photo Photo: Jason Shea

As 2014 comes to an end, it’s time to look back at the focal points of another productive music year. 2014 was excellent for me as I got to complete some long-held artistic goals, working on my own projects as well as others’. Here’s the highlights:

In January I travelled to Fairbanks, Alaska to record and co-produce a new album with one of Alaska’s favorite bands, The Super Saturated Sugar Strings. This was a new experience for me as it was the first project I had recorded for another band completely on my own. We worked for 10 days in Fairbanks, then completed overdubs thru the spring in Anchorage. The finished product, Heart-Shaped Leaves, was released in June 2014 and was capped with a very memorable album release show. Here is the award winning video (by The Dean Brothers) for the song ‘Haunted’:

Super Saturated Sugar Strings “Haunted” (Official Video) from the Dean Brothers on Vimeo.

In April, I started working on a recording project with Alaskan songwriter Emma Hill and her bandmate Bryan Daste. Although I’ve worked with Emma for many years thru Monolith Agency, this was the first time we had collaborated on an artistic level. The project went seamlessly, and Emma released Denali in October to a multitude of excellent reviews. Below is the amazing video (by Eric Power) for the single ‘Lioness’:

Another project I got to see come to fruition was Jonathan J. Bower‘s album Hope, Alaska. Although we had recorded the album in 2013, it was finally released in October 2014. Congratulations to J-Bow for pushing himslef into new sonic territory with this one. A really fun album to work on:

Although I was really active working with other bands, there had to be some time for my own projects, right? In May, my band Easton Stagger Phillips (Tim Easton, Leeroy Stagger) released our second full length album, Resolution Road. The album was fortunate to receive critical press and significant radio airplay in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

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To cap it off, ESP got together for our first tour of Alaska in over 5 years. We played a handful of awesome house concerts, and a few full band shows that culminated at Salmonstock Music Festival. Big props to Martin Severin, James Glaves, James Dommek Jr, and Megan Palmer for rocking in the band with us.

But my music world wouldn’t be complete without The Whipsaws. We played a lot of great shows this last year, and celebrated our 12th year playing together as a band. I’d say the highlight show of the year was opening for the Alabama Shakes at the new Alaska Airlines Center in October.
20140913_The_Whipsaws_58 Photo: Jason Shea

I’m really looking forward to 2015. In May I’ll be releasing my new solo album tentatively titled Silhouettes. This will be followed by an Alaska tour. Easton Stagger Phillips is planning another Alaska tour in July-August, and The Whipsaws are planning on entering the studio in September to record our 4th full length album. Thanks for the support everyone. Music is the best thing ever!

Greetings friends.

2014 has been a really great year in my music world, and I want to celebrate by putting together a little holiday sale ‘box set’. The collection of tunes includes 4 albums that cover a 10 year span of my career: Evan Phillips Chickaloon (2004), Easton Stagger Phillips One For The Ditch (2009), Evan Phillips Goodnight My Dearest Stranger (2012), and Easton Stagger Phillips Resolution Road (2014). This ‘Box Set’ will be on sale exlusively thru my website until January 1, 2015. Purchase Link Below:

Holiday Box Set

Last summer, I was extremely fortunate to record and co-produce Emma Hill’s new album, Denali (which was officially released November 12). Denali (which was also made with her longtime musical collaborator and producer Bryan Daste) is a collection of 10 folk/ americana songs with a fresh topping of tasteful indie edge. The album is receiving excellent reviews in the U.S. and abroad. No Depression states, “This is living, breathing, vital work, and a must have for anyone who loves music created by people, not machines.”

Today, CMT Edge is premiering Emma’s new video for the single, ‘Lioness’. The video is a shadow animation by the extremely talented Eric Power from Austin, TX. Check it out below:

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JJB_Album_Cover Over the course of 2013 and the spring of 2014 I was fortunate to record and co-produce Jonathan J. Bower‘s new album, Hope, Alaska. The batch of 10 songs starts off where his 2012 effort, But So Beautiful, left off. Only this time, J-Bow (as we affectionally call him) wanted to push himself artistically and explore new musical territory. I couldn’t have been happier with his decision.

