Reality Rocks - Archive

Taylor Hicks Makes Music For Hicks

Lyndsey Parker
Reality Rocks


Seems like all sorts of reality stars (like Newlywed Jessica Simpson) are going country these days. There's even a CMT reality show called Gone Country set up expressly for that purpose, with fallen American Idol alums like Diana Degarmo, Justin Guarini, and Mikalah Gordon desperately giving Nashville a go.

The latest Idol to go country--not on a reality show, but on his new self-released single--is none other than season 5 AmIdol winner Taylor Hicks. But I think HE might actually have a decent shot at this. I kind of always thought the Idol producers should have pushed Taylor down a country path from the get-go, really.

First of all, Taylor is from the South and once spent time stationed in Nashville trying to get his pre-Idol career off the ground, so country music wouldn't have been an unnatural fit for him (unlike, say, Justin Guarini's Gone Country 3 attempt).

Second, I always figured Taylor's smoky voice and bluesy harmonica playing would work well in the country format.

Third, such a career direction would have fulfilled Idol's unspoken genre quota. At the time that Taylor won, there'd already been a pop chick (Kelly Clarkson), an R&B male and female (Ruben Studdard, Fantasia), and a country girl (Carrie Underwood). So a country boy would have been the next logical addition to the Idol roster. 

And finally--despite the recent influx of country cuties over the years like Keith Urban, Taylor Swift, Faith Hill, et al--country music is one genre whose fans seem willing to tolerate a little extra padding and or a few silver hairs. Loyal country fans actually allow their musical heroes age gracefully and look like regular folk. And let's face it, Taylor's prematurely gray, somewhat goofy image was never going to make sense in the glossy pop world, but in country music, Taylor would be right at home.

So now Taylor Hicks is indeed a country boy. Below is his official country music debut, "Seven Mile Breakdown," which to be honest isn't that big a departure from his previous work. Really, it's all about marketing these days: If Taylor had just been promoted as a "country" artist from the beginning by Fox/19/BMG, maybe he'd still have a major record deal now.

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