Friday, August 31, 2007

Be one "Degree of Kevin Bacon"

So everyone in Hollywood can be linked to Kevin Bacon by no more than six steps.

Seriously ... name someone. Anyone!

Jeanine Garofalo? She was in "Reality Bites" with Winona Rider, who was in "Heathers" with Christian Slater, who was in "Interview with the Vampire" with Tom Cruise, who was in "A Few Good Men" with ... Kevin Bacon!!!

See? Easy, right? Hence the game "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon."

Well, Sunday, you can be your own degree if you head to the Columbia County Fair in Chatham.

Kevin and his brother, Michael, will bring their Bacon Brothers band to the main stage for concerts at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.

OK, follow me on this one:

If you go to the show on Sunday, you can tell your friends and neighbors that you saw the Bacons. This way, next week, they can tell their co-workers, "You work with me, who lives next to (your name here), who saw a concert starring Kevin Bacon!" Fun, huh?

For more information on the fair, click here.

I thought it was kinda to go from Poughkeepsie to Chatham, but it's only 56 miles.

Free concert at the mall Saturday

Doing any back-to-school shopping at Poughkeepsie Galleria tomorrow?

Stop by center court at 2 p.m. Saturday as local radio station Star 93 (that's 93.3 on your FM dial) presents a live, acoustic concert from Josh Thompson.

Admittedly, I've never heard of him, but he's got his own Web site, where I learned these little tidbits I thought I'd share with you if you're headed to the mall...

* He's 18 years old, and just finished his last year of high school;

* In the past year, he's performed more than 200 times in the southeast, sharing the stage with such acts as Brian Litrell (he of Backstreet Boys fame) and Teddy Geiger;

* His big single is "Sunshine," a cover of the song Johnathan Edwards (no, not the "Crossing Over" guy!) made famous in the '70s. Edwards even appears on Thompson's cover of "Sunshine."

I just listened to a sample of Thompson's "Sunshine" on iTunes, and I think I've heard his version before on Radio Disney. (Did I share too much there?! Seriously, who's surprised I listen to Radio Disney from time to time?)

So there ya go. Take a break from buying all those No. 2 pencils, scientific calculators and spiral notebooks and catch a free concert at the Poughkeepsie Galleria tomorrow.

Remember, even *NSync and Hanson played malls before they blew up.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Put on your "Dancing" shoes, Jennie

Following fellow "Beverly Hills, 90210" alum Ian Ziering, Jennie Garth will join the competition on "Dancing with the Stars" next season, which begins in the fall.

Jennie (seen at right) played the awesomely hot (that's totally an early '90s term!) Kelly Taylor on "90210," the ex-GF of Ian's Steve Sanders.

Ian made it to the semifinals of Season 4 of "Dancing with the Stars," only to fall to eventual champ Apolo Anton Ohno last spring.

Along with Jennie, here are the other contestants for Season 5:

√ Sabrina Bryan (She of Cheetah Girls fame)
√ Melanie Brown ("Scary Spice"/Eddie Murphy's baby mama)
√ Mark Cuban (Owns the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, talks a lot)
√ Floyd Mayweather Jr. (Punches guys with boxing gloves on)
√ Helio Castroneves (Drives cars in circles really, really fast)
√ Marie Osmond (Prettiest of all the Osmonds)
√ Wayne Newton (Mr. Las Vegas, but he's no Barry Manilow)
√ Cameron Mathison (Soap star? Anyone heard of him?)
√ Jane Seymour (Former medicine woman)
√ Albert Reed (They say he's a model)
√ Josie Maran (They say she's a model)

Getting back to "90210," I actually met Ian Ziering at the South Hills when Bob's Stores opened up there. I was a freshman in college (so we're talking either fall of '92 or spring of '93) and the "90210" hoopla was in full effect.

Ian was there signing autographs, and about 2,000 teeny-boppers and I waited a few hours to meet him. It was all good, though, 'cause I was taller than all the 12-year-old girls there, so I got to see it all and finally met Ian.

