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Sunday April 20, 2014
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Grant-Lee Phillips Evolves

 

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his music in the direction of the kind of simplicity that makes it haunt your thoughts, and he's getting better and better. His 2004 album Virginia Creeper was a country-flavored masterpiece with a memorable portrait of Lily-A-Passion:

Hey, she's a piratey soul,

Full of vinegar and glitter.

She's a song of her own

From down the wrong end of the river.


At the same time, Phillips continued to develop musically on two other fronts. He has evolved into a fairly strong twelve-string guitar player--no Leo Kottke, but enough of one to incorporate the play-of-shadows quality of that instrument, so evocative of layers of the subconscious, into his music. On the other hand, he's developed a talent for the kind of comfortable pop hook that lands songwriters' music in television and film soundtracks--no doubt helpful when he had a recurring role as the town troubadour on the durable comedy-drama The Gilmore Girls.

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