John Waldron Arts Center, Bloomington USA, Thur. Oct. 23, 1997

8 04 2008

        Wow! What an experience. My thanks go out to anyone and everyone who had a hand in putting together the Bloomington concert.

        I arrived at the John Waldron Arts Center at about 5:30. There were some people making pottery in some rooms on the first floor, but not much activity otherwise. As soon as I entered the building, I heard a familiar guitar.
 I followed my ears up some stairs, turned a corner, stepped into a large room and there was Shawn in the middle of a sound check. The soundman was working on eliminating some RF in the system from the radio station next door.

        The promoter, Freddie Anderson, introduced himself and asked if I was an EMHer. We had exchanged e-mail several times so it was good to meet in person. Freddie invited us (there were some other folks there also) to make ourselves at home while the bugs were worked out of the sound system.

        Later, the warm up act arrived and after a trip next door to try to consult with the radio station engineer (he wasn’t there), I went to fetch gyros at the local Greek eatery. I hung around and met some other fans including Mike from Indy and EMHers Bob from Nashville and Linda, Steve and sons from Ohio.

        I had brought my camera in hopes of getting a photo-op and did take a couple of shots during the sound check. I was delighted to find out that it was OK for me to shoot during the show (Thanks Freddie!). Since I and other EMHers had arrived early, we snatched choice seats–front row seats–about 20 feet from Shawn. Great for exposing film.

         With about 80 people in the audience, the show started at 8:00 with Tom Roznowski and Mark Robinson, local Bloomington musicians. They did a fine set and played for just less than an hour. A quick break to move gear and Shawn came out about 9:20.

        I didn’t keep track of all the songs he played, but all our favorites were there including some new ones that I hadn’t heard but had heard about. Shawn played Beautiful People and The Peace Song. Very cool! The highlight for me was L’Ballad. Other tunes I specifically remember incluied For Her, Moonshine, Woman, Man Hole, Casey, and of course, Early Morning Hours.

        Shawn played for 90 minutes, took a break and came back for another 40 minutes or so. During the break two CDs were given away as door prizes. Such a deal.

         After the show those that wished to stay were invited backstage to Shawn’s dressing room. He was back in his firefighter’s uniform (he really takes this seriously, gang) and chatted, smile for my camera, and signed autographs.

        Again, thanks to everyone who had a part in the show and especially, “thanks” to Shawn for giving us all his wonderful music.

Jim Adams

Tip of my hat to a fellow Traveler:

        As I sat in the audience Thursday nite enjoying the gracious EMH seating arrangements, a thought occurred to me I wanted to pass on to you. You see, without the limiting influences of those “shoulder-dwelling monkeys” I’ve become so accustomed to (alcohol, etc., etc.), I experienced a personal revelation about Shawn that may or may not be self-evident to everyone else.

        Evidently, it seems that thruout history every generation has had at its disposal some enlightened fellow human being whose “soul” purpose is to disseminate their message (how about that misspelling, folks?). I couldn’t ignore the recurrent theme throughout the entire concert that there really isn’t a lot of difference between the plight of other struggling humans such as Dahli Lama, Muhammed, Buddha, Lao Tse Tung, Jesus Christ, Amadeus, Martin Luther King, Jr., … and that of Shawn Phillips.

        For 27 years, to my knowledge, he’s been singing the same old song about love and the light that accompanies it. He’s been picked up and put down so many times during those too few years for me to even remember. So, that thought brought to my mind the power of compassion Shawn has consistently possessed, and tried to share, by simply remaining steadfastly devoted to his message of caring for his fellowman. That’s a hell of a tough row to hoe!

        I left the concert hall this morning feeling a strong sense of honor to have heard that meadowlark, Shawn Phillips, sing once again. I’m also honored to have met the other people there that, obviously from their applause, respect the musician in the same light as myself.

Thanks, Shawn
Thanks, Freddie
Thanks, EMH
and thank you, dear God, for blessing this troubled world with such a wondrous voice of Hope — especially one that can hold a note that long 😉

a “new” fan,

Ray Watson


Fitzgerald’s, Chicago USA, Oct. 16 1997

8 04 2008

What a great time!