For someone who played a jerk on the show, he was actually very friendly at the signing — it turned out better than my Ricky Schroeder autograph signing saga — and look ... 15 years later, I'm still telling this story!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

"Big Brother" is still on???

Flipping channels last week, I came across something on CBS that blew my mind:

"Big Brother" is still on the air! Who knew?!

I remember investing waaaaay too much time to the first season of the reality show, watching both on TV (it seemed like that first season was on every night) and even online from the office (that was before my current job, of course!) and coming away from that first season emotionally drained.

Once they started this whole Head of Household thing, I totally stopped watching.

I did, though, try to make my way through that all-star season, but I just couldn't do it. "Chicken George," though, drove me nuts.

Then, as my curiosity was piqued, I checked the Associated Press files and found these pics of cast members from this, the eighth season of "Big Brother." Again, this is the eighth season of the show!

BTW ... who are these people?!

Yeah, back in the day I was totally into shows like "Survivor" and "American Idol," though I've since voted the former "off the island" and haven't watched the latter consistently the past few seasons.

(I will, though, have to pick up my "AI" viewing, watching for the next Taylor Hicks or Bo Bice.)

So, what have I missed the past seven seasons???

TELL ME you saw this!!!

Lauren Caitlin Upton, Miss South Carolina (seen here at right), was totally confused last Friday night, when answering a question posed by a judge at the Miss Teen USA pageant.

One of the judges asked Lauren why 1/5 of Americans can't point out the U.S. on a map of the world.

Talking about "U.S. Americans" and mentioning "the Iraq" in her answer, Lauren made for hilarious television when she gave her answer. She also mentions that some U.S. Americans don't have maps! Makes sense, right?!

Unfortunately, The Man won't let me actually show you the video, so head over here to watch the YouTube video that's gotten more than 4.5 million hits!

And yes, that is "Saved By The Bell" alum Mario Lopez (you might know him as A.C. Slater) and look ... unlike Slater, he's actually wearing sleeves!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Stand still, look pretty ... take the picture!

Well, not only did Michelle Branch and fellow Wrecker Jessica Harp put on a great show at the Dutchess County Fair in Rhinebeck last night, she was also gracious enough to snap a pic with me after the concert...

I know, I know: I looked surprised I'm getting my picture taken! Oh, and nice red-eye, right?! I just don't photograph well. I think Michelle does this more than me.

The title of this entry is an obvious play on words, taken from The Wreckers' "Stand Still, Look Pretty" CD.

Michelle was also nice enough to take a pic with my GF, but if you remember the Liev Schreiber meeting, she's a lil' shy.

After singing "Leave the Pieces" and then an encore, Jessica left for her tour bus (they'd said earlier they have a 20-hour drive to Kansas City ahead of them), but Michelle signed autographs for fans for about 15 minutes.

Still, Michelle was gracious enough to stop for a minute and really make our day 'cause the concert was honestly the only reason we even went to the fair.

Oh! Making the night even more fun for my fav U2 fan, Michelle sang "Pride (In the Name of Love)" as a solo, saying she'd done the song in sound checks recently, but this was the first time she'd done it for an audience.

And if that wasn't enough fun, I won a stuffed Stewie Griffin at the fair! (I'm so proud.) Thank you, Whack-A-Mole!

No, really ... I'm sure that's an officially licensed "Family Guy" product. No, seriously ... it's gotta be, right?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Bo Bice or Taylor Hicks? You decide...

So, high off last week’s Taylor Hicks show here in town, someone in the office asked me:

“Which concert was better, Bo Bice or Taylor Hicks?” he pondered, knowing I’d seen both this summer.

And it got me thinking: Which one was better?

I mean, they both were on "American Idol" — Bo was the runner-up on Season Four and Taylor actually won the whole thing the next year! — but they put on totally different shows when they came to Poughkeepsie.

Bo's concert was totally acoustic — just him and a guitar — in the cozy, intimate setting of The Chance, where everyone from The Police to Bob Dylan have played.

