by Mike Greenhaus
Taylor Hicks is no stranger to the jamband scene. Long before he won American Idol in 2006, the 34-year-old singer/guitarist/harmonica player spent years honing his own brand of classic rock-influenced soul music on the Southeast club-circuit. An outspoken fan of jamband music, Hicks once moonlighted in a Widespread Panic cover band and was even a paid passenger on Jam Cruise in 2004—two years beforeAmerican Idol changed his life forever. Since his Idol victory, Hicks has actively tried to regain his reputation as both a high energy performer and a musician, in part through onstage collaborations with the likes of Widespread Panic, the Allman Brothers Band, Robert Randolph, Karl Denson, ekoostik hookah, Ivan Neville and many others.
Earlier this month Hicks returned to Jam Cruise as an official performer—and quickly made his presence known throughout the ship through sit ins with the likes of Widespread Panic’s JoJo Hermann, the Everyone Orchestra, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, George Porter Jr. and Maceo Parker, among others. While onboard, Hicks also sat down with Janbands.com to discuss his live music roots, recent stint with the traveling musical Grease and how Willie Nelson changed his fashion sense forever.