      The evening started around 7:15 when we arrived at Fitzgerald’s Thursday night (Bobb, my son Jason (18) and Roger who is a singer, harmonica player and songwriter in Bobb’s band). We were meeting 2 other friends there. The first person I saw was Greg Novak who quickly pointed out Ray Campbell, Jr. and we immediately set up a table for the group. Ray was great and it was fun talking to him. He had so many stories about Shawn. Arlo had gone to get something to eat with Andy Kariger and they arrived a little before the show started. It was really great to meet everyone!

      My son counted heads and said there was somewhere around 130 people there. It was obvious they were all Shawn Phillips fans. This audience was generous with applause and whistles. Ray was writing down the song list. Shawn sang everything I wanted him to sing (except for Whazat) so I had the perfect evening. 

       Thank you Shawn, Arlo, Ray, Greg, Andy and of course my husband, Bobb, and son, Jason, and my friends, John, Roger and Michael, for all being part of it.


      Arlo and I flew in from Mpls (Man My shoulders hurt) and arrived the day of the show. According to Shawn, he was delayed because there was an overturned tanker on the freeway, spilling fuel (200,000 gallons) all over the pavement. He was first on the scene and in typical Shawn fashion, he took control of the accident scene until the local fire companies arrived.

      Arlo and I stayed at the Write Inn, in Oak Park, a really cool Hotel, located in an area that has many structures designed by Frank LLoyd Wright, and right across the street from a museum that is dedicated to Ernest Hemmingway. Cool Neighborhood. We arrived at Fitzgeralds at about 7:00 P.M. and Shawn was there tweaking the equipment till about 8:30. Nice place, small but comfortable. They seat about 150 and the place was full. Several members of EMH were there, a dozen or so in all, and I sat with Carolynn and her husband Bobb and son Jason.

 At 9:00 sharp Shawn opened with Steel Eyes and followed with Lady Inviolet, with no break. Then Shawn welcomed everyone and played “Try To Find A Way” (The Beautiful People), a song which I hope he records soon. The rest of the first set was “It Takes No Time”, “Man Hole Covered Wagon”, “Most Of Us Don’t Understand At All”, followed by “The Power Of A Woman”, “One Way Ticket”, and to close the first set, “Ballad Of Casey Deiss”.

      I must say, Shawn was tired after 4 months out and it showed early on but by the time he got to Casey Deiss, his voice was right on and he knew it so he launched into one of the Best performances of this song that I have ever heard him do, and I have toured with him and heard this song live 50 times. This was the Best performance yet!!!! He hit all the high notes and STAYED up there like on the original recording until I thought his tonsils would pop out.
A great first set.

       Shawn was in FINE FORM for this first set. I must say also that Carolynn is a really wonderful Lady and a great friend to sit with during a concert. We had a good time. (Hope Bobb doesn’t get jealous….)

      After a short break of about 20 minutes, Shawn came back onstage and started the 2nd set with “The Peace Song”, followed immediately by “Song For Sagittarians”. After that he told a couple jokes and yukked it up with everybody for a couple minutes and went into “L’Ballad”. Carolynn whispered to me that she really missed hearing the accompanyment that was on the Faces recording but I told her to hang on and sure enough, Shawn triggered the cello’s with his footswitch and finished the song in Rare Form. His voice was SO resilient and clear and Powerful on those low notes, it sent a shiver up my spine, and Carolynn went nuts…..She really loved it (The Song).

      I should say, I forgot to mention that as Shawn finished the 1st set, he got a ROUSING, minute long standing ovation, and it was well deserved as his delivery of Casey Diess was the best I have heard in quite some time if not The Best Ever.

      OK, now Shawn did OUR Song, “EMH”. Boy, we in the group gave him a standing ovation for that one! Then he went into what I can only describe as the most get down boogie version of “Moonshine” that I have ever heard. He laced the middle of the song with a blues tune that went on for about 3 minutes and had everybody tapping their feet, and then he did a BIG finish on the song. People really were getting into it, to say the least, as this was his last song and he received another Standing Ovation of about a minute in length. He came back to finish the night with, you guessed it, “Woman”. A fitting end to the show.