Taylor, though, brought his band to our Mid-Hudson Civic Center, the (relatively) larger arena with a more conventional concert — at least compared to Bo's acoustic set — where everyone from Barry Manilow and Chicago has come through and set up stage.

They both got amazing fan reactions (although at times, I felt like I was the only guy in the crowd ... then I'd look around just for re-assurance!) and personally, my GF and I left each concert pleasantly surprised, having not known much about either singer before we went.

Both shows were actually refreshingly relaxed, nothing like the glitzy stage shows you often see in the big city, accompanied by a high ticket price needed to pay for those lasers and smoke machines and back-up singers. They both just highlighted the singer and his music. No frills.

So for those who you who have seen Bo in concert or a Taylor show — or, ideally, both — what do you think? Who puts on a better show? If you only had $35 in your pocket and had to pick one, which would you see why?

Bo fans ... Taylor fans ... let's discuss!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Getting Wreck-ed tomorrow night

Even though I've only really listened to their hit "Leave the Pieces," which I love, I'm still looking forward to seeing The Wreckers at the Dutchess County Fair tomorrow night.

That's Michelle Branch (left) and a brunette Jessica Harp

Admittedly, I bought their debut release "Stand Still, Look Pretty" like two months ago from the CD club (yeah, I didn't pay full price) but I haven't really listened to much more than "Take the Pieces."

Still, I'm looking forward to getting my fill of country girl music tomorrow night.

Can't get enough of Michelle Branch and Jessica Harp? Their tour starts on Sunday in Kansas City. Want more info? Click here.

Team Element to shred & sign at mall

For you skateboarders out there, the “This is My Element” East Coast Tour heads to the Poughkeepsie Galleria this Thursday, August 24.

According to the Element Web site, Chad Muska, Chad Tim Tim, Nyjah Huston, Levi Brown, Collin Provost and Jimmy Lannon are scheduled to sign autographs at the TSX Skateshop beginning at 6 p.m.

Before that, though, there's a 2 p.m. demo scheduled for the Poughkeepsie skatepark at Waryas Park, seen in these pics.

Admittedly, I have no idea who these people are. (I’m not completely out of it: I’m well aware of Tony Hawk!)

I do, though, know how popular skateboarding is and how influential it is in several aspects of pop culture — from music to fashion.

The only time I ever got on a skateboard was back in ’85 when Marty McFly made it seem so cool, grabbing the back bumper of cars and zooming through the streets of Hilldale on his board.

And if you’re reading this, you’re probably too young to know that that is an obvious “Back to the Future” reference. (Wow! I feel like such an old fogey!)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Tony Soprano whacked by Troy & Gabriella

Just in case you missed it, "High School Musical 2" debuted Friday night on the Disney Channel.

As if that wasn't news enough, try this: Friday's premiere drew 17.2 million viewers to the screen; that's 5 million more than watched the "Sopranos" finale.

(Thanks to Nielsen Media Research for Friday's final number.)

Yes, Troy Bolton, Gabriella Montez, Sharpay Evans, Ryan Evans, Chad Danforth and Taylor McKessie (portrayed by Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu and Monique Coleman, respectively) are seemingly the only ones who could defeat Tony Soprano.

Friday's audience set a record for the biggest of any program on basic cable ever!

It's no wonder Corbin, Lucas, Vanessa & Ashley are smiling!

Now, I haven't watched the sequel yet (I taped it Friday night but didn't have enough time over the weekend to watch it), so don't give away the ending.

I did, however, hear from someone here in the office (who's 10 years my senior, btw!) that it's a great movie, almost as good as the first.

Whatta ya think? Can we count down the days until "High School Musical 3" starts shooting?!

Are you coming "Here for the Party" with Gretchen next month?

Just did a little wandering on the Ticketmaster Web site and saw that tickets are going fast for the Gretchen Wilson concert at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center here in Poughkeepsie on September 13th.

Clicking here to see what tickets were available, and the best ones they had were in Row Y of the middle section on the floor ... and that's with almost a month to go!

Translation: If you're plan on seeing the "Redneck Woman" in Poughkeepsie, you'd better get your tickets quickly!

