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Recorded over four days at Sound Emporium in Nashville, the 12-track set was produced by Phillips (guitar/vocals/keyboards) and cut largely live in the studio as a trio with Jerry Roe (drums) and Lex Price (bass). Mixed by Tucker Martine (My Morning Jacket, The Decemberists) and engineered by Mike Stankiewicz, the album delivers its poetic truths in Phillips’ peerless melodic sensibilities, relayed via vocal performances that balance intensity and vulnerability.
“I made a commitment to myself not to sink into despair,” explains Phillips, “I’m tracing a longer narrative here. We’ve been through some of this before – not just our country, but the civilization as a whole.” Phillips sees in Widdershins a connection to his earliest work with Grant Lee Buffalo. “That was also a time of intense social anxiety. The Gulf War, the LA riots – everything became cranked up. Then a few years later there was the earthquake we lived through, which also made for a time of uneasiness. I was in a heightened state when I wrote that stuff – as I am now.”
Hailed by Mother Jones as “criminally underappreciated,” the California-born singer, songwriter, guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, actor, film composer and visual artist began his career in the early ‘90s as the frontman of the acclaimed trio Grant-Lee Buffalo. Once named “male vocalist of the year” by Rolling Stone, USA Today called him a “soulful balladeer” while Uncut hailed him as a “distinguished U.S. songwriter.”