Taylor Hicks returns

The musician and TV personality tells why he can’t stay away from Sandpoint

By Cameron Rasmusson
Reader Staff

Something about Sandpoint just keeps Taylor Hicks coming back.

Maybe it’s the lake, the mountains and the lush natural scenery. Maybe it’s the friends that make the area their home. Whatever it is, his shows in Sandpoint are not just a chance to engage with an audience—they’re an opportunity to unwind and recharge. And with several big projects ahead of him, Hicks will have plenty of use for a refreshed state of mind.

Taylor Hicks performing with Umphreys McGee. Photo by Josh Timmermans.

Taylor Hicks performing with Umphreys McGee. Photo by Josh Timmermans.

“[I’m looking forward to enjoying] the air and the water and the food and my friends,” Hicks said. “And not necessarily in that order.”

A working musician since his teenage years, Hicks launched to an entirely new level when he competed in and won the “American Idol” season five competition in 2006. Hicks soon found himself in uncharted territory.

“All entertainers ever want to do at some point is catch the proverbial break,” Hicks said. “‘Idol’ is that proverbial break.”

With a wealth of options to explore, Hicks determined to develop his career in a direction that emphasized change and variety over tried-and-true musical formula. While he was quick to hit the studio following “American Idol” and release a new album, his self-titled major label debut, he also explored opportunities in TV, theater and the restaurant business. Turns on Broadway and a touring role in a production of “Grease” soon followed.

“You want to be careful [after a big break]—you want to be a credible entertainer,” Hicks said. “I think reinvention is the most important thing. People want to see you as a little dynamic.”

One of Hicks’ upcoming projects, the TV show “State Plate” is a reflection of that philosophy. Set to premiere Friday, Oct. 21, on the INSP television network, “State Plate” follows Hicks as he travels across the country seeking the culinary traditions that define each state. From crab cakes in Maryland to chili in Texas to, yes, potatoes here in Idaho, “State Plate” demonstrates the diversity of American food cultures while showcasing the creativity of state residents who reinvent those classic traditions. The show follows the folks who grow, harvest, catch and make America’s most iconic foods.

“It’s a real farm-to-table concept,” Hicks said, suggesting that Sandpoint residents can expect to see the town featured in the show.

Fans of Hicks’ music need not worry: “State Plate” isn’t keeping him out of the recording studio. He’s spent the last couple years working on a whole range of new songs. According to Hicks, a roots music aesthetic underlies the new material—a logical step in a career built on classic rock, blues, country and R&B.

According to Hicks, there’s no better chance for devotees and newcomers alike to experience his music than his live performance at The Hive this Friday. He has nothing but praise for the venue and has played it so much, he considers himself something of a house musician.

“I’m thrilled to get to play my favorite venue in the country,” Hicks said. “I mean that with all sincerity—it’s one of the most genius concepts from a hosting perspective and also a sonic perspective.”

High energy will be the mark of the night, especially with support from the dynamic Jelly Bread and 45th Street Brass Band. Expect a crowded dance floor as the artists combine their talents to debut the 2016 Aftival in style.

According to Hicks, The Hive management’s sense of hospitality goes beyond a veggie tray and a word of thanks. Owner Jeff Grady and his staff know how to take care of the artists they host, and they take full advantage of Sandpoint’s charms to sell the experience. Whether that means a lake day in the summer or a trip up to Schweitzer in the winter, a show in Sandpoint means comfort, fun and a lot of friendly faces.

“I’m very blessed to say that the Gradys and I are very close, and we have been for some time now,” Hicks said. “They introduced me to a part of the world I never thought I would get to experience.”

Catch Taylor Hicks, Jelly Bread and the 45th Street Brass Band live at The Hive this Friday night, Aug. 5. Doors open at 9 p.m., and the show begins at 10 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door, but Festival goers can show their ticket stub from the Railroad Earth show to receive a $5 discount. The shows are restricted to ages 21 and up. Tickets are available at livefromthehive.com or locally at Evans Brothers Coffee, 7B Boardshop, Eichardt’s and show days at The Hive. To inquire about a VIP booth for reserved seating, cocktail service, access to VIP bathrooms and a balcony view, email [email protected] 

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