I'd like to see Gretchen's Poughkeepsie show (I have her debut CD and absolutely love it, not to mention her kinda rebel style — thumbing her nose at the music establishment), but I'm not sure if work commitments will allow it.

Originally, this show was scheduled for September 21st (this was the marquee when we saw Taylor Hicks here the other night ... surely you've heard he was in town, right?!), but today I see it's been changed.

So who's headed to see Gretchen? Any "Muzik Mafia" fans coming to town? Are any Club 27 members descending on Poughkeepsie? Let's hear it...

Friday, August 17, 2007

"Sooooul Patrol in Poughkeepsie!"

A big thanks to Janice in Hopewell Junction, who went on The Boogie Board late last night to send me the Taylor Hicks set list from Thursday's show in Poughkeepsie:

Soul Thing
- Eastbound and Down (Jerry Reed)
Give Me Tonight
Heart & Soul
- Cleaning Windows (Van Morrison)
- Brown-Eyed Handsome Man (Chuck Berry)
My Friend
Medicated Goo (Traffic)
- Get down! I said, "Get down!"
Don't Let Me Down
Hold On To Your Love
- Jump in the Line (Harry Belafonte)
- Day-Oh (Harry Belafonte)
- Lonely Avenue (Ray Charles)
The Deal

Taylor: "The piano at the beginning of this song sounds like the theme from the old Atari game "Pitfall."
Naked in the Jungle (Van Morrison)
- Dance to the Music (Sly & the Family Stone)
- I Wanna Take You Higher (Sly & the Family Stone)

Heaven Knows
- What'd I Say, call & response (Ray Charles)
- Funky!!

For the first verse of "Heaven Knows," just click PLAY

- Do You Believe x several
- Minute by Minute (Doobie Brothers)
- Can you here the water run
- Hymns to the Silence (Van Morrison)

During Maze, Clay brought out a pic of Taylor's head on a stick and handed to Taylor who passed it to a kid in the crowd.

During Maze, he pushed Brian G off his platform.

The Runaround
- That's All Right (Elvis Presley)
---- "To the King of Rock 'n' Roll!"

"How about it for the Taylor Hicks Band?!?!"

Take the Long Way Home

Man, that guy can sing!

Seriously ... am I the only one singing "Heaven Knows" to myself this morning, trying to get the certain rasp in my voice just right?!

Needless to say (as you all told me months ago), Taylor Hicks put on an amazing show at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center last night here in Poughkeepsie.

More of a jam session than your traditional rock n' roll concert, Taylor and his band played for about 75 minutes, barely stopping for a breath in between songs — an almost nonstop jam from start to finish.

Belting out the hits from his self-titled CD that we all know — songs like "The Runaround" and that infectious "Heaven Knows" — he also peppered in covers of the Beatles' "Don't Let Me Down" and his encore, Supertramp's "Take the Long Way Home," among others.

While he didn't sing "Do I Make You Proud," the single that was more or less forced on him when he won the finale of Season Five of "American Idol," that sappy song wouldn't have fit in well with his soulful performance, so it wasn't really missed.

(Janice from Hopewell Junction was kind enough to send me Taylor's set list from last night, and I'll post that here later. Be sure to check back!)

What was pretty refreshing was seeing a guy who won individual fame and glory on "AI" often deferring to his five band members, giving each of them the spotlight throughout the show, even if it meant stepping almost completely off stage during a song to give each individual player his due.

As for his own musical ability, Taylor shined on the harmonica (seen below in a lil' video I snapped from the third row), wailed on the guitar, shook that tambourine like a Polaroid picture and even threw in a little cowbell.

And his fans??? Wow! That's a dedicated bunch! They came early, they danced and you could tell Taylor appreciated the support, several times thanking the Soul Patrol in Poughkeepsie for all they've given him. (No word, though, if he took up the offer to eat at the 84 Diner.)

Taylor danced right along, moving and grooving with the music as if possessed by it. If you thought all those gyrations on "AI" were just for show — perhaps a ploy to win more votes — think again, because you could see him feeling the music, almost note by note.

