Since the release of Hugh Phillips’ debut album ‘It’s Been A Long Time’, in October of last fall, it has reached #2 on the AirPlayDirect Global Country Album Top 50 for February 2021, and in the first month reached #141 on CDX Nashville’s Top Country Album Charts [12/2020]. Cleary the DJ’s of country radio are hearing a fresh and exciting new sound and playing it on their shows.
Hugh has had great success with the record having interviews on Hillbilly Highway Radio Show with DJ Glenn, KDNK Community Radio, and KAFM Community Radio. DJ Glenn [Hillbilly Highway] was happy to play Hugh’s tunes and talk about what real country sounds are, and the hard work that makes an artist these days. The work that goes into writing and making an album is challenging and costly Glenn pointed out and gave Hugh accolades for his efforts that clearly show through the great song writing and genuine country flavor of his album.
KDNK was equally excited about Hugh’s debut album and interviewed him a few times. Thanks to Luke and DJ Sparkles for the plays and the great discussion about the record, it is seeing significant charting performance as a result. Much can be said of volunteer DJ’s and their passion for music. The newspapers have even picked up on the buzz. Glenwood Springs Post Independent, wrote an article about Hugh’s new release and dug a bit deeper into his world of music production, cars, and life in general. Produced by IBMA Sound Engineer of 2020, Stephen Mougin at Dark Shadow Recording in Tennessee, the sound and arrangements are stellar. Mougin is known for work in the bluegrass world, as well as producing plenty of great sounds from reggae to rock and country. In his studio in Goodlettsville, Stephen and Hugh went to work as producer and executive producer respectively, on creating the magic that the record is, through appropriate timings, openness and instrumentation. The solos and interludes on tracks like Jack Devise and Bird Song resonate clearly, invoking a beautiful and well-rounded sound engineered by Mougin.
The record features incredible musicians too. First is Hugh’s vocal with a unique old school vibe. Steve Dawson likened it to Jay Farrar of Son Volt fame after laying down the HI-Ways track. Hugh also played the rhythm guitar on all the tracks adding to the overall feel. Speaking of Steve Dawson you can hear the timely slide and pedal steel work throughout the album. The rhythm section is comprised of the powerhouse duo Chris Brown and Todd Parks of the Sam Bush Band. On lead guitar were two folks that bring a wealth of experience and talent to the table. First is Corey Congilio, a guitarist versed in all contemporary styles. At one point Hugh was laughing after he added this metal sounding riff that just nails the flavour of Jack Devise.
Next, James Mitchell, rips it up on Steel Driver’s Lament with his fast and accurate tele work. He brings a country sound as well as adding a psychedelic factor in For the Love of Whiskey. James has played on Grammy nominated and #1 albums with artists ranging from Cole Swindell to Willie Nelson. He used a vintage Gretsch hollow body in addition to the telecaster. Steve Thomas lent his amazing skills to the fiddle and mandolin on the record. He is a versatile musician that has played with many country artists and toured with Sonny Osborne and Barbara Mandrell, among others. Ned Luberecki is featured on Steel Driver’s Lament playing banjo. Ned is known for work with many artists including his current work with the Becky Buller Band. He was also was named Banjo Player of the Year in 2018 by the International Bluegrass Music Association.
Rounding out the record is Stephen and his wife Jana along with Alan Bartram on harmony vocals. None of these players are slouches when it comes to vocals. Listen for the sweet 3 part harmonies on Rain Dance and Hydrocarbon Heaven. Alan has played bass most recently with the Del McCoury Band and Travelling McCourys. Stephen Just released his first solo record which also features Jana on vocals.
As a whole the first release from Hugh Phillips is one amazing record and should please audiences worldwide. Much can be credited to his upbringing in music and creative drive to write songs for the folks who live in the western frame of mind.
Available now, on all platforms, Airplaydirect.com, and physical copies at www.hughphillipsmusic.com