      After the applause died down, Shawn hung around the stage for about an hour signing autographs and talking with the fans, and there were at least 50, I would say, that hung around to get thins signed and just to chat with him. Of course, he was decked out in full Perdinales Fireman clothes and I think he had a few new badges since the last time I saw him in Feb. in Mpls.

      We all had a blast. Carolynn and Bobb gave me a ride back to my hotel. Shawn, Arlo and I left the next day for Mpls. in the old “Firewagon”. Shawn stayed here in St. Paul with me and mine Sat. night. We ate too much and watched TV and sat in the Hot-Tub out in the backyard for an hour or so after dark. Boy, it was a cool night for that.

      Shawn appears to be in bright spirits for his next 2 shows in Bloomington and Fairfield and then he REALLY wants to get home to Tassia and the new house. He’s never seen it yet!

Ray Campbell

Kickapoo Music Fest, Edom USA, Sat. June 28 1997

8 04 2008

 Just got home from Kickapoo… Wow. Went on ’til 1:00am.

I swear it was like a family reunion – a good one. There were the old-timers, the immediate family, the first cousins, the extended branches, the newest members of the family – all collected in honor of the patriarc – Shawn.

Cat, Keith, Sheryl, Patty, Jim K., (who am I forgetting?? I’m pretty tired – pleasantly so). Meeting them face to face was truly no more complicated than being reunited with family… And the Shirts are outstanding! Good Job Sheryl!

Shawn – I will get more to the music tommorrow after some rest, It was wonderful and magical – but Shawn was so marvelously real, and warm, witty and worthy of all of the great things I’ve ever heard of him as he is in person… I spent a great deal of time with him as he was preparing for the gig. It was an impromptu occasion to visit with the real guy, and a chance to meet his charming & lovely wife Tasia. (P.S. – He did his new song, Beautiful People… another classic).

A closing note… the crowd was good, and among the group was my husband, John, who has humored my passion for Shawn without really ever paying much attention to his music… He was not excited about the concert, rather he was excited by my excitement – Let me tell you guys, after the show he made it a point to walk up and shake Shawn’s hand. He gets it now! In the car on the way home he said there should have been a million people in that audience, and he is in awe…He’ll be joining the mailing list shortly and telling HIS tale of discovering Shawn.

Note: as the Shawn part of the show started, Keith was sitting up front alone, and I felt the need to go sit with him (and offer him my OFF – I wasn’t sure if he was familiar with the Texas Chigger hazard sitting in the grass….

It was so cool to be at my first live performance, sitting with a “brother” who I knew was right there with me in the moment, and shared a bit of magic with me as Shawn began to sing. Goose bumb time.

I’m still floating (and rambling – time for some zzz’s!)… And it DID start a light sprinkling of rain right before Shawn came out – Keith, Mr Seattle, got some razzing about that! But it was very surreal as the night was clear and the stars were out even during the light and short rain – I think it was just a good omen… By the time Shawn came out it was a beautiful night under a clear sky studded with stars as bright and clear as Shawn himself.

Denise Martin

Highlights of the Kickapoo Music Fest from the personal journal of Keith Ranney.

I checked into the Days Inn in Athens at about 3:45 on Saturday, June 28th, after 2 days of sales calls to Fortune 500 companies in Dallas and Ft. Worth. Take a quick dip in the hotel pool, exposing my ghostly Seattle body to sun for the first time this year. Pack all the essential festival gear; 175 gram “ultimate” frisbee, IBM Thinkpad, portable recliner, and fill my portable ice chest with Balance Bars, Knudsen lemonade and spring water.

I arrive at the concert site at about 5:45 PM. Parking is well planned out and accessible. The stage is made of hay bales. Shawn is on stage performing his usual pre-gig tasks. I see Sheryl in her Kickapoo T-shirt creation and introduce myself. She did a really nice job on the shirts.

I put my official “EMH Crew” shirt on and head over to claim my $12 piece of real estate. There’s a ring of lawn chairs in a semi-circle about 25-30 feet from the foot of the stage. I park my gear just in front of the circle since my portable backrest sits on the ground. I sit down and take a moment to enjoy some flashbacks from the 11 previous SP concerts I’d seen during the mid-70’s. Between the flashbacks, I am humbled by the amazing journey Shawn’s’ music has taken him on and I watch ‘The Man’ care to the details of his craft. Black jeans and a reddish silk shirt, it’s obvious he has Texas blood keeping him cool. Meanwhile, I’m a puddle of sweat.