After the show, he rewarded his fans for their support by signing autographs for about 50 of us (you read about that, right?) despite an increasingly thunderous downpour.

For someone who wasn't sure about Taylor Hicks' staying power a few months ago when the show was announced, I was thoroughly impressed, if not hooked!

Followed only by my man Barry Manilow, Taylor ranks second on my list of solo acts I've seen live ... yes, even ahead of Britney Spears, who I've seen twice.

Rock on, Soul Patrol! Rock on!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

So we just met Taylor Hicks...

...and honestly, he's a really cool guy!

I'll have a full report on his show here in Poughkeepsie (with pics and video) right here on "Sean's Space" tomorrow (that's Friday), but let me just say this: He was incredible!

After the show, we waited outside the Mid-Hudson Civic Center door and he came out and signed dozens of autographs in a sudden and pouring rain!

He was very gracious, and I quietly held my copy of last week's "Enjoy!" section as Taylor approached.

It was then that my beloved GF excitedly yelled to him, "Taylor, he wrote that story about you!" to which he told me, "Thanks, man. I appreciate it."

He then tried his darnedest to sign the "Enjoy!" section battling both a dying Sharpie marker and the pouring rain.

Still, he was seemed grateful that more than 50 of his fans braved the weather to greet him, and we were likewise appreciative of his time.

Remember, check back here at "Sean's Space" on Friday for a full report on the show!

Looks like Taylor Hicks is in town!

OK, now I feel like a stalker! See what I've become?!

After a very cute anonymous reader posted a comment on my previous post, saying she'd seen Taylor Hicks' tour buses parked across the street from the Mid-Hudson Civic Center, I just had to check it out for myself...

So let's go, people; let's get cracking: Which tour bus (the blue tour bus or the brown tour bus) does your "American Idol" champ travel around in?

In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that both the Civic Center and the buses are just a block down the street from the Poughkeepsie Journal building, so it's not like I'm chasing him all over town.

Then on the way back to the office, humming "Heaven Knows" to myself, I stopped by the Take-5 Deli for my morning dose of Dr. Pepper. As I got to the door, it hit me:

What if Taylor Hicks is in there eating breakfast? Should I ask for his autograph? I don't have anything with me for him to sign, let alone anything for him to sign with! Grrrrrrrrr!

Luckily, Taylor wasn't at the deli (phew!) but Dr. Pepper was so I'm happy.

But if you're headed to tonight's concert, feel free to drop me a line at after the show and pass along any thoughts or pics. (Anyone headed to the fan club meet n' greet?) I'll try to post some here tomorrow.

UPDATE (1:56 p.m.): Just for kicks, I clicked onto to the Ticketmaster Web site to see if tickets were available. Indeed, when I picked 2 seats (best available), there were some in Section 101 (center) in Row L, which is only about half-way back ... or half-way to the front, depending on how you look at it!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I just couldn't wait... here, without any more waiting, is our Poughkeepsie Journal Web-exclusive story about Taylor Hicks and his show tomorrow night at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center:

'Idol' inspired by R&B greats

Taylor Hicks ready for Soul Patrol in city Thursday

By Sean T. McMann
Poughkeepsie Journal

Lionel Richie and Tina Turner.

That’s the dynamic duo that started it all for Taylor Hicks.

Watching those two perform in Birmingham, Ala., at the first concert he ever attended as a 6-year-old, the future “American Idol” wasn’t sure what was stirring inside of him.

But he knew it was there.

“I just really felt something when I left,” Hicks told the Poughkeepsie Journal last week. “I felt the excitement.”

Twenty-four years later, Hicks has been spreading that “excitement” across the country since his current tour kicked off in his native state in June, bringing his show to the Mid-Hudson Civic Center Thursday night at 7:30 p.m.

“I’m happy to be playing for anybody and everybody,” said Hicks, adding his legions of devoted fans have responded well to his current tour. “The Soul Patrol his happy.”

