Shortly after Los Alamos National Laboratory director Norris Bradbury helped create the atomic bomb, his music teacher wife unleashed another explosive force upon the world: Phil Brown. (philbrownguitar.com) Almost a half-century later this virtuoso tonemeister, singer, and songwriter is only just coming into the consciousness of guitar fans, let alone the general public.
When Brown’s first record, Cruel Inventions, appeared at the millennium’s turn, the lucky few who heard it were treated to a unique trifecta of Jeff Beck-style whammy work, Bowie-meets-Sinatra-esque vocals, and brilliantly crafted tunes reflecting the artist’s years as a staff writer. “I wanted to get off the road so I spent 1983 to 1988 working for Warner Brothers and A&M Music ,” recalls Brown. To name a few, many diverse artists such as - Cher, Kix, Pat Benatar, MP.TU, [the jimi project], Willie D & Tower of Power, Bonnie Tyler, Doro Pesch, KBC, Ace Freely, Paul Barrere, Fiona, Steve Perry and Kim Carneshave all cut Phil's songs. Former front man for Little Feat (from the "Hoy Hoy" days right after Lowell George's passing) is still at it today.
While putting together the tunes that would become his next release, Imagine This [Apaches from Paris], Brown took a detour, recording a CD of re-imagined Hendrix songs called The Jimi Project. Obvious comparisons to Tony Bennett meets Chet Baker-esque vocals and the exceptional Jeff Beck influence is clearly felt throughout the soundscape. After hearing Cruel Inventions, The Jimi Project and/or Imagine This it is hard to argue with Brown’s process.
Many players achieve awesome sound live, only to lose some of the magic in the studio but Brown’s recorded sound is a tone fanatic’s fantasy. Either on electric or acoustic guitars, Brown belongs in the same club as his heroes, such as Hendrix, Beck, Clapton, Pass, and McLaughlin - players whose sound resides as much in their touch and spirit as in any gear they might select. “I am basically telling my life story when I'm playing guitar,” says Brown.
Finally hitting his stride at 63, he offers encouragement to players who persist long after others would give up. “We are not really playing music, we are making and selling a dream. Time is suspended when we play, and that is why music makes us immortal.” General music lovers will be attracted to an artist with great grooves, great vocals and most important real tunes--a rare enough combination in any genre. There is a feeling of a life lived. Though his sources may be close to the surface, his own personality shines through--something else that is too rare these days. (Michael Ross - Guitar Player Magazine/Pure Music)
Phil Brown's current project is a brand new THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF WRONG