The Miners Foundry Cultural Center is proud to announce a special evening with acclaimed Americana singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Grant-Lee Phillips. Best known for his versatile voice, intense lyrical narratives and dexterity on the acoustic 12-string guitar, he has been called “one of the most gifted songwriters of his generation” by ABC News and in 1995 named “Male Vocalist of the Year” by Rolling Stone.
Phillips, a Stockton native, founded the seminal L.A. band Shiva Burlesque with vocalist and childhood friend Jeffery Clark (Nevada City local and owner of The Magic Theatre). After releasing two albums, the band broke up in 1990 and Phillips went on to form Grant Lee Buffalo.
Grant Lee Buffalo released four recordings on Slash/Warner Bros. in addition to various soundtracks, live releases, and a box set retrospective. The endorsement of some of music’s biggest bands, REM, Pearl Jam and the Smashing Pumpkins (all of whom the group toured with) helped to fuel the band’s popularity.
In 2000, Grant-Lee Phillips released the self-produced “Ladies Love Oracle” on his own label, Magnetic Field Recordings. It has since been licensed worldwide. He signed with Boston-based Rounder Records, releasing “Mobilize” in 2001 to rave reviews. As a solo artist, Phillips took more of a hands-on approach to studio production, playing nearly every instrument himself. The 21st century would find him juxtaposing his trademark guitars with string arrangements and electronic drum programming, creating a whole new sound.
His follow-up, “Virginia Creeper” in 2004 was a live acoustic recording where all the players interacted with one another during the process, very much in contrast to the technological solo experimentation of Mobilize. Mojo magazine dubbed Virginia Creeper, “Effortless … near genius.” One of the songs, “Susanne Little,” touches upon Phillips’ Native American roots, telling the story of his great-grandmother’s struggle to overcome adversity. In 2006, Phillips released “Nineteeneighties,” a tribute to his favorite cult bands and songs of the era — a nod to the underground artists who blazed a path for the Nirvana generation. With barely a breath in between, Phillips released his next CD, “Strangelet,” in 2007.
“Walking in the Green Corn” is the newest album by Phillips. Its 10 songs are drawn from his intensive investigations into his native lineage. Phillips, who is Muskogee (Creek), elliptically explores the intersection of past and present, personal and political. While the songs delve deeply into the subconscious mystery of his own backstory, they simultaneously reveal the resonance and insight of ancient myth in parallel to contemporary man’s emotions, actions, and errors.
Revered for its lyrical depth and sweeping cinematic scope, the music of Grant-Lee Phillips extends beyond the realm of recording artist. For more than a decade and a half, the music of Grant-Lee Phillips has added emotional richness to a diverse range of films and television shows.
His music has been featured in a diverse range of films: “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer,” “Velvet Goldmine,” “Mad Love,” “Zigzag,” and television shows from “Friends,” “The Gilmore Girls” (a show where he also held a reoccurring role as the Town Troubadour) to “Roswell,” “Six Feet Under,” “What About Brian,” “The Return of Jezebel James,” “House,” “Men In Trees” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”
Phillips has been a guest performer on such popular shows as “Late Show With David Lettermen,” “Tonight Show With Jay Leno,” “Late Show With Conan O’Brien” and“Real Time With Bill Maher,” to name a few. He continues to tour worldwide, and is a fixture at his second home, Largo, the prominent cabaret hosting a diverse group of musicians and comedians such as Aimee Mann, Jon Brion, Paul F. Tompkins, Greg Proops, Patton Oswalt, Jack Black and others.
For Phillips, who cut his creative teeth in childhood as a comedian, actor, singer and magician in a Stockton vaudeville revival house, “It’s all in a good days work. I grew up around old guys who played the saw, honky-tonk piano players and escape artists. Like mercury, it stays in your blood.”