Evan Phillips (from the album Cabin Vibes Volume One)
The tempos and volume may be toned down, but emotion rings just as loud from the songs Alaska musician Evan Phillips has written and recorded since his time in rock band The Whipsaws. Southern-rock, alternative country, and cow-punk may have all taken center stage at a Whipsaws show, but they were also a quartet with its share of heartbreak ballads and an ability to slow things down for the sake of the exploration of the song; feedback and Marshall stack or not, Phillips has always been a champion of the tune. Cabin Vibes Volume One is another ripe for the picking work revealing that Alaska also has its share of people making great music, and proves Phillips is gaining more deserved ground as one of the great current indie-folkies, a songwriter crafting subtle rock songs that may lean to country or pop, yet also not afraid of some studio and instrument experimentation; he’s certainly more than a dude with a guitar.
Album opener “Close to Me” starts with a few blips melting into steady drums and ambient pedal steel. It’s a dreamy highway song that quickly moves from singer-songwriter territory to a world of psychedelic folk. “I Come Alive” sounds as if Phillips has done some Kurt Vile homework while drawing on the music of 1970’s Laurel Canyon. Spacey pedal steel and piano kick off “Old Dirt Road,” instrumentally pulling from a western-noir score, and a lyrical nod to a favorite place to drive. Phillips falls somewhere between straight-shooter storyteller and ambiguous poet; musically its subtle and beautiful. Lyrically, Cabin Vibe Volume One is an album whose characters say a lot yet leave their stories to the imagination of the listener. By Bryant Liggett
Listen and buy the music of Evan Phillips from AMAZON