Musician Makes His Lyrics Heard (click below)
Musician Makes His Lyrics Heard (click below)
putting this up on the website so people, like my grandmother, can google ‘K Phillips Music’ and see the videos…
So I used to play keys for a very well known singer-songwriter/guitar slinger. It was my first real, “drive-around-in-a-van-and-play-for-a-bunch-of-people” gig. It was the first time I didn’t have to rehearse, I was sent the record by his management and my tryout was the gig. I had only been playing keys at the time for a year, but I had fallen in love with the piano and the organ. When I first started playing I practiced 8 hours a day for the first year. I would go into the tiny practice rooms at TLU and sit at a donated parlor piano. There I was at the helm of my very own time machine. I would put my Ipod on and dissect Floyd Cramer’s “Last Date” or Ray Charles’ two versions of “Georgia” or Norah Jones’ version of Gram Parsons’ “SHE”. Norah plays PERFECT, she is a technique ninja. In fact, I spent as much time unlearning my own “Eagle-Claw” technique as I did learning her Jedi inversions & fingerings.
Anywho, I had a week to learn the album. I was not a good “learn by ear person” so my buddy and musical mad-scientist friend, David Haug, came over and dissected the record with me. David can hear a pin drop and tell you what note it is. So together we had determination and know how. Dave would take one listen and play the piano/organ part exactly as it was on the record.
I learned the record verbatim.
I played the record verbatim.
I got the gig.
We went on the road.
We listened to so much great Blues, R&B, Soul and Country-Blues which was weird because we were playing pretty cookie-cutter TX Country bills, although the album and the artist were/are anything but cookie-cutter. In fact this particular artist is about as good as they get. I see him becoming a legend, joining the ranks of Stephen Bruton and Delbert McClinton.
One extremely hung over morning, we were in the van, driving from the Armadillo Palace to Woody’s Tavern. We were listening to some real old-school R&B and Soul, when the artist say’s “Someday I’d like to do that, just get a soul band, with backup singers and horns and wrap the mic cable around my hand and just ‘Delbert it up’” I said “Why don’t you do that!? People would love it! …and nobody is doing that!”
He dismissed the idea.Maybe because there is no money in it. Perhaps it’s because there is not a strong market for a country soul band in Texas. All I know is, he would be setting himself apart from the ‘dime-a-dozen’ Tx Country artists AND doing something that not many people in the area, could pull off. He would have the market cornered. A little publicity and a few fans and maybe he could name his price and play when he wanted. Maybe he could even play for people who are there to hear the music AND drink beer. Yes, in that order. I’m not saying, he’s not happy doin’ what he loves. I’m sure he is. But is he doing EXACTLY what he wants?
I know, that I am still young, and possibly, dumb enough to play the exact kind of undefined music I want to play.
I am foolish enough to put on the exact kind of show I want to put on. I am honest enough to write exactly what I want to write.
I don’t know how my life is going to work out, but I do know, I’m going to do exactly what I am passionate about, and nothing less.
I could follow in the footsteps of the monetarily successful bands, and play music people are familiar with. But why would I be a follower? I am an artist. That’s what cover bands are for.
I’ll see you at the show.
p.s. I love Texas. I love Country music. Both, with my whole heart. If it wasn’t for these two things I wouldn’t be playing music for a living. Texas music was made great by those, not afraid to be different. I know you’ve heard Willie, now go listen to Lightning Hopkins, Roy Orbison,The 13th Floor Elevators, ZZ Top, Sir Douglas Quintet, Pantera, Explosions in the Sky, Okkervill River, T-Bird & the Breaks and Little Brave. Make something that is unmistakably yours.
p.p.s. I know someone is ready to fight after scanning this blog and picking out the words Texas AND Country. I ain’t talkin’ mess, so don’t take my words out of context, Hoss. I just want to let everyone know, that it’s OK to actually follow your heart, not just sorta follow your heart. If you are still angry/confused, I know who you are, and studies have shown that this will calm you down CLICK HERE
Once my coffee hit
and my pill kicked in
I set the cruise
and I told you,
is only seen
Everyone you love
and those that love you
will say goodbye
less like a tv show
more like a radio station
On a Rolling
one lane highway,
past Death Valley
before Las Vegas.
