Friday, August 9, 2019 at 7:00 PM at Naked Soul at The Rubin Museum of Art
“I’m drawing on the urgency of the moment,” reflects Grant-Lee Phillips. “The things that eat away in the late hours.”
That urgency inspired the headlong rush of Widdershins, Grant-Lee Phillips’s most recent album, in which he invests the insight, nuance, and wit that has distinguished his songcraft over the past three decades in a riveting dissection of today’s fraught social landscape. Beneath the moment’s tumultuous veneer, Phillips uncovers resonances spanning centuries—patterns echoing from the present day to the distant past. The album’s 12 tracks were cut largely live in the studio with the sharp trio of Phillips (guitar, vocals, keyboards), Jerry Roe (drums), and Lex Price (bass) serving as messengers. Says Phillips, “This moment is explosive, volatile, and heightened. It’s important to me that the music reflect that.”
By turns sardonic, provocative, and illuminating, Widdershins(produced by Phillips and mixed by Tucker Martine) delivers its poetic truths through Phillips’s peerless melodic sensibilities, carefully balancing intensity and vulnerability. A seasoned songwriter and performer with more than two decades of experience, first as frontman of the acclaimed Grant Lee Buffalo then as an accomplished solo artist, Phillips awakens comfort and hope by shining light into darker corners. “I hope to express my faith in people, my faith in the good ideas we’re capable of, and that regardless of what opposition we face, the fact that we can surmount these things,” he concludes. “We can stare them down, laugh at them, belittle them, and drive the darkness back into a hole.”
About Naked Soul
Naked Soul presents performances from some of the country’s top singer/songwriters without microphones or amplifiers, as if the music were, acoustically speaking, naked. The musicians in the series draw upon the universal themes inherent in Himalayan art—spirituality, peace, tolerance, wisdom, compassion—on select Friday evenings.