Stand out tracks include ‘Nina Simone’, ‘Joan Didion’, and the title track, ‘Hope, AK’. In addition to the tracks Jonathan and I laid down, the album also features the talents of Alaska’s finest musicians including: Andy Tholberg, James Glaves, Martin Severin, Kat Moore, Aaron Benolkin. Bryan Daste (Portland, OR) also contributed some amazing pedal steel guitar.

The album was mixed by James Glaves and was mastered by Nashville, TN producer and recording engineer Patrick Damphier.

Hope, Alaska will be officially released on October 24, 2014.

esp overseas

In 2008, following the release of their debut album, One For The Ditch, Easton Stagger Phillips embarked on a European Tour. In order to maximize creativity during their time together, Easton brought along his portable recording studio-AKA a laptop and a Mojave microphone-and began recording the songs and White Album-esque snippets that were intended to be the bedrock for a second album.

Each member of ESP had new songs on deck and there was one -”The Road”- that was the trio’s first co-write (having been composed backstage at Paradiso in Amsterdam). Recording sessions were done wherever and whenever the band found time and space – a frigid sitting room in Dublin, a laundry room and apartment right on the Damrak in Amsterdam, a friend’s basement in Germany, and a hippodrome in southern Holland.

After the tour, Easton took the rough mixes to his studio in Joshua Tree where he added a few flourishes, built a few more sound collages, and sequenced a project he called Overseas. Soon thereafter, Phillips began physical therapy for a climbing injury and the boys put everything on hold. When the band re-surfaced 5 years later to make Resolution Road, they decided to start from scratch.

With the successful release of Resolution Road behind them, ESP would like to offer up this batch of tunes that defined a special and nostalgic time for the three friends and songwriters.

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Photo: Carly Garay

I’ve produced a variety of records with different bands over the last few years. Every project I work on is distinctive and unique in some way, but my favorite part is that I get a firsthand glimpse of a bands inner-workings and dynamics. I get to see (and help capture) the good, bad, and ugly. And sometimes, if I’m really lucky, I get to be a part of something very special. This has been my experience working with The Super Saturated Sugar Stings .

In January 2014, we drove to Fairbanks and spent 10 days recording a new album. We immersed ourselves and worked long hours in the dead of the Alaskan winter. My good friends Tim and Karen Foote graciously provided their amazing ‘Roundhouse’ where we worked, lived, and cooked. It was exciting to be creating with the band again, and I really appreciated SSSS’s motivation and willingness to push themselves into a newer artistic direction.

Over the spring we continued working on the album in Anchorage, and enlisted the help of other Alaskan musicians including Kevin Worrell (upright bass) and Logan Bean (trumpet). In April the band finished overdubs, and we handed the tracks over to Anchorage-based mixing engineer James Glaves. Finally, the freshly mixed tracks were sent out to be mastered by Patrick Damphier (Nashville, TN).

The new album, Heart Shaped Leaves, is an emotional and heartfelt journey with a band that clearly wants to take listeners down a sonic rabbit hole. Theatrical, sorrowful, vivid, enchanting. These are some of the words that come to mind when losing myself in the band’s music. I suppose my feelings and imagination are aided by the fact that I was fortunate enough to be there when it all went down.

I once asked a famous songwriter what the trick to good songwriting is. He replied simply, “Just tell the truth”. I’ve also heard that the best artists are the one’s who constantly redefine themselves. I believe the Super Saturated Sugar Strings have accomplished both of these things, and in doing so made an album they’ll always remember and be proud of. – E.P.

Join SSSS to celebrate the release of Heart Shaped Leaves at Taproot, Saturday June 28. Early show 7-9pm Late show 10pm-1am. Tickets available HERE.

American Songwriter Magazine had some kind words about our new album saying, “With echoes of the sepia-toned late ’60s, early ’70s singer-songwriter sounds of Simon & Garfunkel, Crosby, Stills & Nash and Jackson Browne and as well as the newer folk-rock of Dawes, Resolution Road may surprise you as one of the year’s best roots albums.” Read the full story here.

They also premiered our new video for Easton’s catchy number, ‘So Much In Tune’ (Below). Evan Phillips filmed, produced, and edited this fun piece on a sunny weekend in Anchorage a few weeks ago. The video stars Alaskan songwriter and artists Sophia Street, as well as a number of other local characters including the bands mixing engineer James Glaves, and americana folk singer Emma Hill.

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