Somber and depressing – this is blues that will give you the blues. Bill Philppe is a San Francisco-based artist with a very nasal vocal style. His take on music is a little odd and very, very dark. The playing is interesting as he and the band blend the guitar, clarinet, upright bass, accordion with his vocals into a mélange of darkness and depression. Grab a bottle of whiskey and keep the sharp objects away.
“The Blues Come Callin’ (Home)” is an interestingly odd number where Phillippe’s voice blends with clarinet, bass and accordion. “Proper Sorrow” is another depressing number as in “14th Street.” “If I Should Lose My Mind” continues in that vein. “Solitude/A Kinder Voice” is a reflective cut , but it, too, continues in the somber and depressing vein. I did not recognize “Solitude” as a Duke Ellington cut until I read the liner notes. “Everything I Have is Grey” is next and at this point I’m hoping Phillippe’s home is also devoid of sharp objects.
“Parade” is the most upbeat of the tunes as Phillippe sings how life can be looked as a a parade passing by. “Tonite” is a dark-sounding folk ballad and musically is ok. “Little Zion” clearly features the guitar, the first time it is not blended into the mélange. Again we have a depressing and dark cut. “Red Beret” with a very weird vocal delivery style The album concludes with “Take It With Me,”.a Tom Watts song that is depressingly interesting.
Phillppe does the vocals and guitar. Ivor Holloway is interesting on clarinet. Swen Hendrickson plays bass while Glenn Hartman is on accordion. Each seems to do well with their instruments, playing into Phillippe’s style. Phillippe’s vocals are not my cup of tea nor is his approach to music; I need something a little more upbeat. If you want something very different and think life is raining on your parade then this might be your cup of tea. The album has it’s moments; perhaps this was therapeutic for Bill to create. If so, I hope it helped.