Following a one-off Los Angeles-area show at McCabe’s Guitar Shop and a 14-city European tour in April, critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Grant-Lee Phillips will embark on a West Coast run in May with stops in Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, among others. Full list of dates is below.
Garnering early praise from MOJO, Uncut, and the Record Collector for The Narrows, his eighth solo release out March 18 on Yep Roc Records, his self-directed and edited video for the track “Cry Cry” can be viewed below.
Produced by Phillips (guitar/vocals) and recorded as a trio with Jerry Roe (drums) and Lex Price (electric and upright bass), The Narrows was recorded at Dan Auerbach’s Easy Eye Studio in Nashville. The 13-song set is Phillips’ first since his move from Los Angeles, his home of some 30 years, to Music City in 2013.
Of the video, Phillips says, “The video for ‘Cry Cry’ was shot on one fortuitous afternoon in the midst of a winter storm. My wife and I were in agreement that if we were to produce a video for this song, it would have to support the lyrical and emotional tone. It couldn’t be too on the nose but it couldn’t undo the potency of the words either. This is the most challenging thing about music videos.
“The pictures are the first things that hit you and in this way they can easily dominate the entire experience of simply taking in the song. ‘Cry Cry,’ in a gestural way, is attempting to touch upon the Trail Of Tears. It’s the kind of story that’s too big to tell in a song. Hopefully it sparks a desire to dig deeper into this tragic chapter in our history though. The Removal of the Cherokee, Muskogee, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Seminole began in the brutally harsh winter of 1832. ‘In the winter when the streams are frozen…’ as the lyric goes. This seemed essential to film in winter. As it happened, one of the biggest snowstorms in recent years hit in January of 2016.
“As a result, I cancelled a few dates and found myself off the road in Nashville. Seizing upon this opportunity, my wife and I traipsed into the snowy woods near our home with a Nikon D3200. Shooting with an 85 mm Petzval lens brought out the surreal quality of the forest in winter. It’s a very simple video. Denise Siegel-Phillips, my wife, shot the footage of me and when her toes were about frozen off, I went back for a few more details. We acquired additional aerial footage to convey a sense of place and I edited it all with Adobe editing software. There’s something meaningful in producing the video ourselves. It feels like a natural outgrowth of the songwriting – just another kind of poetry.”
A singer, songwriter, guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, actor, film composer and visual artist, Phillips began his career as frontman of Grant-Lee Buffalo. Named “male vocalist of the year” in 1995 by Rolling Stone, USA Today called him a “soulful balladeer” and one “who continues to solidify his place in the upper tier of Americana.”
Click on either of the two Pacific Northwest tour dates below to be redirected to where you can find out more ticket and show information.