“American Idol” winner Taylor Hicks has sustained his career not only through concerts, such as the one he performs Sunday, Dec. 4, at Cache Creek, but also through TV.
He hosts a series on Inspire Television (INSP) called “State Plates,” in which he travels around the country talking about and tasting foods most associated with a state. He goes to the farms and other sources where the food is grown or raised.
It seems a congenial enough role for Hicks, who won Season 5 of “American Idol” with his R&B and country. Three weeks after the finale, his first single, “Do I Make You Proud,” debuted at No. 1. His self-titled album followed quickly and bowed at No. 2. He went on the road with stars as diverse as Gladys Knight and Snoop Dogg. He wrote his autobiography, perhaps a bit early, “Heart Full of Soul.” And he even appeared as Teen Angel in “Grease” on Broadway and on tour.
His contract a few years ago with Caesars Entertainment and his appearances at casinos around the country have brought him a long way from Flora-Bama, a club located where its name implies, where he got his beginning as a performer, sharing the audience with the International Mullet Toss, people both drunk and sober attempting to throw a fish as far as they can. Not bad training for appearing before some casino audiences. (5 p.m.; $20 or free with club card; cachecreek.com)
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Even though the pre-Christmas season is slow for resorts, especially without a major snowstorm in the Tahoe region to generate much activity on the ski slopes, there are few shows available in the coming week.
The Grand Sierra brings the region’s first “Nutcracker” to its giant stage Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 3-4. (2 p.m.; $27-$55; grandsierraresort.com)
Sandwiched between the performances of that little bit of wonderful Christmas whimsy on Sunday, Dec. 4, is its direct opposite: Lewis Black with his new show, “The Emperor’s New Clothes: The Naked Truth Tour.” That’s tempting bait for fans of his masterfully controlled and equal-opportunity rants. (9 p.m.; $42-$69)
Jackson Rancheria brings in “Hot August Night: A Tribute to Neil Diamond” Saturday, Dec. 3, with vocals by Dean Colley who, unlike those who lead other Diamond tribute bands, likes to dress like his hero as well as sound like him. (7 p.m.; $15; jacksoncasino.com)