Tom Phillips bringing Buck's Row to Lethbridge


Calgary songwriter Tom Phillips makes a long awaited return to Lethbridge, Jan. 20 to play the Slice with Derek Hintz.

It has been about three yearTom Phillips returns to Lethbridge this week. Photo by Richard Amerys since he last played Lethbridge, but Phillips has been keeping busy with his own brand of honky tonk and country music.

“I’ve been doing  a lot of writing. And I played 207 gigs last year,” Phillips said, who has three regular weekly residencies in Calgary as well as several regular monthly shows as well.

His last CD, “ Mr. Super Love,” was a departure for him as it was a CD of indie rock covers which was produced by Lorrie Matheson, a well known figure on Calgary’s indie-rock scene.
“He’s very well known in the indie rock scene, so I let him pick the songs. And I hadn’t even heard of some of the bands until he brought the songs to me,” Phillips said, adding the songs included  familiar names like New Order and George Harrison as well as more obscure songs.

 He is excited to release the new CD, which will be all Phillips penned originals, which is also produced by Lorrie Matheson.

“I was hoping to have it out in time for the Lethbridge show, but it will be out next month,” Phillips said.
He usually plays with his band the men of constant sorrow, but will playing Lethbridge with his other band  Buck’s Row, who accompany him at his regular gig at the Blues Can.
“It’s a mixture of everything I do,” he said, adding his first love is honky tonk and country music.

“I always loved how honky tonk music is all about storytelling about loss and death, but you can dance to it,” he observed.


He enjoys playing with his crack band of bassist/multi-instrumentalist Tim Leacock, lead guitarist Geoff Brock and drummer Ian Grant with Phillips singing and playing guitar.

“ Tim Leacock has played with a lot of bands in Calgary including Billy Cowsill and Lorrie Matheson. I’ve known him for 20 years,” he said, adding Leacock also plays a plethora of different instruments including mandolin.
“ And Geoff is the hottest guitar player I’ve ever played with,” he continued, adding he just started playing with Ian Grant.

Phillips said the Calgary music scene is strong.
“For me, it‘s great. I have three weekly residencies and a couple of monthly gigs. There’s the Ironwood, the Blues Can, Mikey’s Juke Joint , Winos,” he said, listing a few of the more popular roots music venues.

  A lot of people play country music, so the scene is pretty healthy,” he said.
Other artists cover his songs. In Lethbridge George Arsene covers “ Sing Like an Angel,” which Phillips wrote about his friend Billy Cowsill, who passed away in 2006.
“I used to play with him in a club called the Mecca with Steve Pineo and Tim Leacock and we met Billy. He was the best singer we ever heard. Neil MacGonigle, Jann Arden’ manager said ‘ “ You make me want to sing like and angel,” and i just came up with the line ‘ play guitar like a train,” he said.
“ My wife told me it’s the only  love song I ever wrote and it’s about a dude,” Phillips chuckled.

He noted  lot of Calgary artists cover his songs, plus some high profile names like bluesman Eric Bibb.

“ He put ‘ Ribbons and Bows,’ on a Cd with songs by people like Taj Mahal. So that was heartening and gratifying as an artist,” he said, adding David Ward of CKUA recorded a jazz version of another of Phillips songs.

 He is excited to return to Lethbridge.
“ You can expect to hear a lot of new songs, folk and country and some great Merle Haggard and George Jones even some New Order,” he said.
 The show begins at 9 p.m. with Medicine Hat  songwriter Derek Hintz. There is a $15 cover for the show at the Slice.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat editor
Last Updated ( Saturday, 21 January 2017 14:46 )