Grant-Lee Phillips Evolves
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.