After a while in 2008 the singer pleased his supporters with news about creating new tracks, which were united in Early Works album. It was a compilation album released by Modern Whomp. Officially released on CD late in 2008, long after his American Idol spotlight dimmed so dark he lost his major-label contract, Early Works reveals that Taylor Hicks was always a working musician, a no-fuss journeyman that cranked out soulful rock & roll, the kind that always sounds pretty good in a beer ad. That isn't much of a surprise: his Idol performances and post-Idolalbum suggested that he could always crank songs like "Soul Thing" and the softer "The Deal," a Bob Seger-styled midtempo number that surfaced on his major-label effort and is here in an early incarnation that isn't that much different. What's surprising about Early Works is its strain of sweet, folky singer/songwriter pop, halfway between Van Morrison and Stephen Stills. Most of the record is in this vein - possibly because it's a sound that's easier to market than the soul-rock that made his name - and while it's just as classic rock in its own way as the barroom blues boogie that brought him fame, it does suggest a depth not quite heard in his Idol-era performances. It's still journeyman stuff - music marked by its dogged devotion not divine spark - but it's well-done, heartfelt and endearing, sounding like the work of a local boy made good.