New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media


New Jersey State Council on the Arts Names Allison Tratner as Executive Director Click here for the story!

Makin Waves’ Record of the Week: Kathy Phillips’ ‘Soul Catcher’


originally published: 11/30/2017

Makin Waves’ Record of the Week: Kathy Phillips’ ‘Soul Catcher’

 

Makin Waves’ Record of the Week: Kathy Phillips’ ‘Soul Catcher’

 

It’s been 11 years since Northwest Jersey singer-songwriter Kathy Phillips’ last LP, but she has returned with the philosophical fun of “Soul Catcher.”

 

Has it really been 16 years since Kathy Phillips’ brilliant debut album, “Sway?” Wow, that time flew! I remember like it was yesterday giving her the Makin Waves Awards for Best Female Artist and Song of the Year for “Leaves Changing.” 

With her long-awaited third LP, “Soul Catcher,” Phillips switches gears by sprinkling some Beatlesque pop onto her jazz-folk garden. She also has changed producers. Having teamed with Black Potatoe Records owner Matt Angus on her debut and the 2006 follow-up, “Carries You Away,” she now is produced by her longtime guitarist Walt Bibinger, who also co-wrote all 16 songs on “Soul Catcher.”  

Walt cohesively melds their varied styles, including country gospel, but with a little more self-editing, they would have made this good record into a great one. I realize that to a songwriter, songs are like children and that it’s difficult to choose one over the other, but at the end of the day, the artist has to cut the cord and do what’s best for the art. At a much more manageable 12 tracks, “Soul Catcher” would have been a better and more impactful record, which I believe Phillips and Bibinger intended, given the wisdom about quality living that they share throughout. Maybe it’s a salute to the number of years since Phillips’ debut, but 16 songs is an awful lot to ask of a listener. 

At least things start off great with the Brian Wilson/Phil Spector-inspired “Forever with You.” Also every bit as good as anything on “Sway” are the tongue-in-cheek country gospel of “Truth,” the “Hey Bulldog”-derived wisdom of “Live, Laugh, Love,” the vocally rich folk-rock of the heartbreaking yet reassuring “Better Days,” the dream-affirming funk-pop of “You’ll See,” the sassy jazz of “My Heart to You,” and the epic closer “Set Me Free,” especially the Santana-sounding bridge. I particularly love the sincere fun of “Truth,” which contemplates “a truth you can’t drink away,” and “Better Days,” which sounds like Alison Kraus and Union Station sitting in with the Grateful Dead.

Unfortunately, there are a handful of songs that don’t deserve to be on “Soul Catcher,” such as the cliché-ridden “Life’s Song,” the insipid “What’s Your Dream” and the sing-song saccharine of “What to Do.” I believe “Life’s Song” could have been great, especially with those luscious pop harmonies behind Phillips’ sweet Natalie Merchant-like vocal, but her lyrics are a mixed bag of wise and trite. Like nearly all of this record, the song has an extremely positive message for which Phillips and Bibinger should be applauded, but there is a fine line between uplifting and corny, and “Life’s Song” waivers. 

The same could be said for “Now,” a Roy Orbison-inspired number that is vocally rich but too repetitive to be completely rewarding. I must say, however, that throughout “Soul Catcher,” Bibinger captures gorgeous, delicious Beatlesque backing vocals by him, Phillips and their longtime band mate, Kim Williams, whose rich talent also can be heard on the record’s keyboards.

Phillips doesn’t have much time to play out with her original material because she frequently appears as Stevie Nicks in the popular Fleetwood Mac tribute band Tusk, which also features Williams in the role of Christine McVee. Find out more at http://fleetwoodmactribute.com/TUSK.

Bob Makin is the reporter for www.MyCentralJersey.com/entertainment and a former managing editor and still a contributor to The Aquarian Weekly, which launched this column in 1988. Contact him at makinwaves64@yahoo.com. Like Makin Waves at www.facebook.com/makinwavescolumn.