Just as Shawn wraps up his preparations, I seize the moment to take care of some 20 year old business, an SP reconnection on the 3D plane. Plus, I come bearing two gifts; a Seattle T-shirt as an “encouragement to plan a Seattle venue” and a work-in-progress, a new SP lyrics page. I walk up to Shawn with my laptop already fired up and show him the next evolution of the lyrics pages – originally begun by Brendt, with help by EMHer, Dan Eggleston and others.

When I demonstrate how the page works, I use “Contribution” as an example, clicking on each of the songs in the left frame. He stops me when I go past “Manhole Covered Wagon” and asks me to go back. He keeps forgetting the lyrics in the 3rd verse:

Then he spoke to all his children
Said we’re building up the brawl
Just you keep your fists from flying
In its holographic cause
And bring your love and guitars
While we sit and count the stars
And talk about faith among us
Without visiting any bars
Mr. Troster replies to Galli
Among the bright and heavy cars
And the truth about life among us
That it’s trying very hard

It will be another 4 hours until Shawn starts, time to eat Bar-B-Que, talk to EMHers and other Shawn fans and people who haven’t heard Shawn yet. And, most importantly, get in my daily cardio-vascular exercise via frisbee – which takes me through the 2nd and half of the third acts until I was literally soaked, but feeling good.

Meanwhile, Sheryl is sitting on the floor next to Shawn, quite engaged in conversation. When she moves, I take her seat and fill in some gaps from my memory – basically confirming that it was possible to see him 11 times between ’73 and ’77 in the Dallas – Ft. Worth area. So, this concert makes number 12.

I go back to the concert area to watch the last couple songs of the 3rd act. Just as they’re finishing the last song, it starts to drizzle – but there are no rain clouds, just one whispy cloud that is so thin you can see right through it. My theory – a cloaked space ship flying overhead, dripping condensation.

There’s a brief flurry to cover up Shawn’s keyboard, Mac laptop and guitars. But then the drizzle stops as quickly as it started – and the show begins with “Man Hole Covered Wagon” – with no lyric memory lapses, thank you very much!

Folks, I’ve been honest with you up to this point, so it’s only fair to tell you straight. Since I’ve seen Shawn so many times during his prime and have worn grooves in all of his albums, I’m here to say that it was not the same experience. There are a few songs that Shawn just shouldn’t have in his song list – Early Morning Hours, for one. The highs just aren’t there. To preserve the integrity of the music, I’d love to see him travel with a back up singer who can cover the high notes – it would be easier on him and could add a wonderful new dimension to the music.

On the other hand (OTOH) – the guitar playing was excellent and the spirit of the man touched me to my very core, once again. Frankly, he could have stood up there and croaked like a frog and I would still have been moved. And, for those songs that didn’t challenge his current range, the voice was strong, resonant and beautiful.

After the show I found myself in a delightful conversation with Shawn’s wife, Tasia (Phantasia). Somehow we got on the subject of EMH, which she said she couldn’t participate in because she wasn’t awake in the early morning hours – and she was serious. I felt it was my civic duty to pull out my IBM Thinkpad and explain that EMH was not a time of day, but a community united in the love of her husband, and that she could access “us” at her convenience. I showed her the Participation Page and the new lyrics pages. She is just the kind of exotic worldwise (Greek) beauty you would expect Shawn to manifest in his blessed life.

Finally, at 2:00 AM, as I’m heading for my rental car (now in complete blackness in the woods), I pass by Shawn and Tasia as they’re raiding Rays fridge for some chicken. I walk up to Shawn and thank him for staying so long and his response was the same response to the same “thank you” I said to him 20 years ago, at a concert in North Dallas where he played for 3.5 hours, “Thanks for staying!”

Thanks to everyone who was there for sharing this unique experience with me; Denise, Sheryl, Cat, Judy (Cat’s friend), Jim, Rodney . . .

Keith Ranney

Random thoughts on Kickapoo…now that a week’s passed and some of it’s sunk in.

