For those who have been lucky enough to have Phillips in concert recently, this disc serves as a pleasant memory of previous shows.
Live at the Belly Up
Artist: Glen Phillips
Belly Up Live
Recorded on February 11, 2016, this disc is one of a series produced by the Belly Up Tavern, a club in San Diego. Like most Glen Phillips shows, the concert features a mixture of old favorites from both his solo career and his days with Toad the Wet Sprocket, unreleased songs, Works Progress Administration tracks, and a few rarely heard cover songs.
Long time friend and collaborator Sean Watkins (Nickel Creek, WPA, Watkins Family Hour, Mutual Admiration Society) joins Phillips on the latter two thirds of the project, although regrettably not on “Walk on the Ocean”, which his harmonies would have been put to good use.
Phillips’ vocal tone has grown a bit lower over the years, but singing for thirty years will do that to almost everyone. It is more noticeable on the Toad songs than his more recent output. New songs such as “Baptistina”, “Leaving Old Town”, and “Grief and Praise” stand out and create a longing for the next album to be released. Interesting cover tracks “Gimme Sympathy” (Metric) and “Retrograde” (James Blake) reveal that Glen Phillips is one of us – a music geek who appreciates a wide variety of music.
The standards are here for long time fans – “Train Wreck”, “Nanci”, “Windmills”, and “Something’s Always Wrong”. The WPA songs with Sean Watkins stand out as well, as does the Watkins original “Let It Fall”.
For those who have been lucky enough to have Phillips in concert recently, this disc serves as a pleasant memory of previous shows. For those who haven’t, this will help satisfy your jealousy, and give you another reason to look forward to his next project.
Brian A. Smith