Count Janice Haynes among those satisfied Soul Patrol-ers.

Thursday night’s concert will be the third for the Hopewell Junction resident and her husband, who have taken in Hicks shows at Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel and House of Blues before this current tour embarked.

“These were two totally different shows that we enjoyed immensely,” Haynes said, “and we were surprised to find how quickly the time went by and it was over.”

Hicks’ distinctive sound, she said, is what appeals to her.

“I liked that fact that Taylor is different. His music has a comfortable feel to it — it can be lively or soulful — but feels like you are ‘at home’ with it,” Haynes said. “I have been involved in music since I was a child singing in church. I have been exposed to almost every genre of music, and what I like ranges extensively from hard rock to opera. His type of blues has certainly grasped my attention.”

When Maryann Cerilli learned Tuesday she’d be one of Hicks’ fan club members to actually meet the singer before the Poughkeepsie show, hysteria broke out in her Hyde Park home.

“I can’t even explain it. Seriously, I love this guy. He’s awesome,” said Cerilli, who will be sitting in the sixth row for Thursday night’s show.

Well … maybe not sitting.

Having seen Hicks before at the Beacon Theater in New York City, Cerilli said she “stood up and never stopped moving” the entire time.

“His spirit shines through,” she said. “You feel connected to him when you see him. He’s got an enormous energy.

“He’s a real person and that shines through, and that’s appealing to me.”

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

More Tay on the way

Just in case you couldn't get enough of the Taylor Hicks hysteria gripping Poughkeepsie in anticipation of Thursday's show at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center, there's more coming!

Coming this Thursday, both here on "Sean's Space" and on the Poughkeepsie Journal's Web site, I'll be posting yet another story about the "American Idol" winner and his tour.

As you probably know, I wasn't able to talk to Taylor before my deadline for last week's story in the Journal's "Enjoy!" section, but I was able to ask Taylor some of the questions that you, his fans, posed to him!

Thursday's story will have quotes from Taylor about his tour as well as local fans' thoughts on that night's show here in town.

Be sure to come back and check it out!

Monday, August 13, 2007

A bonus from the brothers Jonas

I'm probably going to song like an old fogey here, but I have no idea who the Jonas Brothers are.

I see that they're coming to The Chance in Poughkeepsie this Thursday (the same night Taylor Hicks is at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center) at 6:30 p.m., and I'll say it again: I don't know who these kids are.

As big a fan of everything Disney as I am (I even sneak in a "Hannah Montana" episode every now and then), I could not pick them out of a lineup. Apparently, though, they're huge with the Disney Channel set.

That being said, I did a little research and found both this Associated Press pic of them, and a little contest the folks at Radio Disney are running.

The Jonas Brothers are not the ones with the big ears.

So, just in case seeing Nicholas, Kevin and Joe in person wasn't enough for local fans, there's more...

If you click here, you can enter for a chance to win an autographed guitar signed by the brothers, as well as a trip to California for a guitar lesson from the boys.

For more information on the show at The Chance, click here.

Mmm-bop? Mmm ... nope!

As my summer of concerts is winding down (you've heard about a lil' Taylor Hicks show coming up, right?) and autumn soon kicks into full gear, I'm sad to say I won't be making it to the Hanson concert at The Chance in Poughkeepsie on September 22nd.

And while this melodic summer began at The Chance way back in May when we were front and center for "American Idol" runner-up Bo Bice, I won't be there to see Taylor, Zac and Isaac (and no, I don't know which one is which!) when they come here.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I should probably admit here that I actually bought a copy of their "Middle of Nowhere" CD years ago — who didn't? — when "Mmm-bop" was so damn catchy. (C'mon, I'm a self-professed Britney Spears junky; is a Hanson CD such a surprise?!)

I know, I know: I'm sure they've done more mature music since that debut, but for me they'll always be those little kids in desperate need of a haircut who we all met a decade ago.

For more information on tickets, click here.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Taylor-made interview for Hicks fans

After more than a week of planning and preparing, I finally got to spend a few minutes on the phone with Taylor Hicks yesterday before his show at the Watertown Fairgrounds Arena in upstate New York.

