Taylor Hicks Back to Flora-Bama Bash June 21
By Fran Thompson
American Idol winner and former Pleasure Island resident Taylor Hicks returns to the Flora-Bama for what he is calling his second annual Back to the Bama Bash on June 21 at 9 p.m.
Hicks, who still has family living in South Baldwin County, said his goal is to come back to the beach every summer. The standard Flora-Bama cover charge will apply, but there will be no additional charge to see Hicks’ performance.
“The Flora-Bama is my old stomping grounds. It would be ideal if I could nail down something where I could come back down every year around this time,’’ he said. “This is where I’m from. I like talking to people at the ‘Bama. It’s always been the kind of place where you meet people from all walks of life.
“I have all kinds of family down there,’’ he added from his home in Nashville. “I will get to see them. I’ll fish. Go out on a boat. No shoes, No shirt. No problem, to borrow a line from our friend (Kenny Chesney).’’
Hicks will have a full band plugged in behind him and play songs from his American Idol songbook in addition to tracks from the country-soul singer’s third album due out this fall.
“The album was a labor of love, but I want to be smart about how I release and market it,’’ he said of the album. “It’s a soulful country record. Very rootsy. Sounds like Jackson Browne and Zack Brown got together.’’
A single, “Six Strings and Diamond Rings” from the album recorded at Zac Brown’s Southern Ground studio was released last year. Contributing to the album were Keb’ Mo and Robert Randolph.
For Hicks, winning “American Idol’s” blockbuster fifth season was obviously a life changing experience. Hailed as “part Stax, part Motown and part honky-tonk” by The New York Times, Hicks’ intoxicating blend of soul, blues, country, and rock & roll quickly rendered him a household name as he progressed to the show’s record-breaking finale in 2006. That historic television event drew an audience of more than 200 million viewers.
Hicks followed with a No. 1 Billboard single and an RIAA certified Platinum debut, a Las Vegas residency and a stint on Broadway and on tour as Teen Angel in the popular Broadway musical “Grease.”
Since then, he has wrapped up the syndicated “State Plate,” his own food and travel show that features cuisine and culture from all 50 states. It is now available on Amazon Prime. Hicks’ passion for southern cuisine also led him to open up Saw’s BBQ & Juke Joint in Birmingham.
Hicks recently took on the role of Charlie Anderson in the Serenbe Playhouse production of “Shenandoah.” The outdoor production captured the story of one family’s struggle living in the Shenandoah Valley during the American Civil War. He is also partnering in front of and behind the camera on a series of short films.
“I caught a little bit of the acting bug and picked up a few gigs lately,’’ he said. “I enjoy it and it’s interesting. I have been blessed to be able to have a good start in truly learning about the art of acting.
“As I see it, you have to go wherever the wind takes you in this business,’’ he added. “Kind of like those old-school musicians that used to blow into the Flora-Bama and all the other bars up and down the Gulf Coast. They would play for the tip jar before sailing off somewhere else. Whatever way the wind blew is the way they went. I think that is the essence of who I am.
“I don’t mean it literally. But I want to be open and follow the wind with my career. I can still relate to those old songwriters I met at the ‘Bama when I was 18 or 19 years old.’’