Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Taylor Hicks' album is out today!

This time last year, as I got my hair cut, the salon was a-buzz because a long-time client who'd just walked out had made it onto American Idol. I'm an American Idol groupie, so I started bouncing in my chair--which might have contributed to some odd layering I noticed in my hair later. I asked my stylist to tell me more about this guy.

She bent close to me and whispered, "He's weird."

Me: "Weird how?"

Stylist: "He has gray hair, and he won't let us color it."

Me: "Gray???"

I know, I know, Chris Daughtry was robbed. I was a fan of Chris. I was a huge fan of Elliott. I was a fan of Paris, and Bucky, and Sway, who did a great cover of Earth Wind & Fire. But I'm a Taylor Hicks fangirl. Why?

He grew up here in Birmingham. At 16, he was playing basketball for Hoover High (i.e., Two-A-Days) and sneaking out of the house to play his harmonica in biker bars. (Don't try this at home.)

He went to my alma mater, Auburn University, where I also taught freshman English. War Eagle!

He's a real musician. He paid his dues. He knows the old soul classics. He always thanks the band. In fact, he tried to convince the producers to let him take his Birmingham band on tour with him. He didn't take them all, but he did get his saxophone player. I watched this terrific band play with Taylor on local TV when he came to town for the parade in April. As a saxophone player myself, I was awed to see this guy play a soprano sax out one side of his mouth and an alto out the other. I was squinting at the TV, leaning to one side, thinking, "How does he--" turning upside down "--finger that?"

Most of all, I admire Taylor because he pursued an artistic endeavor for years against all odds. He beat his head against the wall until the sheetrock finally gave way. I have been through this myself. As I waited for MAJOR CRUSH to debut and watched American Idol last spring, it was enormously satisfying to see this hometown boy finally make good.

Who are you a fangirl (or manfan) of, and why?

My other idol, btw, is Jane Austen.


Rhonda Helms said...

I always liked Taylor Hick's voice on AI. And I thought he was unique and interesting. That's great to hear that he's such a gentleman musician, too!


ps - read Major Crush last night and loved it...laughed my hiney off at some parts. :D

Coneycat said...

Who am I a fangirl for?

As all my friends-list over on LJ knows, I am a huge fangirl of local Halifax boy Matt Mays, who is adorably scruffy, extremely good-natured (as well as awfully polite for a budding rock star) and has, so far, released a country rock solo album, a guitar rock record with his band El Torpedo (about whom the more said the better, but I'll restrain myself) and a strangely eclectic folk-to-electronica solo record, all of which sound authentically just like Matt. It's exciting to watch his development. Also, he's really cute, but much younger than my baby brother so I'm trying to squelch the lech.

I'm not a fan of Taylor but I do get the excitement over watching an artist (especially one you have a hometown connection to) take off. So have fun!

Jennifer Echols said...

Coneycat: I'll have to check out Matt's music!

Rhonda: I'm so glad you liked MAJOR CRUSH! Thanks for letting me know! And I'm sorry about your hiney.

Rhonda Helms said...

It's ok. I could stand to lose a cheek or two, anyway. LOL - God knows I have enough junk in the trunk...

I'm a fangirl of actor Christian Bale. I think he's versatile and has done great work. Not only that, but he's low-profile and doesn't grab attention by flashing his manties (or lack thereof) all of the world. haha

Coneycat said...

I love the part about Taylor sneaking out to play in biker bars. There's a guy here in Halifax called JOel Plaskett whose old band, Thrush Hermit, started playing bars when most of them were about fifteen. Joel's dad (a guitar player) used to go chaperone. Now he and Joel tour together sometimes.

You can checkout Matt Mays and his band on Conan O'Brien this Friday, December 15th! I'm as excited about this as I bet you were to see Taylor on TV! Also--how's the CD? I hope you're really enjoying it!

Jennifer Echols said...

The CD is awesome!