Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Birmingham's Next American Idol?

We've had fun posting occasionally about Taylor Hicks, Birmingham's American Idol 2006. There really isn't much of a connection between Hicks and our usual subject matter here--sleazy attorneys, corrupt judges, etc.

But Hicks did play basketball at Hoover High School, and I've written about a possible connection between Hoover football and my legal tale of woe. That's a pretty weak thread, I'll admit. But hey, my wife's a Taylor Hicks fan, and she turned me into a Taylor Hicks fan, so I don't need much of an excuse to write about the high priest of the "Soul Patrol."

And besides, I need a break now and then from our usual subject matter, which can get a bit grim. Hicks represents an Alabama feel-good story that I am only too happy to help spread.

To my untrained ears, Hicks is more than just a feel-good story. I've listened with great regularity to his major-label debut, and his two independent CDs, and I'm convinced the guy is a significant talent.

Yes, Hicks has a distinctive whiskey tenor and a charismatic stage presence. And he's pretty good on at least two instruments--harmonica and guitar. But I'm most impressed with his writing talent. Some might say that Hicks is unpolished as a songwriter. But there is good basic stuff there. A big-time producer, Matt Serletic, took three of Hicks' original tunes--Soul Thing, The Deal, and Hell of a Day--and turned them into true gems. In fact, many reviewers said that the best songs on the Taylor Hicks CD were those three originals.

So it's established that we here at Legal Schnauzer are big Taylor Hicks supporters. But the point of this post is to alert the public that Birmingham might have another American Idol in the works. And he happens to be a guy I've seen on the football field quite a bit.

Sam Hunt, the starting quarterback this year for the UAB (University of Alabama at Birmingham) Blazers, happens to be a pretty talented musician. Steve Irvine, of The Birmingham News, recently wrote about Hunt and his possible future in music.

I follow UAB athletics, and I had heard that Hunt could sing and play guitar a little. But I figured he was a "hobby level" musician. On a local telecast of a recent UAB game, there was a halftime feature about Hunt, including him playing and singing. Heck, I thought, this guy's good.

Evidently, I'm not the only one who thinks so. He played before about 200 people at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes talent show, and he was lead vocalist at a recent performance by the UAB Gospel Choir.

Hunt's teammates are impressed. "I tried to get Sam to go on American Idol when they came to Birmingham," cornerback Zach Britten said. "I forgot what happened--the practice schedule or what. But Sam can sing, man. I think he would have made it."

I've had a chance to speak to Hunt a time or two, and he seems like a genuinely nice guy. Plus, he's disgustingly handsome, which wouldn't hurt on Idol. In the photo that ran with the News story (not available on the Web version), Hunt has a tousled-hair thing going on that makes him look like a CCR-era John Fogerty.

Hunt was a solid college football player, but he doesn't figure to have an NFL future. UAB struggled to a 2-10 record this season.

But who knows what might happen on the music front? Hunt says he gravitates toward a mixture of country, blues, rock, and gospel. "I would like to play music in the future," Hunt said. "I've seen a lot of really good players and singers who are trying to make it and aren't necessarily making it. That's a hard business to get into. But it would be awesome to do that."

Here is Hunt's bio from the UAB football Web site. The Blazers wrapped up their 2007 season Saturday with a 46-39 loss at Marshall. Hunt completed 13 of 24 passes for 189 yards and one touchdown and ran eight times for 64 yards.


Anonymous said...

Sam is certainly a multi- talented guy! Wouldn't it be wonderful if Birmingham was home to yet another Idol!

Maybe some day Taylor and he will cross paths. After music, football seems to be TH's second love. They'd have plenty to talk about!

Wishing Sam all the best in the years ahead.

Anonymous said...

Birmingham certainly has an abundence of talented artists ! Another idol ? I can see this happening and if it does,you will have been the first one to predict it ! Did you pick Taylor too ? He's the BOMB !Wishing Sam in Birmingham the best,hope to see him on Idol !

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the news about Birmingham's talent pool. It would definately be fun if Taylor Hicks' performance on that reality show is matched by Sam Hunt's.

Come on Sam, give it a try -- after all you HAVE to be better than those duds from last year's show.

Anonymous said...

Roger -

Love the way you "turn a phrase." That line about Sam having "a tousled-hair thing going on" is great!

Don't waste all that writing talent on legal "stuff!"

Seriously, this was nice to read. Here's hoping that Sam catches a break. After all, stranger things have happened! Just ask Taylor!

Anonymous said...

C'mon Sam, give it a shot. Taylor did & look at him now! I wish Sam all the best in whatever he chooses to do - music or football or BOTH.

Thanks for the great article!

Anonymous said...

You are one smart schnauzer!

Anonymous said...

legal...thanks so much for this on sam...would have never heard of it otherwise...what a precious and talented guy...can not imagine why he wouldn't be able to make it in the music appears that he has it all! the talent, the looks, the sweetness...whoa!

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to drop by and say Go Blazers!