“a force to be reckoned with… sublime” – New York Times


Impresario and promoter Bill Graham called Phillips “The best-kept secret in the music business”. Shawn taught Joni Mitchell her first guitar techniques and gave George Harrison of the Beatles his first sitar lessons (having himself spent time with Ravi Shankar). He wrote the music to Donovan’s “Season Of The Witch” and has played with many of the finest musicians in the world including Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood.

Shawn Phillips is one of the most fascinating and enigmatic musicians to come out of the early 1970s singer/songwriter boom. The mere fact that he is a virtuoso musician as much as a singer and songwriter allowed him to stand out and attract a dedicated following. His refusal to pigeonhole his music — which seamlessly melds folk, rock, jazz, funk, progressive, pop, electro, classical, and global folk traditions — to meet anyone else’s expectations allowed him to retain his cult following without ever achieving the stardom that his talent seemed to merit. 

Though Phillips began recording in the mid-’60s (and worked on Donovan’s records from the period), it was his virtually unclassifiable run of 1970s albums that established his reputation for boundless, nearly peerless creativity and virtuosity. Phillips was a musical shapeshifter. His work as a virtuoso 12-string guitarist combined with his four-octave vocal range fascinated and confounded some critics, but resonated with listeners. Phillips has always been able to get exactly what he needed from virtually any instrument he played and from his recordings and on-stage collaborators. 

Writers lavished praise on Phillips for his unusual lyrics, haunting melodies, daunting musicianship, and the ambition of his records. He was a complete enigma, sliding between jazz, folk, pop, and classical sounds — it was nothing for Phillips to segue from a progressive-style mood song with a 50-piece orchestra into an R&B-based number driven by his electric guitar, and back again.

Recommended for Fans of Tim Buckley, Van Morrison, Nick Drake and Donovan 

Learn More: http://www.shawnphillips.com/


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