Phil daRosa
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Phil daRosa

Edgartown, Massachusetts, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Edgartown, Massachusetts, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Solo Rock Singer/Songwriter

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A staple of the Vineyard music scene, Mr. DaRosa was excited to play at the landmark octagonal church in Oak Bluffs. "I've been playing in bars this year," he says. "It will be great to hear every note and they [the audience] can too. The intimacy factor is one of the elements."

His full sound, polished voice, and expert guitar playing were certainly well suited to the wonderful acoustics of the Union Chapel. Music spilled out into the soft September evening, entertaining passersby as well as the handful of ticket holders inside.

WMVY's Laurel Reddington introduced the three acts, commenting on their commonality by saying, "They all have this depth and sincerity." Performing original songs, quite obviously from the heart, the trio of talented musicians packed a terrific emotional 1-2-3 punch and the evening was a fun informal event, spotlighting some of the Island's best and brightest.

Meghan LaRoque onstage at the Union Chapel. Photo by Lynn Christoffers
Ms. LaRoque opened up the show with four songs from her recently released CD Carry Me Home. Vocally, she manages to extract a lushness from her simple, unadorned style and her hesitant, deliberate delivery has a wonderful opiate effect on listeners. She was accompanied on electric guitar by Devin Edan McCormick, who performed one of his own compositions.

Eric Luening, who will be releasing a long overdue first CD next month, shared his soulful enthusiasm with the crowd. Among a handful of songs, he performed his touching "I Will Never Go Away" with Ms. LaRoque, displaying his characteristic clear bell of a voice on the chorus. Mr. Luening finished his set with a duet with Mr. DaRosa on the title track from his CD, a catchy pop tune called "Red Flags."

The duet provided a nice segue into Mr. DaRosa's hour-long set. Starting off by saying that he was excited to be playing, his performance bore that out. The eminently likable singer charmed the audience with an easygoing and unassuming manner that belies his huge talent. Mr. DaRosa played many of his most popular songs, a range that covered his many years as a writer and performer on his own and with a variety of Island-based bands.

Erich Luening will release his first CD next month. Photo by Lynn Christoffers
Mr. DaRosa's music is somewhat reminiscent of Dave Matthews. However, in place of gruffness, the Vineyard native has an appealing sweetness to his voice. Mr. DaRosa explained that his three new songs are a departure from his acoustic stylings and he is experimenting more with electronic mixes. Pinto Abrams on electric bass joined the singer for part of the set. The singer also noted that two of the three new songs are more playful and less serious than his previous material.

The show closed with Mr. DaRosa and Mr. Abrams playing the classic Bob Marley tune "Bend Down Low." The irrepressible Mr. Luening joined in from the back of the room. He needed little encouragement from his longtime friend to take the stage, and the evening ended with two of the Island's most distinct voices harmonizing wonderfully. - MV Times


"Brilliant rhythmic interplay gives way to hopped up, John Mayer-esque grooves - …and that dazzling fretwork."

- Garry Carra - The Valley Advocate


"The music glides, dances, floats - pick any metaphor for a mid-speed rhythm underlying gentle melodies with deft percussive punctuation."

- John Stifler - Daily Hampshire Gazette


"Phil Darosa spins bardic tales of greed, indifference and empowerment that would have been welcome additions to 60's era protest rallies, but with a soft and subtle voice that dares you to take a deeper listen.” - Craig Cook - Cityzen.TV


Singer/songwriter Phil DaRosa, formerly of Bathtub Mary and The Frame, sets out solo.


