Taylor Hicks Is Back in Bama

Kick off summer with Taylor Hicks at the place where it all began: the Flora-Bama.

As kids enjoy the beginning of summer break and warm days stretch longer, Taylor Hicks can be found migrating south on I-65 to hit the Alabama beaches. Born and raised in Birmingham, Hicks grew up coming to the coast, spending time in Gulf Shores, Dauphin Island and more. “I was known to haunt Judge Roy Beans, obviously the Flora-Bama and all of those spots in between,” he says. Time near the water in his childhood is now a capsule of inspiration for his music career, with the Flora-Bama being an origin spot of his success. “I don’t forget about my roots,” Hicks says. “One of my first gigs was playing the 11 a.m. slot on the main stage of the Flora-Bama back in, shoot, late-to-early 90s when I was about eighteen. I think I had grey hair even back then, so I could actually slide into the bar and play,” he laughs.

Hicks has come a long way since then, most famously going on to win the 2006 season of American Idol, but coming home to where it all started is a mainstay in his touring schedule. His Flora-Bama show on June 15 marks another year of his annual Back to the Bama Bash, which first began about eight years ago. “It’s kinda a tradition for me to go back to the ‘Bama,” he says. “I know how to put a set together for that place.” He’s excited to mix in new music, including his 2023 singles “Porch Swing” and “Teach Me to Dance.” Hicks released the latter last June in conjunction with his Grand Ole Opry debut. He contentedly recounts an anecdote of a friend hearing “Teach Me to Dance” being played from a balcony overlooking a wedding on the beach. Hicks equates songwriting to telling a story, and with regards to new music, “you never know where a story can go.”

Hicks’ career is proof that a story can go in several directions. In addition to his music, he has a lot of pride in the restaurant he and Mike Wilson created in Birmingham. SAW’s BBQ is what Hicks describes as a “rockin’ good time,” welcoming a blend of live music and a down-to-earth feel that “makes people happy.” “There are a lot of similarities between food and music,” Hicks explains. “When you play the right song or people eat the right dish, it’s like instant gratification.”

Whether it’s a new dish or a hit single, Hicks has always worked for the people who make Alabama feel like home. “What I love about the South,” Hicks admits is, “the nicety of the people, the food, how prideful people are, how caring.” When has a break from the stage on the Gulf Coast, Hicks enjoys time by the beach and traveling to Mobile to visit friends. “When I go to Mobile the first thing I do is I go eat at Grace on Dauphin,” says Hicks. “And I’ve been known to sit in at The Brickyard a few times. Noell Broughton is a good friend of mine. He and I have been buddies going on three decades now.” His family and friends living in Gulf Shores are coming out to support him at his upcoming show at the Flora-Bama in a signature come-one, come-all atmosphere. “I always like to go back and pay homage to the bar that gave me my start,” he says.

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Taylor Hicks Back to Bama Bash

June 15, 4 p.m.


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