Given his hectic schedule, he was very gracious to sit down with me, a week prior to bringing tour to our very own Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie.

As almost 100 readers from across North America (including Maggie from Ontario, Canada) responded to my request for questions for Taylor, I’m happy to say I was able to ask a half-dozen more questions from fans than the one I originally planned on.

So, without any further delay, here are some of your questions and Taylor’s answers…

Denise from Unadilla, New York: Of all the songs in that handsome head of yours, why “A Change Is Gonna Come” for your audition with the “American Idol” judges?
Taylor Hicks: I just was really feeling the song at the time — the whole vibe of it and everything — and that’s just luckily the one that got me through.

Janice from Hopewell Junction, New York: If Taylor had the opportunity to tour with or just jam with another musician, either voice or instruments, who would it be? I know he is a Ray Charles fan, but I'm looking for current musicians.
Taylor Hicks: Van Morrison, because he was always one of my musical heroes.

Judy from Spokane, Washington: How were you able to just "teach" yourself to play the harmonica? I know you practiced sounds, but do you have "perfect pitch?" You are awesome on the harp! Of, course it goes without saying, I love all of your music.
Taylor Hicks: I just listened to a bunch of blues music. That’s the best way to do it. Just like playing any other instrument, you’re always getting better.

Stephanie from Birmingham, Alabama: Mr. Hicks, what would you say is the most important thing for a young, aspiring musician to know?
Taylor Hicks: If you’re trying to break in, don’t pay for it. Let someone pay for your talent, like a record company. If they want you bad enough, they’ll pay for you.

Louise from Newfield, New Jersey: Your book, “A Heart Full of Soul,” was a very good read. So emotional and forthright. Is a film version in the works? And if so, who would you ideally choose to play the major roles in film?
Taylor Hicks: I’d like George Clooney in the movie. Maybe it’s the gray hair!

Erin from Branson, Missouri: It is obvious the good side of celebrity, but what are some of the negative sides of it. That you have experienced. I mean besides lack of privacy? What is the one thing you miss the most about being not so famous?
Taylor Hicks: A little bit of the privacy, I guess. But I still love it.

Clarice from Bigfork, Montana: Taylor, are you planning on returning to the northwest with your acoustic tour? We have missed you this summer.
Taylor Hicks: I plan on touring some time after the year is out, possibly acoustic. I’m going to try to release a DVD in the fall.

Thanks again to all who submitted a question, and congratulations to those who got theirs answered by the “American Idol” himself.

I’ll be posting another story on Taylor early next week, in anticipation of the Aug. 16th show here in town, so be sure to check back.

Until then, check out the Poughkeepsie Journal’s Web site for today’s story on fans getting ready for his concert.

Photos courtesy of RCA Music Group, used with permission

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Just got off the phone with Taylor Hicks!

Getting ready for tonight's show in upstate Watertown, NY, Taylor Hicks just called and we talked about his upcoming concert at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie a week from tonight.

Talking on his cell phone, the connection was kinda poor but he was very gracious with his time, and he gave me some good stuff I'm sure his fans will want to hear.

The bad news: Because of a scheduling problem on his end and my deadline, my cover story for this week's Enjoy! section (above) was due Wednesday and I wasn't able to speak to him for that story. Instead, I spoke to fans.

The great news: I was able to ask him SEVEN of the questions that you guys submitted to me, far more than the one that I originally planned on!

So, be sure to check out Friday's Poughkeepsie Journal for the cover story on Taylor and his upcoming show here in town, and check back here to "Sean's Space" tomorrow morning to read Taylor's answers to the questions you asked!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Talkin' to Taylor on Thursday

After a lot of back-and-forth behind the scenes (and I mean a lot!), I just found out I'll be speaking with Taylor Hicks on Thursday afternoon.

The interview will be about both his upcoming concert in Poughkeepsie and about his career in general.