Great to meet fellow emh’ers like Sheryl, Patty, Denise, etc. If I left one out its unintentional. The concert was almost like a family reunion…for me especially, having not seen Ray Gallagher in 7 years. As you all know..he busted his a__ to put this gig on…shelling out several thousands of personal bucks (i.e. the stage lights were $120 a day, and by the time we all came to sunday, it was too late to take them back, so add another $120…Ray paid Eddie (local cowboy) to treat every fire ant mound on the property the day before the concert…anyway…it came off great considering the day before at 3:30pm the site got an inch and a half downpour of rain…and there was a 30% chance of storms for the day of the show.

Saturday afternoon, Shawn and I were walking out to the stage area to start unloading…and I asked him if he still sings What’s Happening Jim, one of my favorites. He says “no, I can’t hit the high notes anymore.” Then he looks over at me, and smiles and says “What’s happening, Jim?” and laughs out loud….later he says that since he’s quit smoking, his voice is getting back up there again. Ray says if he ever does it again (Fall ’98 is being kickapooed around) there will be some changes: One opening act only before Shawn…he agrees with us that Shawn went on way too late at Kickapoo…Ray’s talking about getting started at 2pm on a cool October afternoon. Also eliminates such expenses as lights. He’s open to other suggestions. I agree with Keith…Shawn ought to take a hard look at his play list and avoid tunes that don’t fit his present voice. I’d forgotten what a great musician Shawn is…he tore up those guitars..

This is too long so I’ll quit now…just to say again it was a special day…one of those that make for damn fine memories….

Jim Knight

Muddy River Smokehouse, Portsmouth USA, June 17 1997

8 04 2008

         Shawn Phillips played in New England once again, for the first time in six years. A small but appreciative audience gathered at the Muddy River Smokehouse to see Shawn, joined by several other talented musicians. The show, arranged and promoted by EMH members Vicky and Mike Knizer, was billed as “Simply Amazing”, and it certainly was!

        Mike and Vicky had put this show together in only two weeks’ time, and did an outstanding job of getting the local radio stations and newspapers to promote this event. When I first saw Mike on the evening before the show he was thoroughly excited because he had just heard a great promo announced on the local “Drive Time” radio program! There were also articles in the local newspapers, and several other radio spots, as well as some airplay given to Shawn Phillips tunes in the week prior to the show.

        I arrived on Monday afternoon to stay with Vicky’s brother, Jim Lehman, who was also going to be one of the opening acts. Jim and his girlfriend, Sharon Scammon, welcomed me into their home and we had a great time talking, practicing our tunes, and becoming good friends. Later that evening we drove north to Mike and Vicky’s house, where Shawn arrived sometime around 11pm. Shawn was, once again, dressed in his full firefighter uniform. He entertained us all with his stories, and even played a little on the guitar. We left around 3am.

        The next morning I awoke, still fighting a cold which had come on a few days before. As I had feared, my voice was hoarse and fading in and out, and I was ready to bow out of my spot in the opening act lineup. I spent the day trying to speak as little as possible (not an easy thing, anyone who knows me will tell you!!), and drinking cup after cup of peppermint tea with honey. When we got to the gig around 5pm Mike completely forbade me to speak. He had some buffalo chicken with cayenne pepper and made me eat some. He told me to “just believe” and the notes would be there. I was a wreck!!

        People started arriving little by little, including EMH member Bob Feeney and his son, Shawn. They had driven all the way from Long Island, NY for the show. SP was happy to see them, having met them at another show and, remembering that the younger Shawn was a bass player, asked him to play bass on a couple of tunes. Shawn Feeney was blown away!!

        John McGale and Sophie Desrosiers arrived from Montréal to play with Shawn, along with Shawn’s Québec road assistant, Jean-Luc, and his girlfriend, Geneviève. Soundcheck was done for all performers, and the soundman, Paul Prue, did a great job of keeping everything together. With 4 opening acts, and the main act with all Shawn’s electronic gear, there was a lot to do.

 The show began with a local artist known only as Grateful Ted. He played a number of original tunes including one about a local bar, and a heartfelt song written for his dad entitled “Father of Mine”.