It’s all about his voice. His guitar skills are excellent and his songwriting ability is above average, but his throaty, soulful voice is what makes singer/songwriter Philip DaRosa stand out in a crowd. DaRosa, who’s got long, shiny brown hair and, most of the time, a layer of scruff which gives his boyish good looks a gritty quality, was born and raised on Martha’s Vineyard. He’s now a bona fide Northampton musician, having been a part of the successful—its songs are still played on regional and college radio stations around the country—local band Bathtub Mary, then in groups that were “Bathtub Mary re-tooled.”
The latest of those groups is The Frame, featuring lead singer and guitarist DaRosa, bassist Jackson Smith and lead guitarist and vocalist Jeremy Milligan, both former Bathtub Mary-ites, and drummer Sturgis Cunningham of the Patiokings. DaRosa has also played numerous solo gigs, often as an opening act for musicians including Roger Saloom, jazz wonder Leah Randazzo, Shokazoba and Raq.
DaRosa began his love affair with music while he was still in short pants, taking up the saxophone in elementary school. DaRosa was a typical band geek—he sang in choir, played in the band, and in high school was a member of his school’s elite musical group, the Minnie Singers. A member of that group introduced DaRosa to the guitar in eleventh grade.
The musician began writing his own songs while attending Keene State College, where he received a bachelor’s degree in music theory and composition. His early tunes were a product of his journal entries. DaRosa began rhyming verses in his diary, then setting them to music.
Sometimes, almost magically, a whole song comes to DaRosa at once. “It’s super hard to have spontaneous inspiration all the time,” says DaRosa. “What’s funny is that the feedback from people is more positive on those organic songs than the ones that I put my heart and soul into. People react to that spontaneity, and it’s special.”
After years of playing and composing music with a host of musicians, DaRosa has decided to channel his efforts into pursuing his solo career. “It’s mainly about freedom,” says DaRosa. “But it’s also about the band name situation. We’ve been through all these other band names.”
Also, after acting as booking agent and publicist as well as front man for most of the acts he’s a part of, DaRosa began to wonder “why the band wasn’t just called the Phil DaRosa band.” He decided to create just that.
His debut solo album (DaRosa is leaning toward calling it Better Days) is slated to be released in early September, after which DaRosa will embark on a tour of the Northeast, holding release parties in Northampton, Boston, New York and elsewhere. A portion of the sale proceeds will be donated to charity. “[I want to give] enough so that it makes a difference, but not too much that I can’t make a living,” says DaRosa.
The new album is filled with songs that may make listeners wonder why the guitarist/singer waited so long to embark on this endeavor. DaRosa looks to his earlier influences, like Ani DiFranco and Dave Matthews, as well as his current ones, including Ray LaMontagne, Cold Play and Death Cab for Cutie as inspiration for his upcoming CD. The disc includes songs like “IZMS,” a gritty anthem reminiscent of an ‘80s rock ballad with far less instrumentation. In “So the Story Goes,” reggae-style guitar licks frolic in the background while DaRosa’s voice gets husky and raw around the edges as he sings about life in a very Seinfeldian manner.
But it’s in DaRosa’s slow songs that the layers of his soul are peeled back like an artichoke. In “Scent of Sage,” a song that is at times laid back and at times driving, his rich voice hits all the notes with a rare precision.
A listen on DaRosa’s website, especially to his cover of Ray LaMontagne’s cover of Niles Barkley’s Crazy, quickly reveals a voice that has stayed in the wings for far too long. While his impending album will feature songs with more instrumentation, DaRosa’s bare-bones tunes posted online allow listeners the chance to hear him at his best: alone and unadorned.•

For more information on Phil DaRosa visit:
www.phildarosa.com, www.myspace.com/philipdarosa or
www.tightrecords.com.
- Kendra Thurlow - The Valley Advocate


"The Ubiquitous Demo" is no demo. Bathtub Mary hits the bullseye with this highly listenable (is that a word? - how about "euphonious") recording. Their classical roots show through with their crystal clear harmonics and their arpeggios reminiscent of Ottmar Leibert, or even the classically trained Robby Krieger of The Doors. Their vocals on "The Ubiquitous Demo" are tightly honed. These guys have been around for awhile to produce music of this quality. Perhaps holed up in a Cavern Club in Liverpool or some GI bar in Hamburg? They remind me of Dylan's line in "Hard Rains A Gonna Fall," where he said, "I'll know my song well before I start singin'." These guys know their song well. Thank goodness they have started singing. The song, "Untitled" jumps out as a winner. Reminds me a lot of Quicksilver Messenger Service. That chord progression is straight John Cippolina. Chills. Buy this sucker. - CD Baby Reviewer: Michael Kovacevich


Better Days [Digipak] by Philip DaRosa

Though there is always a certain sense of apprehension when a singer/songwriter decides to launch an album, what needs to be remembered is that so long as the musician does not lose the same focus they apply on stage when they enter the recording studio success can indeed be found. But too often we see musicians attempt to change the music that has found them success on stage and trade it in for what some album executive might think their music should sound like. This is one of the greatest tragedies in music.

Fortunately for us, Phil DaRosa has come onto the music scene in a big way and has gained remarkable success quite quickly with his dynamic live shows. It is those dynamic shows that have made DaRosa many fans and it is those fans that have helped support the success of DaRosa's musical career.

Currently based out of Northampton, Massachusetts, DaRosa has certainly made a name for himself in a big way and the music world is taking note. With performances at places like the Boston Music Festival Battle of the Bands, the Valley Advocate Grand Band Slam and the Utica Music Festival music aficionados are starting to hear more and more of DaRosa and are becoming more impressed with his music each day.

With his new album release entitled Better Days, DaRosa has taken the high energy and quality performance that he exhibits on stage and has produced an album that is fresh and fun to listen to. The music is genuine and the talent is self-evident once the album is listened to. There is a passion for music that infuses itself into the music of DaRosa and what listeners are left with is a high quality album that is solid from start to finish.

Performing with Phil DaRosa on this album were Jackson Smith, Jeremy Milligan and Rupert Sturgis. KaeoFLUX also assisted on this album with the electronic mixing and quality production of the album.