For those of you who responded to my earlier post (and I mean a lot of you did!), I've gotten close to 100 questions and I will pick one to ask Taylor when we talk and then post his response. If I can, I might even be able to sneak in one or two more questions from the batch everyone has submitted. Stay tuned...

Fans from California, North Carolina, Montana, Tennessee, Alabama, New York, New Jersey (the list goes on and on) and even Canada have submitted questions, so obviously I plan on talking to Taylor about his loyal fans.

So thanks to all of you who've responded with questions, and be sure to check back later in the week to see which one(s) Taylor answers!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Everybody got "Footloose"

He's alright. Don't nobody worry about him!

Kenny Loggins' performance Sunday evening was just the cherry on top of a great day at Bowdoin Park, filled with music and fun.

More than 10,000 of us packed the park, waiting for the headliner to play the hits we've known for years. Turns out, the wait until "Whenever I Call You Friend" was just as much fun.

Between packing a picnic dinner and enjoying a sunset just feet from the Hudson River, thousands of us realized why we have such county parks like Bowdoin.

Before the show, you could literally walk right up to the stage, where I was able to snap a pic of Kenny's set list, taped underneath his microphone stand. Look!

Bringing a Whiffle Ball and bat, my GF and I started an impromptu game with a bunch of little kids who wanted to get in on the action before the show, amid dozens more with baseballs and gloves, Frisbees ... even the occasional lacrosse stick. We even saw a puppy on a leash, being walked with his owner.

Come 7 o'clock (exactly at 7, btw) the Hudson Valley Philharmonic played for about a half-hour, making for an amazing "opening act" for Kenny.

Here's just part of the view from the stage:

And that was just the right side of the crowd!

Precisely an hour later, and never stopping in between, Kenny played an hour-and-a-half of hits we've all grown up with — from "Danny's Song" and "I'm Alright" to "This Is It" and "Footloose."

One of the highlights came before he played "House at Pooh Corner," when Kenny relayed a story about playing a show with a big, bad tough guy standing, arms crossed, just feet from the stage, never cracking a smile. In between songs that night, the tough guy yelled out, "Play the one about the bear!"

He played "the one about the bear" and a ton of songs we all know, and by night's end, everyone was dancing (getting footloose, if you will) and the night ended with the Philharmonic playing as fireworks were shot off overhead.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

20,000 arrested by The Police


That's all I've got to say after coming home from MSG, where Andy Summers, Stewart Copeland and some bassist named Gordon Sumner (I think the kids are calling him Sting these days) were absolutely amazing Friday night, as The Police returned to New York!

As soon as they took the stage following opening act Fiction Plane (featuring Sting's son Joe Sumner), they had the 20,000+ of us totally mesmerized.

"Hello, Madison Square Garden," Sting said after the first two songs. "We are The Police."

Opening with "Message In A Bottle" and continuing with hits like "Roxanne," "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic," "King of Pain," "Every Breath You Take," "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da," "Don't Stand So Close to Me," and on and on, they played for almost two hours, making up for almost two decades since they last played together.

Here's an AP shot of their MSG show on Wednesday.

Now, I hadn't been to MSG to see a concert since Aerosmith was there in 1997. It's going to be hard for any band at any time to top this one!

Between the lights and the crowd and (oh, yeah) the music, this show was well worth the six months or so we waited since first getting tickets. I've never felt the ground underneath me actually shake from everyone dancing, but that's exactly what I felt at times last night.

If you've seen the front-row seats we've had for The Goo Goo Dolls and Bo Bice, or even the third-row seats for the upcoming Taylor Hicks show coming to town, our Section 329 viewpoint last night might have seemed far away, but everyone had a good seat last night, just lucky enough to be in the building.

But ... with giant TV screens overhead and the blaring music, no one left the Garden complaining.

If you're headed to Giants Stadium on Sunday for The Police's next show, here's a little preview of what to expect:

It's a little "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" but the quality isn't the best (I shot it with my cell phone) but if you listen closely, you can make out the song. Admittedly, you have to really want to hear it to be able to hear it!

UPDATE: Better video is on the way. Check back later when I get them and post them!