 I was up next, and somehow managed to pull off a set of 7 songs. Mike’s faith in me came true, and the notes were there (most of them, anyway), I only had to believe. I did all original tunes, except for one – Melissa Etheridge’s “Come to my Window” – which was done in my own arrangement. For my last tune I played “Dreams and Philosophies”, a song that I had written for Shawn about 5 years ago, which includes 8 SP song titles within the lyrics of the tune.

 Jim Lehman was the third opener, and played about 8 tunes, mostly original, including one he had written for his sister, Vicky, entitled “She’s a Nice Girl”. He also played a couple of cover tunes, including “Wild Horses”.

 He was followed by John McGale, a Montréal artist who has performed all over the world. This guy was incredible, and blew the house away with his outstanding guitar playing and original songs. Even Shawn is amazed by this guy, which is why he had invited him to be part of the show. He did a great tune called “Chicken Cordon Blues”, and in another song, an amazing stretch of lead guitar, during which he sang every note he was playing. At times it was almost impossible to distinguish the voice from the guitar! The crowd went wild and demanded an encore from John.

        After a short break, it was time for the main performance. Shawn came onstage and began with “Free Samples”. Between songs he explained that he was so happy to be able to do the show in English again, after having spent the last 2 months performing in Québec to the French-speaking audiences. The set list followed pretty much the same format as the other concerts on the Québec tour, with Sophie Desrosiers joining him on cello and John McGale on guitar on several songs. With Sophie’s cello and John’s guitar work, “The Ballad of Casey Deiss” was absolutely beautiful. John also played some flute on this tune.

        Shawn Feeney joined SP on bass for the last three songs, starting with “Hey Miss Loney”. He was great, having only run through the tunes once with Shawn during soundcheck. “Moonshine” was fantastic, with both Shawn Feeney and John McGale acompanying. Shawn even threw in “Big Boss Man”, as he often does at the end of this tune. This song was followed by “Woman”, with all 4 musicians roaring away. I have to say, this was the most incredible piece of live, unrehearsed music I have ever heard. I was in complete awe through the entire song. Shawn ended the show alone, with the “Peace Song”, which was powerful and moving, as always.

        The crowd was small, but it didn’t damper the spirit of the evening at all. Rick Cormier was another EMH member there, along with his wife Judy. Of the 30-40 people in attendance, many of them had never seen Shawn before. We hope they will become new fans, and spread the word in the area, so the next concert, which is already in the planning stages, will be even bigger and better!

        A tremendous amount of thanks goes to Mike and Vicky for putting on this entire event, and also the after-concert gathering at their house, as well as providing places for all the musicians to stay. The soundman, Paul Prue, also did an excellent job and deserves credit. Thanks from me to Jim and Sharon for the comfy couch to sleep on, and it was great putting more faces to EMH names, and making new friends. Just as predicted, the Muddy River concert in Portsmouth NH was “Simply Amazing”!!!

Ronnee Ringquist

        Hat’s off to Vicki and Mike Knizner for pulling off the most intimate musical evening I will ever spend with Shawn Phillips. The venue was small, and comfortable. No noisy popcorn machines here. No loud bar patrons. No kitchen clangy noises. Imagine Shawn playing in your living room. (OK, your BIG living room.) Imagine being able to walk up to the man BEFORE the show and just talk. You could have heard a pick drop.

        Shawn still has the uncanny ability to create a “moment” in concert. Highlight for me was hearing him sing “L” Ballade. His voice was fuller and richer than when he sang it on Contribution. Breathtaking. This was the performance of that song that I will remember for life. Shawn’s new song, Beautiful People, is wonderful. It’s one of those insightful SP songs that uses irony to make its point. A dozen more of these and we have our next album! Most of Us Don’t Understand At All and Power of a Woman were additional highlights.

        The 3 performers who opened the show were great. For those of you who only read the lyrics to the song, “Dreams and Philosophies” Ronnee wrote for Shawn, the music and performance are no disappointment. Ronnee is a wonderful artist. I hope you all get a chance to catch her sometime.

        The 3rd opener, John McGale was also memorable. I want this guy’s 1st album. Period. It was so nice to get to meet Ronnee, Vicki and Mike, the other members of the Northeast branch of EMH.

        Sorry if this modest review is a bit disjointed.

