perhaps this just the segue into the real deal.
One thing certain from what I’ve read so far, Taylor Hicks is very confident of this new CD and its potential as another vehicle to have his voice heard.