BBQ, Blues and Brand New Music
Catching up with Taylor Hicks
Words by Mary Alayne B. Long
No matter where you call home, you no doubt know the sounds of Taylor Hick’s recognizable voice. His soulful musical stylings have become a staple of the music scene since he first graced our screens on the fifth season of American Idol. Not long ago I caught up with Taylor as he made his way to the Summer Haze Winter Fest down in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida and he’s been busy—let me tell you.
It’s been about ten years since Taylor’s last album, and I’m happy to report the wait for more is almost over. His new as yet untitled record is coming out early next year, and his fans will be delighted to hear he’s bringing along some friends. He’s been putting in long hours up in Nashville at Zach Brown’s Southern Ground Studios, and he’s got lots of other guests joining him on many of these new songs. He described it to me by saying “It’s like Chris Stapleton, Zach Brown, and Jackson Browne had a baby. It’s a Southern soul record. It’s really not a departure from who I am as an artist and who I’ve been growing up as an artist.” That first cut, Six Strings and Diamond Rings, just dropped on iTunes and you can watch for the full collection to be out by summer.
Many of you may know that Taylor is part owner of SAW’s Juke Joint, which has multiple locations in and around Birmingham, Alabama. This self proclaimed “upscale dive” is the perfect spot for everything from chicken and waffles to greens, deviled eggs and the regular Southern BBQ fare such as pulled pork, ribs, chicken and more.
“I had previously co-owned another restaurant called ORE and had been in the world of drink and dine for about twenty years. It’s just kind a graduation of who I am as a touring artist. I’ve been a touring musician since I was eighteen, and fortunately as an artist growing up in the South I’ve not only toured music—I’ve toured food,” he said.
Taylor also spent time working on the award winning television program State Plate where he traveled across the USA tasting and highlighting foods along the way. The show, which is available on The Inspiration Network and Amazon Prime, showcased folklore and flavor while giving viewers a taste of some of America’s most beloved cuisine from coast to coast. In each episode they put together a plate of food that’s iconic to just that state. He said “It’s sort of a Dirty Jobs meets Diners, Drive Ins and Dives kind of show. We had a lot of fun putting it together.” You can watch Taylor as he visits markets, festivals and farms all while he shares the legends and history behind some delightful and unique food traditions in all fifty states.
When I also asked him to share his most favorite place to perform, he didn’t skip a beat. “The Crystal Ballroom in Portland, Oregon because it is one of the last spring boarded dance halls in America. When you’re in the audience dancing you’re bouncing because there are spring boards underneath the floor. It’s a neat place to see music and it’s old, old, old.” He loves the character and history of the old theaters around the country, and I echo that sentiment.
He has a great collection of holiday shows in classic theaters all across the South this December. You can see and hear him perform everywhere from Laurel, Mississippi to Mobile, Alabama to Nashville, Tennessee. Coming up this weekend, you can catch Taylor at the historic Lyric Theatre in downtown Birmingham as he performs some of Van Morrison’s greatest hits and hopefully some of his own.
For more about Taylor and his upcoming plans, including links for his tour and even a sneak peek at that new album visit www.taylorhicks.com. You can also find Taylor on Instagram @taylorhicksofficial.