This is an album that captures moods that can be delicate, fleeting and definitely ethereal and distils them gently so that a purity of musical notes ebbs and flows so you can travel on the musical journey David Philips takes you on If I had Wings. David, from the U.K but living in Spain is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and vocalists who combines his immense talents to produce work that connects with your inner musical being on so many planes. His guitar playing has a tone of warmth a joining together of wire and wood in harmony as he uses the percussive quality of the instrument to underline the lyrics with style. There is a curtailed stripped back approach that leaves nothing unsaid. The second track in you are hooked into the tonal shape of the music and the theme that gently runs through many tracks on If I Had Wings, a spiritual shape with Angel. His abilities are showcased throughout the album giving a vast array of tonal textures and lyrics that just beguile with his acoustic guitar and his voice turning the lyrical poem of Hummingbird into a musical tapestry that makes you cry as he sings “Will a butterfly fly if its wings are wet, will a hummingbird hum if caught in a net…” but leaves you with that tantalizing glance of hope. The following track with its drum intro adds some intensity and urgency to the track Quiet due to the change of approach of the guitar beat that hints at a psychedelic world that spins and turns, the track again has a “not of this world and time” feel about it. That Dirty Road has a harder edge to the acoustic guitar demonstrating this is an album that will just keep surprising you as it refuses to be as singer/songwriter album loosely defined as Folk; we have jazz, Americana who cares what the influences are the whole sound is spiritual, thoughtful and keeps you entranced with the stylish lyrics.
Ending the album with the longest and followed by the shortest David, keeps you listening; Venomous Soul is over twelve minutes long and is a narrative that unfurls itself with a yearning tone to the voice and guitar that just wants to keep this poetry in a musical form. We have the inclusion of saxophone and is not a conforming track which, like much of the album, demonstrates David Phillips ability and willingness to experiment and shape things up so we can cut ties with convention and let the magnificent music flow through and touch our hearts. Above all this is a track of ambitious proportions that the guitar will capture your attention as the strings are manipulated and contorted into the shape that suits the moment. The tempo changes about half way through as it seems the track is ending then the guitar continues at a slow measured tempo and it works, never a note too long or a chord to many, Venomous Soul is full of understated power and control.
The final track of this superbly produced and carefully thought out album is a tender jazz infused three minutes of What Will I Do Without You. If I Had Wings is an album that will remain timeless, one to re-visit and you will catch a phrasing style you haven’t noticed before that hint of Pink Floyd, twist of Zeppelin and styles that can trap a musician David Phillips has a pair of musical wings and wound them all at different times to share with us his musical thoughts.
David Philips’ current album that doesn’t need to be defined by any musical box it is purely exquisite music, beautiful lyrics that touches emotions on so many levels.
Bluesdoodles gives this CD TEN doodle paws out of TEN ….