Thursday, January 9, 2014

Hicks goes Hollywood

Lindsey Treffry,

Since winning the fifth season of “American Idol” eight years ago, Taylor Hicks has released three albums, performed on Broadway, sung at a Republican National Convention, acted in “Law and Order: SVU” and secured gigs at both Bally’s and Paris Las Vegas. But for him, that was just a start.

Taylor Hicks performs the Clearwater River Casino on Saturday.
The Southern soul singer with pepper-gray hair will make his way to the Clearwater River Casino event center Saturday in Lewiston.
 It’s part of a long list of his 2014 gigs, including tours around the country, the finale of his Paris Las Vegas residency and a new country album, which Hicks, 37, said should be released in spring.

“The common thread will be my voice and the instrumentation,” Hicks said of the Nashville-recorded album, which features more country music than his previous soul, blues and funk albums. “I’m just really excited, because I’ve picked great songs on this record. I’m going to have a few surprises along the way.”

Plus, he has some TV surprises, too.

Hicks played himself on an episode of “Law and Order: SVU” along with season two “American Idol” winner Clay Aiken and R&B performer Ashanti, who all parodied voice competition judges, much like Simon Cowell. Since then, Hicks has looked to other TV and film roles.

“I’m looking at a little bit more serious roles for next year,” Hicks said. “It’s interesting. Having caught my break on television, I’ve kind of been exposed to that art. It’s always smart to revisit it.”

While performing with Willie Nelson and the Allman Brothers were highlights of his career, Hicks said he hopes to one day collaborate with Paul Simon, one of his favorite artists.

“Those are opportunities; you have to make the best of them,” he said.

Hicks said the Clearwater River Casino audience can look forward to hearing songs from “American Idol,” off his records and some “great cover songs,” such as Elvis hits or “Taking it to the Streets” by Michael McDonald.

“Just some really great live music,” Hicks said.

Tickets for the 8 p.m. Saturday concert are available through TicketsWest outlets, by calling (800) 325-SEAT or visiting Tickets, $20-$60, can also be purchased through the Clearwater River Casino box office.

As seen in the Jan. 9 issue of Inland 360.