Saturday 19 Apr
 
 

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0

Rachel Brashear — Revolution

Rachel Brashear’s second EP, Revolution, starts with a kick to the shins.
03/18/2014 | Comments 0
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Get your Phil


Once an Oklahoman and a member of Little Feat, guitarist Phil Brown looks to the music of the past to live for today.

Danny Marroquin July 20th, 2011

Phil Brown
7 p.m. Friday
The Blue Door
2805 N. McKinley
bluedoorokc.com, 524-0738
$15 advance, $20 door

Singer and blues guitar virtuoso Phil Brown was classically trained on the violin in his teens. His life as a session man required him to sit in on countless recording sessions. He was behind hits, too, writing songs for Cher and Pat Benatar.

But recently, with his trio atop the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, he played the leader easily. He was reinterpreting Jimi Hendrix’s “If 6 Was 9,” in his usual style: electric guitar and no pick, which he said gives the tune more power.

Two weeks prior, at the Myriad Botanical Gardens’ “Sunday Twilight Concert Series,” Brown finger-picked through Muddy Waters’ “Rollin’ and Tumblin'.” His sense of musical past is always immediate, and he measures himself strictly against them.

“They are called classics because they last longer. They give you something,” Brown said. “That was a time when music directed the way we looked at things. Simon & Garfunkel, Joni Mitchell, The Beatles, the Stones — they are modern-day Mozarts. There’s a feeling epitomized in that kind of music.

But we have the same feelings, in my opinion, we had back then. We all want to be loved, we want to lean back and stand up and go, ‘This is a pretty good way to do it.’”

No matter the venue, there is an undeniable something that people feel when they catch Brown at work. The burly bartenders at Rococo love him, where he plays quieter treatments of Cream and Burt Bacharach songs behind a book of sheet music. The Blue Door’s Greg Johnson booked Brown after meeting him only once. Even local indie upstarts like Dustin Prinz and Black Canyon paid excited respects to his guitar skills when they opened for him.

It’s like what George Plimpton once said about Norman Mailer: “There’s definitely a large field that comes off Norman. Even sitting with him he’s absolutely at his ease, the energy is there, something almost palpable.”

Sitting with Brown, he’s calm, but he’s super-connected and takes you along. One minute, he’s talking about his birthplace in Los Alamos, N.M.: “I’m from a town that destroys people,” he said. There, nuns trained him rigorously in grammar and it built a foundation. He discusses his 26 years of sobriety: “I can either sabotage myself or I save myself.”

All these experiences subtly define his intricately produced new album, “Imagine This,” songs from which can be heard Friday at The Blue Door. Particularly moving is “Blessing in Disguise,” where he comes to the conclusion that “No one knows how the journey will end / We are only here to help someone else find their way back again.”

Having survived the music industry’s trenches, Brown attributes his staying power to a hunger that thrives on accomplishment.

“Whether it’s recognized or not, you do it because it’s inside your gut,” he said. “The music that you play and the life that you live demands a serenity of sorts, an emotional sobriety. You’re not trying to manipulate something.”

 
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