Makin Waves’ Record of the Week: Kathy Phillips’ ‘Soul Catcher’




For more by this author, click here






The Newton Theatre Presents Martin Sexton
(NEWTON, NJ) -- Remember that mix tape your friend made you way back when - the one that's etched in your soul?  Martin Sexton's last album Mixtape of the Open Road provided that kind of musical cross-country trip, blazing through all territories of style, as you cruise through time and place. This record is a charm bracelet of twelve gems all strung together with the golden thread of what Rolling Stone calls a "soul marinated voice."  Hear for yourself when Sexton comes to The Newton Theatre on Saturday, May 18th at 8:00pm.
Mayo Presents Josh Gates, Host of Travel Channel's Expedition Unknown
(MORRISTOWN, NJ) --  Adventurer, TV personality and author Josh Gates will discuss some of his most intriguing journeys at Mayo Performing Arts Center on Thursday, January 24 at 7:30pm. Tickets range from $29-$69.
John Forster and Judy Kass To Perform In Morristown
(MORRISTOWN, NJ) -- John Forster will headline at the Minstrel Acoustic Concert Series on Friday, January 18, at 7:30pm at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, 21 Normandy Heights Rd, Morristown. Judy Kass will open. The event is part of the Minstrel Acoustic Concert Series, sponsored by The Folk Project each Friday evening at the Fellowship. Admission is $10.00 per adult at the door. Children 12 and under are free. For further information, call 973-335-9489, or visit www.folkproject.org.  
BergenPAC Presents 14th Annual Englewood Idol
(ENGLEWOOD, NJ) -- Talented teen vocalists who either live or attend school in Englewood will once again grace the stage of bergenPAC on Friday, January 11, at 7:00pm for the 14th annual Englewood Idol competition, which features nine contestants from the city’s high school programs: Dwight Morrow High School, The Dwight-Englewood School and the AcademiesatEnglewood. This year’s contestants are Genesis Capellan, Maggie Colquitt, Donna Gad, Savannah George, Lena Graf, Angelica Munoz, Lamyra Newton, Patricia Parker and Auhjen Upshaw.
Susan Werner To Perform At Minstrel Acoustic Concert Series
(MORRISTOWN, NJ) -- Susan Werner will headline at the Minstrel Acoustic Concert Series on Friday, January 4,  2019 at 7:30pm at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, 21 Normandy Heights Rd, Morristown. Zoe Mulford will open. The event is part of the Minstrel Acoustic Concert Series, sponsored by The Folk Project each Friday evening at the Fellowship. Admission is $10.00 per adult at the door. Children 12 and under are free. 


The Brian Wilson Christmas Album Tour LIVE! at BergenPAC
There’s a wintery chill in the air on this December 4, 2018 evening in Englewood, NJ. Outside the community’s gem of a theater — the Bergen Performing Arts Center — a beautiful black Mercedes-Benz sedan sits with its car stereo pumping out Beach Boys’ classics. Since tonight’s Brian Wilson concert is sponsored by Englewood’s own Benzel Busch Motor Cars, the music blasting from this sporty vehicle helps to set a festive mood for the crowd of fans waiting to see tonight’s special performance — a live rendition of Wilson’s 1964 recording, The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album, performed by Brian Wilson and his band.
Melissa Etheridge LIVE! at the State Theatre
The lobby of the State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ, is buzzing with activity this Friday, November 30, 2018 evening as rock music fans ready themselves for a special Holiday Show by singer/songwriter Melissa Etheridge!
Join The Greater South Jersey Chorus For "A Winter's Night" (Or Afternoon)
The holidays bring many special things and, for me, one of the best is the music. It sets a mood, invokes memories, soothes the soul and provides a seasonal soundtrack for my life.
An Interview with Chip Davis Of Mannheim Steamroller Christmas
You can experience the magic of the holidays — Steamroller-style — when Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis makes a tour stop this Thursday, December 6, 2018, at New Brunswick, NJ’s historic State Theatre.
Max Weinberg’s Jukebox LIVE! at the Grunin Center
Something is different about tonight’s November 18, 2018 concert at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center for the Arts starring Max Weinberg, celebrated drummer from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band!










Event calendar
Wednesday, Dec 19, 2018


MUSIC

TWOPENNY PORTERS @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 6:30pm

ICONIK BAND @ Lobby Bar at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, Atlantic City - 7:00pm

Live Band Karaoke w/ the Goldenboyz @ Crossroads (Garwood), Garwood - 10:00pm

A Magical Cirque Christmas @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 8:00pm


THEATRE

Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn @ Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn - 7:00pm

View all events










 






















For more on our awards, click here








New Jersey Stage © 2018 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 | info@newjerseystage.com

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.