Taylor Hicks travels a distance

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Photo by Shelley Lehner, Shelley's Signature Photography, LLC

By David Hinckley

Taylor Hicks knows his fans have been waiting a while for his next new record. Like a decade, since 2009’s “The Distance.”

Be patient, he says.

“I’ve been working on the new record for a while,” says Hicks, who in 2006 won the most-watched season in the history of “American Idol.” “I’ve taken my time, which is a good thing and a bad thing. But there’s a difference between new music and the right music.”

Fans can get a taste of what he hopes will be both on Oct. 11, when Hicks takes his show to My Father’s Place in Roslyn. He’ll be playing some new songs in addition to favorites from his self-titled 2006 debut album and his run on “Idol.”

It’s part of “an intimate tour,” he says, “that’s a preview for a bigger tour” – marking his return to the road after several detours.

He played The Teen Angel in “Grease” on Broadway and then joined its national tour. He did a residency at Bally’s in Las Vegas. He hosts the food show “State Plate” for the INSP TV Network and earlier this year starred as Charlie Anderson in a Serenbe (Georgia) Playhouse production of “Shenandoah.”

He admits he couldn’t have mapped out this path when he became the oldest “Idol” winner, at the age of 29. That’s not a complaint.

“Most show business careers are like most NFL careers,” he says. “Short. I’ve been in it for 14 years. And I’ve loved every minute of it.”

He appreciated it even more, he adds, “because I was a 10-year overnight success. I’d been playing music for a long time before ‘Idol.’ I was playing places with one microphone, a tiny little PA, one speaker. It didn’t really matter where the gig was. I was making music.”

Then came “Idol.” “And suddenly 30 million people were watching. I was singing to the world.”

His competition on “Idol,” unknown then, sounds mighty impressive today. It included Katherine McPhee, Kellie Pickler and Daughtry.

“We all knew it was a perfect storm season,” he says. “There’s still a real bond among us.”

Photo by Derrek Kupish (dkupishproductions)

What helped Hicks win, though, didn’t necessarily help his recording career. His music blended R&B, soul, country, blues and classic rock, while the music industry prefers nice marketable boxes.

“It’s the Willie Nelson effect,” he says. “You can’t pigeonhole Willie. You try to write music that says who you are as an artist, and sometimes placing your career with an A&R department can eat at your soul a little bit.

“I want people to hear a Taylor Hicks record as my artistic expression. Sometimes there’s music and then there’s the music business.”

On stage, that’s not an issue. “I can do all the different things there,” he says. “I think people are pleasantly surprised.”

Taylor turns 43 on the Monday before the My Father’s Place show, and he says his future will continue to hold both singing and related activities.

“I can see myself managing other artists,” he says. “I’ve done everything, so there’s no reason I can’t apply that knowledge to somebody else.”

(Taylor Hicks and Paul Loren at My Father’s Place, 1221 Old Northern Road, Roslyn, Oct. 11 at 8 p.m. Tickets:

www.myfathersplace.com. Call 516-413-3535.)

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