Phil Flowers
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Phil Flowers

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Band Folk Singer/Songwriter

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La réalité des scènes musicales indépendantes diffère tellement entre les grands centres urbains et les régions. Pour la musique alternative, la région ce n’est pas nécessairement la campagne, mais la plupart des villes canadiennes. J’inscris Moncton dans cette catégorie. Pendant quelques années, cette région a été la capitale du métal et du punk rock. Les trucs intéressants n’obtenaient pas l’attention et la visibilité méritée. Depuis mon départ de la ville, j’ai parfois l’impression que la scène s’essouffle. Je crois parfois que Fredericton et Halifax détiennent le monopole en matière de musique indé. Avec son premier album solo, “People People”, le monctonien Phil Flowers me rappelle le contraire. Du début à la fin, ce produit réunit les meilleurs éléments de la région.

Si son disque est paru en 2010, c’est cet automne qu’il a obtenu le plus d’intérêt avec trois prix Musique NB. Ce disque mérite ces éloges. La base de Phil Flowers est folk, avec beaucoup de sonorités americana. Dans son interprétation et sa manière d’approcher l’écriture de textes, il retient plutôt du punk rock. Les musiciens qui accompagnent l’auteur-compositeur-interprète semblent avoir leur influence sur cet aspect; ils soutiennent solidement les chansons sans dénaturer l’idée principale de Phil Flowers. Les deux univers se côtoient parfaitement.

Quand Phil Flowers s’aventure en terrain jazz sur “Torpedoes”, cela est fait avec authenticité. C’est la même chose avec le morceau le plus lourd du disque, “Desert Walk”; les chansons ont un impact direct. Il définit lui-même le son qu’il veut se donner de morceau en morceau tout en conservant une ligne directrice qui permet de garder beaucoup de cohérences entre les pièces rock et les instants seuls à la guitare acoustique.

Ce qui distingue Phil Flowers des autres auteurs-compositeurs-interprètes, c’est qu’il maîtrise l’art de l’écriture de chansons. Il fait preuve de retenue et de concision dans ses mélodies et dans ses textes. Au lieu d’ajouter inutilement des ponts et des liens, il se concentre plutôt à bien remplir ses musiques de paroles. Les refrains de “People People” sont moins mémorables que l’écriture métaphorique, imagée et à double sens. En enchaînement les mots comme il le fait, Phil Flowers peut dérouler ses idées de manière précise.

“People People” est un des meilleurs disques à être sorti de la région de Moncton récemment. Ça faisait un bail qu’un album de ce coin était aussi achevé et intelligent. - 500 KHZ


Phil Flowers might be strange, but he’s no stranger to the music scene. A veteran of post-punk projects that have leaked from Moncton over the last several years, Mr. Flowers has spent the last little while carving his craft as something I could only term as post-folk. The release of his first full length, People People, culminates a period through which his job left him in Oromocto hotels rooms in the evenings. Little did his employer know, an acoustic guitar, a typewriter and some whiskey also inhabited his room. The eveningstarted early – for Moncton’s standards – and saw Phil open for himself in a solo performance that included a few numbers from his album. The crowd was well-numbered when the guitar started strumming and his voice began reciting its poetic footwork. The man has ravaged through Kerouac, Ginsberg, Dylan, Thompson and has made a point that he likes to play with words. His short opening set was a great tease for the rest of the evening. - Noisography


"I used to be a bit of punk". That's how Phil Flowers described himself to me last weekend, when we ran into each other at Moncton's Plan B club. It reminded me I still had his CD sitting on the "must listen to immediately" section of my coffee table, which is reserved for new East Coast releases, the hottest new music people are talking about, and of course anything by my big favourites. This is the A pile, and as much as I want it to dwindle, there always seems to be at least a dozen or so in it. So much for the idea that there's no good music being made these days, and that nobody is releasing CD's anymore. There's 50 or so in the B section, and the C pile, well...way too many to think about. Let's say I'm hoping the Canucks can wrap this up in five games, so I can get more listening done.

Right, so Phil's CD has been out for a bit, I got a copy from him at the ECMA's, and my Moncton music friends had told me that everybody was talking about Phil these days. That's a good sign of course. The first thing I noticed was that he didn't look like he used to be a punk, but clothes and music don't necessarily match. So I had to take a listen to his debut, People People, to find out what he's about these days. Hmm, is there such a thing as an acoustic punk? Sure... Phil has a bit of the folk singer in him, strums a mean acoustic guitar, but also plays with a kicking band This ain't Peter, Paul and Mary, this is hard-charging stuff, with that punk edge on display. Most of the ten tracks here are with the full band, known as The Cuban Missile Crisis, although when he does goes acoustic, just him and the guitar and harmonica, it's that rapid-strumming, post Dylan, attitude stuff. For his offical bio, Phil calls himself a singer/songwriter/cynic. My kinda writer.

Words...Phil has lots and lots of words. It's a torrent of words. They're just pouring out of him, those cynical ones, those funny ones, poetic forms, images, scenes and cityscapes. We get the occaisional Moncton mention, like the Tidal Bore reference in the title cut, songs go to dark places of the heart, there's lots to chew over, and Phil has a lot to say obviously. In the cut Torpedoes, with its jazzy feel, the words threaten to turn into scat, he's spitting them out so quickly. There's another hold-over from the punk stuff. I like this mix, because there's an obvious and heavy folk influence, but combining it with the tough stuff, it's even more instense, plus you let the melodies come free, so people can enjoy the song too. If you want some simple comparisons, I think he'd fit in well for fans of Sam Roberts or Matthew Good in this country, maybe some Wilco followers from the U.S. could get into Phil as well.

One of Phil's recurring visual images, in his website, in his ways of describing himself and his music and attitude, is the typewriter. Not the new computer keyboard, but the old-style, big metal keys version. The typewriter of the hard-drinking reporter, the moody poet, the driving songwriter. Hemingway, Kerouac, Dylan. Words, attitude and music, all coming at you with intensity. Yah, that works, that's what you're going to get from Phil Flowers. - CBC


Discography

Phil Flowers - People People (Nov 2010)

People People (2010)
3 Music NB Awards 2011
Anglophone Recording category
Anglophone Male Recording Artist
2011 Rock Recording

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Bio

Phil Flowers was raised in Moncton, NB and studied philosophy at the Université de Moncton. He still lives and works in the Hub City. Following the untimely dissolution of Moncton, New Brunswick’s The Courage of Being, Phil Flowers, armed with resolution and an acoustic guitar, went off on his own with the intention of making music that reflects the anxieties of existence and the integrity of true art thru traditional forms. With the release his debut album, People People (2010), which earned him three Music NB Awards, Phil Flowers did just that. His album was received very positively by his peers and the public, his music likened to Sam Roberts and Wilco; his words to Kerouac and Dylan.

Under the heavy influence of American folk music, blues, and jazz, People People, creates the perfect atmosphere for Flowers’ fiercely imagist lyrics about social heartache, deception, and candour. Influenced by legends such as Bob Dylan, Tom Waits and at times Hank Williams, Phil Flowers is not content with the status quo and challenges the conception of what a singer/songwriter should be. Whether he’s scatting or growling, crooning or pleading, he brings the listener in and carries him along. If you may chance to bear witness to his live show, you will know that there is something effervescent in the atmosphere. With passion and soul, you’ll be brought to the summits of mountains and so far down into the chasms below. You’ll be marked for many days and nights thereafter…