Easton Stagger Phillips
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Easton Stagger Phillips

Band Folk Singer/Songwriter


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"1st review of "One for the Ditch""

These three troubadours have been playing and writing songs on their
own and with others long enough to know what counts. They write what
they know, record how they see fit on the hardware at hand, and play
the chords that they like best. Upon first listen to their joint
effort, One For the Ditch, it's easy to tell that this album isn't
about attaining the widest possible audience, it's about winning

Easton, Stagger, and Phillips combine their love of acoustic tones and
very human voices into a collective project that gives rise to
something both old and new. If you were wondering where "real" country
and folk have gone, give this album a listen, and do not despair: That
old spirit is alive and well with these boys. Their lyrics, just like
your favorite country songs, have a real weight to them, and yet, they
don't shy away from a catchy hook if it keeps the song rolling along.
With the duties of song-craft split more or less equally amongst the
trio, the songs have a number of similar themes that pull them
together. The songs cover a wide range of topics such as living and
performing while on the road, knowing when to put down the bottle,
re-igniting forgotten passions, and the sheer enjoyment of life well
lived. The warmth and integrity is palpable in the well-wrought
stories in this album.

Tim Easton (of Joshua Tree, California), Leeroy Stagger (Victoria,
Canada), and Evan Phillips (Anchorage, Alaska) had known and admired
each other's music for a long time, but they hadn't thought of forming
a band or even recording until they found themselves laying down
tracks during an abrupt winter storm in Girdwood, Alaska last year.
The rest of the material for this album was recorded after that
session in various other cabins during a three-day period, and as the
tape rolled, it recorded the fusion in music between friends. It's
that kind of sensibility in production and performance that gives the
album such a distinct, handcrafted sound: I enjoyed playing the whole
thing through headphones, so as to hear that foot tapping out the
rhythm, the squeak of the floorboards, or that one, sweet chord
strummed just right.

The do-it-yourself approach also means that there's no truly suitable
genre in which this music will rest. The mandolin and fiddle dance
happily together on the opening track, "Hell Of a Life," like some old
Hoyt Axton tune, and yet, on "Goodbye Blues," we get the simple and
effective use of strummed guitar, harmonica, and a very light touch on
the Hammond organ. On later tracks, acoustic pianos, the dobro, and
subtle vocal harmonies sweeten the deal to an almost nostalgic feel.
Is it country music? Folk? Blues? I don't know or care: It's homegrown
musical goodness that will rock you to the core.

One For the Ditch is being released on Stagger's label, Rebeltone
Records, and it does a fine job showcasing the great talents of these
three singer/songwriters. Pick up a copy, if it sounds like your cup
of tea, and play a few tracks as you ride down the road. As Tim Easton
boldly puts it in "Festival Song:" "It feels like the world is gonna
be alright." With music like this in my ears, I am persuaded to
believe it.

Gabriel Hill is a lifelong musicophiliac, field recorder, and
self-help guru. He lives in Interior Alaska with his girlfriend and
their many pet spiders. - Ester Republic

"Supergroup Alert"

Tim Easton, Leeroy Stagger and Evan Phillips--ESP--release One for the Ditch.

By Randy Harward

This week in supergroups: Americana singer-songwriters Tim Easton, Leeroy Stagger and The Whipsaws' Evan Phillips have come together as ESP, releasing the all-acoustic One for the Ditch on Rebeltone Records this week.

The collaboration started while Easton and Stagger were touring as support for The Whipsaws' CD release tour in Alaska this past January. Most of One for the Ditch was recording during a three-day session at a cabin in snowy Girdwood. It was completed in March at Easton's cabin studio in Joshua Tree and Victoria Williams' Chapparal Studios.

From their official bio: ...Stagger says "we keep each other together and in check, which makes it a very easy and fulfilling band to be in." Evan Phillips added, "We are also big fans of each other so that helps." Easton agrees that "this is a natural fit. We travel well as a trio and we are not afraid to push each other to do better work. There's a ton of songwriters out rambling about, and I feel lucky to have crossed paths with these two." - Blurt Online


Debut Album "One for the Ditch" released by Rebeltone Records in 2008.



An American, a Canadian, and an Alaskan walk out of a bar...

Part time troubadours will come and go. For Tim Easton (JOSHUA TREE, CALIFORNIA), Leeroy Stagger(VICTORIA, CANADA) and Evan Phillips (ANCHORAGE, ALASKA), traveling the world and singing songs isn't just a diversion. It's a way of life. It is how they survive in this world, and it is what caused them to cross each others paths.

The three singer/songwriters first came together at Easton's Joshua Tree desert home in 2007. They had mutual respect for each others work but the thought of forming a band was the last thing on their minds. Fast forward to January 2008 where Easton and Stagger are the support acts for Phillips' band The Whipsaws on their Alaskan CD release tour and the three start to collaborate. With the assistance of Anchorage resident and recording engineer Greg Benolkin, the three musicians found themselves laying down tracks during a winter storm in a cabin in Girdwood, Alaska. The snow was falling and the tape was rolling and what came out of that three day session was a lifelong friendship plus a beautiful record of songs the three had been stockpiling. The majority of ONE FOR THE DITCH was recorded at that session, and on the third evening, their first performance as Easton, Stagger, Phillips took place at Vagabond Blues in Palmer, Alaska.

The trio later reconvened in the lower 48 in March 2008 for a cross country drive from Austin to Joshua Tree in order to add the finishing touches on the primarily acoustic recordings. Hunkering down at Easton's home cabin studio as well as Victoria Williams' Chapparal Bottoms studio, ESP recruited Bobby Furgo (Leonard Cohen band)on violin, and took turns overdubbing organ bass pedals on some of the songs, using a vintage Gulbransen Pacemaker organ that Easton had scored for $50 at a local thrift store, to finish what was to be ESP's debut album "One For The Ditch."

There is a familiar dynamic to this band. Stagger says "we keep each other together and in check, which makes it a very easy and fulfilling band to be in." Evan Phillips added, "We are also big fans of each other so that helps." Easton agrees that "this is a natural fit. We travel well as a trio and we are not afraid to push each other to do better work. There's a ton of songwriters out rambling about, and I feel lucky to have crossed paths with these two."

ONE FOR THE DITCH is being released by REBELTONE RECORDS, and this introduction to the band showcases the kind of song writing tradition that brought the three together in the first place. From the classic, Townes Van Zandt inspired storytelling of Leeroy Stagger in the opening track "Hell of A Life," which chronicles the life and times of the wayward troubadour, to the mountain stream vocals of Evan Phillips in northern life inspired songs such as "Highway 395" or "Walk Away," to the optimistic sing along "Festival Song," which has all three members of the band taking turns at verses written by Tim Easton, with the three voices blending as one generation for the chorus shout out "It feels like the world is gonna be alright." This acoustic debut album is the begining of a life long collaborative effort and dedication to making music and traveling the world together as Easton, Stagger, Phillips.