The FM moans,
No Guitar Staggers,
No Dobro Dances,
Just the bygone hiss & pop
as an old cowboy laments,
with her proud
His way is older
his words amass
off the canyon walls
shading not enough
of this desert road
when I grow old
If I live that long
I’ll tell people I made a record
out of black eyes and wanton nights
That I have a dark-haired gf
whose saltless sea
my murderous islands
washing me home
to my orphan brothers,
of this rock vs tank fight
as I gather
in the rubble
of Hiram King Williams Church
I WAKE UP
AND I CAST MY TROUBLES UPON A BLANK PAGE w/
COFFEE AND TOAST.
THE BODY AND THE BLOOD.
I CAN CONFESS ANYTHING,
AND LAY MY BURDENS DOWN.
LIKE THE FACT I’VE JUST SPIT AT LEAST
3 CLICHES OUT, UPON THIS PAGE.
HAIL MARY, FULL OF PROSE, GRACEFUL phrase turn-er,
of OUR SAVIOUR,
INFLUENCED BY THE FATHER, COMPARED TO THE HOLY GHOST,
BUT HAVING A STYLE ALL HIS OWN,
I call upon Thee to help me be orginal and deliver me
from evil pandering.
Though they didn’t understand you, in your time,
and although you could heal the lonely lepers
and those newly single,
you could also play parties and weddings,
never taking request,
but doing one better.
Pontius Pilate was a critic, and worse,
a music blogger.
He said “I don’t get it, this whole ‘Savior’ thing,”
“it’s just not that good ole’ swillin’ wine,
praying to a golden statue kinda thing.
I need something I can sacrifice to!”
And all the people cheered along.
They killed Jesus Christ, the finest folk singer of his time.
He could heal you, he could get you drunk, he could show you something,
if you wanted to see.
But they killed him, those who wouldn’t believe.
They had their minds made up,
He said this is a song I learned from my father, from his
“in the beginning” e.p.
The masses didn’t get it, and though he was truly miraculous,
he still had to have a daytime job.
It wasn’t cool to like Jesus Christ, in his time,
In fact it was kinda like suicide.
He didn’t have many fans.
He didn’t move any merch.
But he had like 12 serious followers,
And even that number varied.
He put out so many great albums,
He inspired so many other great writers.
Where would Mathew, Mark, Luke & John be
if not for JC?
Classics like Eli Eli Lama Sabachthani, that’s
But no one got it
and by the time
“Roll Away the Stone” came out,
JC had already moved on.
But Christ is working on a new album.
He’s re-imagining himself,
to a new generation.
This one is for the fans,
but more for the critics.
He’s got Rick Ruben producing,
cause Rick knows what really
We’re coming to your town, we’re gonna burn it down, we’re … y’know…
She used to look after me, at the Rio Concho Manor Tower. Her and great moved in when I was 3 and she had the apartment to herself by kindergarten. My mom would go to work at whatever temp agency gig she had that week and I’d spend the time watching Gigi ride her stationary bike. I’d pretend her dolls were gi joes. It’s never quite as good. She would make me sleep in her twin sized bed, overgrown with dolls and throw pillows and knitted blankets. She would sleep on the love seat which she could lay on completely stretched out with room to spare, mainly for more dolls and pillows with bible scripture stitched in. She would wake me up earlier than I even knew people woke up. She would be completely dressed in a different color pant suit, with a different animal or Jesus shaped broach, all usually with ruby rhinestones. We’d have toast and lactose-intolerant milk (in the purple carton) and she would pop out her vitamins for that particular day from her special “mtwthfss” vitamin holder. She’d cut my nails with scissors and part my hair down the middle.
After lunch we’d play Chinese checkers or stack dominoes into houses. We might ride the elevator down to the lobby and she would say hello and introduce me to Hortense and Esera, and the front desk lady or the two widows who never looked up from the 1000 piece landscape puzzle of the week. The women worked tirelessly. The puzzle was always either a babbling brook, a purple mountain, or a cowboy crossing the panhandle plains riding a black horse and leading a paint, in a treacherous lightning storm.
