|Reuben Studdard and Taylor Hicks|
You might say that we have adopted Taylor Hicks as the "official musician of Legal Schnauzer." As a Birmingham-based blog, it seems natural that Hicks would be one of our musical favorites. He grew up in Hoover, just a few miles from where we live, and we have come to appreciate his "rootsy" music, his "up-by-the-bootstraps" back story, and his appreciation for those who came before him.
Mrs. Schnauzer and I had heard of Hicks before he won American Idol in 2006, but we had never seen him perform until the rest of the world--including Simon, Paula, and Randy--had discovered him. From listening to Hicks' two independent, pre-Idol CDs, we know he has the kind of writing chops that should serve him well over what we hope is a long and prosperous career.
We were pleased to see that Hicks made it back to his hometown for a holiday concert last week at WorkPlay. Mrs. Schnauzer and I were on hand for Hicks' post-Idol performance at Birmingham's now-defunct City Stages festival, and we were there for one of two sold-out shows at the Alabama Theatre on his first national tour.
Unfortunately, we have so many legal irons in the fire at the moment that we had to miss the WorkPlay show. But thanks to the miracle of YouTube, we can feel like we were there. And we hope Legal Schnauzer readers will want to share that feeling, appreciating a local boy who has shown that our community can turn out more than just football players and right-wing politicians.
Hicks opened the WorkPlay show with a rousing performance of the Stephen Stills classic, "Love the One You're With":
Reuben Studdard, Birmingham's original American Idol, joined Hicks for a cover of Bobby Womack's "Woman's Gotta Have it":
Carson James, an up and coming Birmingham artist, was the opening act, and Hicks joined him for a cover of Stevie Wonder's "Superstition":
Finally, we have "Nineteen," a song from The Distance, Hicks' second post-Idol studio album. Hicks wrote the tune with Nashville-based songwriters Gary Nicholson and Jeffrey Steele. It tells the story of a high-school football star who joins the Marines after the attacks of 9/11. To our untrained ears, the song had the potential to be a major hit, but somehow it has floated under the radar. Hicks provides a vocal performance worth savoring: