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The Long Way Home; Connections
Topic Started: Feb 2 2008, 06:06 PM (591 Views)
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This is a post AmyH thankfully saved from the Gray Charles blog...she does not know who Lauren is, nor do I (Lauren, if you see this, please claim it....we love you).... but I loved it when I read it at Crafty Peaches, and I'm sharing it here with Amy's permission.... evancol

Lauren # 377 Mar 19th, 2007 at 6:43 pm

"For some reason this reminds me of the experience I had walking down the street in a quiet neighborhood in Birmingham one night about 2 years ago and hearing someone playing a harmonica somewhere…and how it made me stop in the middle of the sidewalk to listen better. It was just a really cool thing to get to do and I guess it was a once in a life-time thing. I had not even heard of Taylor Hicks at that point…but in retrospect I have to wonder if it might not have been him…I know that I did see him with his band in a little bar somewhere at some point about that time…and that I didn’t realize that was the same guy on AI until I saw the guys in the band on TV at the finale. So…it is a very unusual experience to see all of this unfold…almost surreal…all I know about it is this…music has always been something that I very much enjoyed…something that in my own way I used as an escape almost even though I am not a musician. I just used to spend time singing to my parents’ old records for hours downstairs as a kid…it was just something I needed to do…could be somewhat like Taylor…hard to say…where am I going with all of this? Back to where I came from I hope…back to a quiet evening when someone played music that stopped me in my tracks and made me listen with more than just my ears…something I had just about forgotten how to do…just to be in the moment for what it was…and since that time I have been able to do that a lot more…seeing his band again…seeing him again…sharing all this with my son who sure does know how to bust a GROOVE with everything he’s got…guess I took the long way home too and it was a trip I very much needed to take…I sure don’t know everything and don’t always find the right words but to me that is what music is all about."

AmyH - It was like a break in the storm, a sunbeam shining through the mist. This is, quite simply, one of the most beautiful things I have read in a very long time (and I told her so on the Blog).

I have no way of contacting Lauren other than using GC’s as a chat room (and I won’t do that), so I have no way of asking permission to repost this. I hope it’s okay, though, because I think everyone could benefit from these words.

You don’t have to be a Taylor Hicks fan to learn something here about slowing down and taking in life. Turn off your cellphone. Pull out the earbuds. Listen to the world around you - reconnect to the people in your field of vision. Say hello to a complete stranger. Take the long way home.

Just reach out and connect.
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Hicks concert proves why his Soul Patrol can't stay idle
American Idol provided the launching pad. It's now up to Taylor Hicks to become a star.
By Dan MacDonald


Fueled by his Soul Patrol, the season five American Idol winner's solo career blasted off before a packed Florida Theatre crowd. Hicks' fans, many of them with hair just as gray as his but about 15 to 20 years older, stood and cheered throughout the 75-minute show Wednesday night.

Hicks is known as a blue-eye soul singer. He's unashamed of his love for the music. It is this genuine quality that makes his performance endearing and entertaining. Without a major hit to speak of, Hicks enthralled the crowd as if this was his 1,000th major solo performance, not his first.

Dressed in blue jeans, a black sport coat and an untucked, collared shirt, Hicks was totally at ease. He was a performer, not some contest winner. On this night these people invested more than a couple phone calls to vote for Hicks. This time they spent real money to buy tickets. He answered the call.

On stage, Hicks is in constant motion. At times he dances like the awkward guy at the party who doesn't know his moves are lame. Then he becomes overcome with the grinding and spastic gyrations of a young Joe Cocker only to become possessed like a tent preacher full of the holy spirit. Dancing like this could easily be mocked, but they work for Hicks because he is all about the music.

He rarely strayed from his R&B roots. He set the mood with Soul Thing from his self-titled album. Later, Hell of a Day, which he said was "an original from my second album" (as if casual fans knew there was such an album), had an uptempo Van Morrison feel. Hicks strapped on a guitar, but it served more as a prop rather than as a tool to help out his seven-member band.

The Soul Patrol stood until he sang the latest single, Just Feel That Way midway through the set. The song took Hicks and his fans out of the comfortable R&B pocket and pushed him into the vocal contortions that AI judges Randy, Paula and Simon drool over. It didn't play to this crowd and Hicks knew it. He quickly got back into his groove with a little help from Rod Stewart's Young Turks and The Doobie Brothers' Takin' It to the Street.

Knowing when he has good thing going, he relied on the Doobie Brothers again for a rousing version of Without Love for his encore.

Hicks will always carry that American Idol baggage -- for better or worse -- but of all the winners, he may be the performer who stays true to his own musical muse. Hicks sings from his soul.

Source: The Times-Union
Date Published: February 22, 2007
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