Hard to Tell has a very rhythmic beat that walks the listener into the track and the smooth vocals of DaRosa waltz their way into the track. The slowed and methodic musical accompaniment remains a bit off in the distance allowing the center stage to be taken by the lyrics and vocal performance. The instrumentation does a nice job accentuating the vocal performance and increase in volume and intensity ever so slightly only when they make sense. Toward the end of the track there is an interesting almost electronic mixing of both instrumentation and vocals that is a unique branching out keenly placed into the track.

The track Better Way starts off with a sound reminiscent of a cocktail lounge in a swank hotel in mind. There is a soft and paced sound to the track that gives way to a highlight once again on DaRosa's vocals. It is interesting to see how this album does a nice job bringing an added musical flare to DaRosa's work but still shows that the glue that binds together the music on this album is the voice of Phil DaRosa. The reason why DaRosa has an album out is simply because his music alone is just that good. What tracks like Better Way do is ensure that even when music is infused into the mix what is the highlight of the album is really DaRosa's lyrics and vocals alone.

The album ends nicely with the track Kissing the Storm Away. There is a dynamic musical storm that barrels into the end of the track bringing a nice variation to this track that had not been previously heard on the album. There is certainly an interesting element of studio-ization on this track, but it does not take away from the rest of the album. Rather, it is simply another way for DaRosa to show that he is not afraid musically to take chances and when he does, they often times pay off.

Track listing:

1. Wouldn't I Like
2. Hard to Tell
3. Short Breath
4. Fall for Me
5. Better Way
6. Awake N' Aching
7. A Friend of Mine
8. Revolve
9. Armor
10. So The Story Goes
11. Inspiration
12. The Scent of Sage
13. Izms
14. Kissin' the Storm Away

Though Phil DaRosa certainly is not a household name as of right now, his music is quickly launching itself into more and more CD changers and IPods and his tour schedule is growing more varied and diverse. There is something about his music that makes listeners want to keep listening and the quality of his work could be viewed as inspiring to other musicians. Certainly as he grows more and more, DaRosa will see nothing but Better Days in his future. And with these days proving to be pretty darn good for DaRosa, he better buckle in tightly for an amazing musical future.

Better Days is on the Tight Records label.
- Kevin Bligh


Acoustic guitar-based songs once served as a mere detour for rock bands to show off their sensitive side before returning back to mega-amped rock & roll. But somewhere along the way, artists emerged -- most obviously, Dave Matthews -- who made the instrument a constant and crucial ingredient of their identifiable sound. And singer/guitarist Phil DaRosa certainly specializes in this style, as evidenced by his solo debut, Better Days. Equal parts Matthews and John Mayer, you get an album's worth of acoustic guitar-led ditties that alternate between introspective ("Short Breath"), funky ("Better Way"), pop-like (the album opener "Wouldn't I Like"), and quirky -- in an Edie Brickell & New Bohemians sorta way ("Inspiration"). Better Days shows that the granola-chomping/Birkenstock-sporting crowd now have a new heartthrob on their hands -- Mr. Phil DaRosa.

- Greg Prato


Discography

AWAY [EP] - 2010
(FREE download at http://www.phildarosaband.bandcamp.com )

Solo Debut - Better Days - 2007

The Frame - 4 song EP - '06

Bathtub Mary - Change they Want to See (ol' band) - This Album gets radio play on college and regional stations around The US -

Bathtub Mary - The Ubiquitous Demo -

PattersonEmerson - Self titled EP (Acoustic duo)

The Sofa Kings - Shortly after Dawn (Acoustic trio) -

Photos

Bio

In the great tradition of James Taylor, Paul McCartney and Paul Simon of years past and Dave Matthews, Ray LaMontagne and Adam Levine (of Maroon 5) of the current age, Phil DaRosa is a gifted songwriter, producer and vocalist whose innovative approach to what can be loosely categorized as alternative rock is destined to raise the bar for the new generation of aspiring solo artists.

Phil and his band, The Phil DaRosa Band, won the Western MA/CT Regional Finals of the international 'Emergenza Music Festival/Competition' in the Spring of 2007, showing off their extremely dynamic writing ability, innovative and creative instrumental skills, professional and entertaining stage presence, and great songs.

Whether solo or with a full band, you can be sure you're getting a great musical performance and entertaining experience.

Recectly, DaRosa teamed up with a seasoned Rhythm section including Pinto Abrams (former Bass player and guitarist for '2nd Power') and former drummer of the Regionally known band 'Lucy Vincent', Matty Rosenthal. Moving into Winter Phil will be playing a few sporadic solo showcases around the Northeast, then will hit the road running early January.

Phil's winter Tour is currently being booked starting Early January 2011. He's gearing up to Tour down the East Coast United States, then west towards Austin, Texas and back, hitting all the major cities in between. He's planning on playing a series of House Concerts during this tour as well to meet new people and spread the music into the homes of hopefully 'not-so-strange' strangers.

Band Members