Phil Aiken
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Phil Aiken

Band Rock Singer/Songwriter


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"CMJ Don't Look Down Review"

Keyboardist Phil Aiken must be like these guys who habitually volunteer for overtime. He's currently playing with Buffalo Tom, Delta Clutch and Crown Victoria, yet these commitments evidently haven't filled his dance card. He wrote all 10 songs for this solo project, recorded it all in his home studio and mixed all but two of the tracks. Don't Look Down must fall in the “this is what I do in my spare time” category for Aiken, and it's a helluva extra project. Aiken is a popmeister when it comes to songwriting/arranging, but that's not to say he's either glib or formulaic in his approach. Rather he's a lyricist with something to say and a knack for conveying those lyrics via some very polished arrangements. “man Overboard” is something of a mixology marvel: The arrangement has a remarkable density to it, yet in the listening, it's the upbeat fluidity of the tune that catches the ear. “Lose Yourself”, on the other hand, is a much more dour lyric, delivered via a guitar-rock vehicle with a good deal of punch and a very hooky chorus. For something different yet again, check “Edison”, the pop ballad that wanted to be a waltz. Aiken has masterminded an accessible slice of rock artistry with Don't Look Down

>Philip Van Vleck

- CMJ Music Monthly

"Ear Candy Quiet Ones review"

(4 Stars)
Second solo outing from current keyboardist of Crown Victoria, who also did a long tour of duty with Buffalo Tom. Although I truly dug Don’t Look Down, I think I may even like this platter even better. I think Phil may be becoming the Vincent Gallo of pop rock-he keeps getting better as time rolls on. Aiken handles all the lead vocals and keys here, but he gets some help from some excellent singers to sweeten the mix-Chris Toppin (Fuzzy) and Tanya Donnelly (Belly). I could definitely hear “Ginny Took The Easy Way Out” on the radio-satellite are you listening? Clever wordplay on titles like “…Having Lost My Way, Wondering Like Abraham” does nothing to the great songwriting tactics employed here. “Highlights” will make a great summer song-crank it in your ’89 Chevy LeBaron convertible and watch the neighbors stare! The title track has some slippery organ that is well balanced by the drums and bass and the questioning vocals. There’s even a great rework of a Buzzcocks tune that I’m sure even Steve Diggle would enjoy. It’s Always The Quiet Ones…that seem to make great records. This is no exception. - Ear Candy


Don't Look Down
It's Always the Quiet Ones



Phil became known around Boston and elsewhere as a long term gun-for-hire piano/organ player with Buffalo Tom. He has filled that same role with Bill Janovitz and Crown Victoria,and Delta Clutch (now the Blizzard of '78). He has also performed or recorded with the likes of Little Feat, James Taylor, Graham Parker, Julian Hatfield, Tanya Donelly, Peter Gammons, Eddie Vedder, a bunch of the Boston Red Sox, an Elvis impersonator and others.
Mostly though, Phil is a songwriter. This was his main focus before people started calling him in as a player, and it still is. His first solo record, Don't Look Down was well received, and featured a cast of dozens of Boston's best musicians. Though much of that music was guitar heavy, Phil began playing live shows in a piano-led trio. This led to a quick outpouring of new material and his 2nd album It's Always the Quiet Ones.
This album, while more reserved and (almost) guitarless, was a step forward in craftmanship, and allowed the songs lyricism to shine through.
Currently, Phil is playing live with his new band, The Phil Aiken Army. This crack ensemble is capable of going from Roots-Rock to Beatlesque pop, to all-out slamming in the same set, and sometimes in the same song. They are currently putting the finishing touches on a new CD, which Phil describes as more of a band effort than the previous releases.