Canadian arts and entertainment magazine
Written by Rachel Packota
“The sidewalk is my band.” At least, that’s what I think he said. But honestly, who cares. Let’s just keep dancing!
Two amazing notes on the production of “Live at Baker Studios”: 1) It was recorded in its entirety in only nine (9) hours (followed by a mere twelve hours of mixing that did NOT include any dubs or loops); and 2) Philip played every – EVERY! – instrument on the album – approximately nine in total – including, but not limited to, lap steel guitar, acoustic and electric 6-string guitars, didgeridoo and the aslatua.
“Live at Baker Studios” is essentially one man’s vision and solo execution, and that is likely the reason for the near-hypnotic experience of it. Philip knows exactly when, where, and how to include every beat, every shake, every clap, stomp or shout.
Folk, reggae, blues and tribal sounds mix inside his brain, then flow into his vocal chords and fingertips before exploding into the ether, wildly persuasive, intangibly relentless, and dancing with affirmation and excitement. It pulses and sweeps with a vitality perceptible across generations. It’s no wonder he found such popularity at Kensington Market’s outdoor summer street festival, Pedestrian Sunday.
Between the energy of such tracks as “How Could You Know” or the foot-stomper “Stranded”, there are some songs that “drip melodically with honey and sunshine” (from the shanephilips.com biography) filled with reflections on nature and community. Really, though, I don’t care in what order he plays his songs as long as he keeps playing.