At night we would watch gigi’s programs which was 3 hours of different business suited men with wireless microphones, pronouncing how great He was, using vocal dynamics to drive their speech home. They’d start off “Nah, Bruthers and sisturs of Chrast” in a normal, office meeting voice. Then they’d introduce the story of Bathsheeba or Sodom and Gomorrah or Grimace or Golom. Finally they’d invite “The GOSPEL TONESMEN” or the “OAKRIDGE BOYS” or any other group of 4 or five middle-aged white dudes, in suits and wireless mics to sing one for Jesus. During this time there would be an address, something like 134 Glory ln. followed by a 1800 number on the bottom of the screen, where you could call in and pay Jesus back for rescuing you from a fiery plantation. You could even pay by check.
I dreaded watching these programs, and I would pass the time by hiding from Gigi and screaming, what I thought were bad words at her, NEVER to be mean, but because she couldn’t hear me, and their was nothing more exhilarating than screaming “Booger-dodo-caca head” at an adult, when you may or may not be heard. It was words-I’m-not-supposed-to-say roulette.
After her programs and before bedtime, which was about 6:45 pm, Gigi’d sit me down next to her mammoth church organ She’d begin to sing and play from yellowed sheet music “how great though art” “amazing grace” or the crowd pleaser “this little light of mine”. She put on a tent revival with the ringing of her hearing aids droning along with me and her 87 years of truth. I was hell on wheels till she fired up that console organ. The sound of those simple but soul-twisting melodies over rhythms that swung, like a chariot, grabbed me harder than any feeling before it.
When she sang:
“When Christ shall come, With shouts of acclamation and take me home, What joy shall fill my heart!”
She SANG it. She meant ever word. She sang it as if she had Pontius Pilate’s gun to her head.
I didn’t know then that music would become my life. I didn’t know at 5, that someday I would go to great lengths, to lay my head and my heart across the tracks of a slow moving train, while commuters, concerned or unimpressed, wait to compare what’s inside, or curse the train for making them late.
I didn’t know at 5 that someday I would have to realize it’s not for them its for me.
All I knew at 5 is all I believe now. The truth is inside you. If you want to let it out, do so.
I do it because I have to. In the end, it’s just me, at home, singing what I believe, to God and whoever cares to sing with me.
Happy Saturday Everyone,
Just a reminder that tonight is your night. No matter what you are doing. This life is excellent. Have a beer. Shake a leg. Buy somebody flowers. Buy a beer for your buddies. Pawn your T.V. if you ain’t got the money. You don’t need nothing to have a good time. Get fired up. Glory Glory Hallelujah, you’re alive and the sun is shining down. Stretch yer fingers up to the sky and repeat after me “I feel EXXXXXXXXXCELLLLEEENT!” Maybe I write this more for me than you, but isn’t that the way it should be?
Rock and roll may not be dead, but the rocknrolla is, which is why I am blogging at 8:48 this morning. Instead of trying to freebase Elmer’s glue or find new ways to wear women’s clothes, I went for a bike ride. The River Town is still half-asleep at 6:15 and I have the streets to myself. I rode around downtown, checking out the new cheese shop, then the Red Rooster Inn, then Taco A-something, then finally stopping at Naglin’s for 2 Kolaches, a coffee, a bottle of water and then later cheese pocket. I know I am going to order these things. I know it’s morning. I have interacted with other human beings before, but when the young girl with the apron ask me what I want, I set modern communication back to the twilight of civilization. Instead of speaking like I’ve had 20 years of schooling, (which was mostly out of convenience), I say …. hello… I would like kolaches, please… Oh well, I point, I grunt, I slam my fists on the counter and put my change in the plastic box. I eat everything but 1 Jalapeno Cheese flavored, which I try to save by placing in my rear bike rack, which has a spring arm to hold things down. This only crushes my kolache. (ahh life, to crush the things you try to save)…this brings me to the days of the Rock and Roll Star, who didn’t have to twitter or blog or book his own shows. Well, Brett Michaels, you got away with it.