Rick Cormier

Cabaret Liquor Store, Ste-Foy Canada, Wed. May 14, 1997

8 04 2008

         I must say here that I wasn’t supposed to go to this gig because it’s about 150 miles from Montréal, where I live. But I was scheduled, at work, to go to a two day conference at Laval University in Québec City. So, Tuesday night, looking the SP tour web page, I realized he would be doing a gig when I was there and near the university.

        So, it turned out, after the end of the first conference day, I went to the show. I arrived at the Liquor Store at 9:00PM. I asked the door-man where Shawn’s dressing room was. After getting Shawn’s approval, the door-man let me in to the little backstage room.

         When I got in, Shawn was writing some notes on a piece of paper. I asked him what it was. He said: One second, let me finish. At the end he said: “Hey man, good timing, you arrived just at the end of the lyrics to the first song in 4 years. The song is called Beautiful People (later rename Try To Find A Way to avoid confusion with Marilyn Manson’s song of the same name).” I didn’t believe it at the time… I quickly read it while Shawn told me the subject of this new song. I replied: “And the music?” Shawn said: “As most of my songs, the music came at the same time as the words.” At that moment, he grabbed his guitar next to him and began to play the tune.

I was on another planet….
        At the end of the song, I lightly applauded Shawn, saying that I’d had the immense honor of being the first to applaude it. We talked till 10:00 and I left to take a seat for the concert.  

        The show was particularly hot with an excellent performance by the band. Shawn was proud of it too.

        On Shawn’s invitation, I went back to his dressing room after the show. Shawn introduced me to the guys in the band. I talked with Shawn while he was eating his supper.

        I left the Liquor Store with the impression that I had experienced a moment I’ll never forget…


La Boîte à Chansons du Vieux Palais, L’Assomption Canada, Fri. May 4, 1997

8 04 2008

This concert was more acoustic. It happened in a very beautiful rustic courthouse with an old courtroom on the second floor. Shawn was playing in a kind of ballroom on the first floor with Jean-Phillippe Gariépy (guitar and voice) and Sophie Desrosiers (Cello).

What a great gig.

Shawn had to clear his throat sometimes in the beginning of the gig but it was better after that. The vocal harmony with Jean Philippe was fantastic.  One of the hotest moments of the show was when they did Lady in Violet from the Transcendence album.

I had the chance to talk with Shawn, Jean-Philippe, Sophie and Paulo in the big old fashioned dressing room before and after the show.

Shawn told me some stories about the Transcendence album. For example, a guy came into the studio one day during the recording of the album. He heard Shawn playing the melody of “Lament pour l’Enfant Mort”. He said to Shawn, “I can play that.” Shawn let him sit at the piano and they recorded this wonderful song. He also played piano on “Motes of Dust” during the session. Shawn paid him for his work and he left the studio, and Shawn has never heard or seen him since. His name was Scott MacDonald.
This was the perfect place for an intimate concert like Shawn put on. An old house is always full of spirit and warmth that fits perfectly with the mood Shawn Phillips creates.


Le Medley, Montréal Canada, Fri. May 2, 1997

8 04 2008

First, I went to the “Reddy Reddy GO” TV talk show last Wednesday. My wife, my two children, Paulo Medeiros, his son and daughter, and I were in the audience. It was fun despite the fact that Shawn appeared tired and this was amplified by the black and white effect they included on the first song on TV.
He did his two classic songs, WOMAN and MOONSHINE, with his band.

However, on Friday night, at the Medley, Shawn was in better shape and did the best gig with the band I have ever heard.

The band was composed of:

Jean Milaire on Guitar
Pascal Maillot on Keyboard
Daniel Galarneaux on Bass
Bernard Deslauriers (alias Bingo) on Drums
Sophie Desrosiers on Cello

They were simply tremendous. Jean Milaire is one of the best guitar players in Québec. Pascal Maillot did a really great job on keyboard too. The show began with Bright White. The more rhythmic version of Power of a Woman was very cool. The place was not overcrowded as it was last year and I had the joy of meeting other members of the Shawn Phillips Early-Morning-Hours mailing list like Jean-Francois, Louis-Martin, Francois, Paulo and his wife Céline.

As usual, Shawn autographed posters at the end of the show, to chat a bit and meet with his fans.


%d bloggers like this: