Stephanie White and the NJ Philth Harmonic
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Stephanie White and the NJ Philth Harmonic

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"[Pit News] Philth's fusion succeeds"

Rocks like: Santana, Gin Blossoms

out of
4/5 Stars

There are a lot of groups out there today that call themselves fusion bands but don't exactly live up to the genre title. Stephanie White & the New Jersey Philth Harmonic are an exception.

Their album, Knee Deep InSanity, combines many elements of jazz, blues and rock. Unlike other so-called fusion artists with a preference for a single musical style, The Philth Harmonic manages to merge all of these elements into a graceful and edgy symphony for the ears.

Stephanie White stands out as a great vocal talent who doesn't rely on electronics to project her voice or message.

Apparently, she just missed the cut on American Idol season five. Why she didn't make it is anyone's guess, as her smoky voice delivers the lyrics with a strong and sexy resonance.

White has quite a range, and listening to her croon harmonies is a treat.

The other band mates deserve recognition as well. The remaining group is Eric Lindberg on electric guitar and mandolin, Robbie LaFalce on drums, acoustic guitar, percussion and vox, and Aleks Ozolins on keyboards, French horn and programming.

Chris Staranka chips in on acoustic and electric bass and Matt "Shooby" Schoenebaum plays alto and tenor sax and flute.

One notable aspect is the band members' ability to work with each other's talents and mesh together.

Aside from solos, don't expect to hear any one musical element grabbing the spotlight.

Philth Harmonic's jazzy tunes are relaxing at points, yet can be so in-your-face that listeners might have to submit to their raw power.

Electronics are employed at many points throughout - including disk scratching that accentuates the beat - but are rarely loud enough to be painful or overwhelm the pleasant instrumentals.

One standout track is "Bogged Down," a faster paced jazz song with some fun funk that will make plenty of music lovers bob their heads, and not just in agreement with the song's message.

The track deals with the stresses of everyday life through ironically soothing melodies. Great use of saxophone and flute really ups the jazz ante, all while White delivers the lyrics with sultry panache amongst the electronics and enthusiastic drum beat.

The final track, a surprising bonus track conclusion called "Did I Change You?" actually utilizes some disco influence.

What helps is that the electronic disco isn't overused in an effort to raise the dead.

It serves the sole purpose of providing the song with more musical depth while adding an element of fun.

The only disappointment is that potential listeners might pass on the album because of the fusion term strapped to it.

Many fusion bands have failed in the past because of an overemphasis on one particular genre overtone, but Philth Harmonic tones down the jazz to better mesh with the overall music experience.

Long story short, Knee Deep InSanity plays out like a good book. That is, it features an attention-grabbing introduction, a middle section that keeps you wanting more, and a satisfying conclusion.

Hopefully enthusiasts of any musical genre will give Stephanie White & The New Jersey Philth Harmonic a chance. - Anton Skerl - Pittsburgh University

"[Jersey Beat] Review by Joe Wawzyrniak"


Knee Deep InSanity (

Opening on a nice’n’groovy note with the funky, syncopated slow-drag jazzy number “Girls Have Expenses,” this six piece group blends tasty elements of such diverse music genres as funk, soul, rock, jazz, blues and folk into a highly cool, rich and delicious synthesis. Stephanie White’s amazingly strong and sultry voice totally hits the insanely sexy’n’smoky spot. The hoppin’ arrangements likewise score a bull’s eye, with the mellow saxophones, sprightly keyboards, jaunty acoustic guitars, and sturdy drums keeping things lively, exciting and above all exquisitely harmonic throughout. Highlights include the touching “Teardrops,” the fiercely crunchy’n’punchy “You’re Not Alone,” the graceful ballad “Sustain,” and the wonderfully rousing closing tune “Did I Change You?”. An excellent and most impressive album. -

"[Jersey Beat] Review by - Phil Rainone"

Stephanie White and the New Jersey Philth Harmonic - Knee Deep Insanity


So, if the name of the band is Stephanie White and the Jersey Philth Harmonic, does this mean there may be a New York or Arizona Philth Harmonic out there? Ok, I'm getting a little giddy here. Actually, besides a kind of crappy name for a band, this is an excellent album! The band is "Knee Deep" into rock n' soul music. The press kit describes the band as "A sort of Joss Stone Meets Dave Matthews Band, mash up of organic palatable pop." Well, they got the Dave Matthews comparison right. This is a one of those special bands that can play so tight and on the money, that they actually give the impression that they’re really laid back,and loose. But as far as the Joss Stone vibe, well, they’re not too far off there either. Stephanie White sounds more like Amy Winehouse or Corrine Bailey Rae than Joss. (When it comes to neo-soul, Joss Stone deserves a genre of her own.) I have very few grips about the album. Here and there ("You're Not Alone," and "Tough Enough"), the mix is a little lacking, but otherwise we'll all benefit from a fine, fine album. The opening cut, "Girls Have Expenses" will have you at "Hello." It has everything you'd want in a hit single. A good story line (with tongue in cheek irony) backed by a solid, fluid band. From there the music stays funky and fresh, with very few low points. I think by the time they make their sophomore album, and keep refining their live shows, the Philth Harmonic will be a band to be reckoned with! -

"[Star Ledger] ’Idol’ inspiration"

Stephanie White and the New Jersey Philth Harmonic. Where and when: 9 p.m. Saturday at the Ringside Pub, 379 Bloomfield Ave., Caldwell; 8:30 p.m. April 25 (acoustic set, opening for Vienna Teng) at Outpost in the Burbs at Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 67 Church St., Montclair. How much: $5 in Caldwell; call (973) 226-6781 or visit $17 in advance, $20 day of show in Montclair; call (973) 744-6560 or visit

Making it to the final 42 of "American Idol" in 2006, singer-songwriter Stephanie White got a few moments of national television exposure and, more important, the inspiration to start her own band.

White, 23, of Caldwell, and drummer-songwriter Robbie LaFalce Jr., 24, of Verona, put together the soul-rock group Stephanie White and the New Jersey Philth Harmonic and began playing in New Jersey clubs.

They released their debut album, "Knee Deep InSanity," last year; upcoming gigs include the Ringside Pub in Caldwell, Saturday, and the Outpost in the Burbs in Montclair, April 25. For the latter, they will present a stripped-down acoustic set, with LaFalce on guitar.

LaFalce played in the ska band the Miasmics before starting the Philth Harmonic, whose name plays on New Jersey’s reputation as a grimy state and the band’s large size. Current members include Aleks Ozolins ..boards and French horn, Matt "Shooby" Schoenebaum on saxophone and flute, Chris Staranka on bass and Eric Lindberg on guitar.

White had been writing lyrics before "American Idol" but didn’t have the courage to perform them.

"I couldn’t even imagine getting in front of an audience and singing my own material," she says. "I had been in singing competitions locally for a few years, but other than that, I didn’t really know how to perform in front of an audience because I didn’t have a band and I didn’t have my own music.

"Everyone was pushing me to do this ’American Idol’ thing, because they thought it was the only way. I did it, and I was like, ’You know what, this isn’t the only way. Now I’m going to get my own band, and write my own music.’"

The experience, she says, "really forced me to go, ’I have to do this now. Because I’ll be miserable if I don’t ever perform again.’"

LaFalce, whose drumming White admired, and who had been encouraging her to write songs with him, was free since the Miasmics were going on hiatus. Two years later, they are still on hiatus.

"That means if we ever decide to play again, people can’t get mad at us," says LaFalce.

"Knee Deep InSanity" is a stylistically eclectic album, rooted in rock and R&B, but with frequent jazz and funk twists. One track, "Did I Change You?," even flirts with disco.

White and LaFalce say the band has started to develop its own more distinctive soul-rock sound, and that their next, still-unrecorded album will reflect that.

"Knee Deep InSanity" was "just a display of what we can do," says LaFalce. "You can hear the influences and the different stylings on pretty much every track."

"It was our first effort at feeling each other out, and seeing what we’re capable of," says White.

White says her "American Idol" screen time was so brief that no one ever recognizes her, but adds that sometimes, if she tells people she was on the show, they will claim to remember.

"Robbie and I played this gig last summer, and this woman came up to me after one of our sets. She was asking me to sign an autograph, and she had bought a CD and everything, and she was like ’I know who you are.’ And I was like, ’Really? I was only on TV for, like, 15 seconds.’ And she was like, ’I know who you are. You’re Kelly Clarkson.’"
Jay Lustig may be reached at or at (973) 392-5850 - by Jay Lustig /Star-Ledger Staff


'Knee Deep InSanity'
1. Girls Have Expenses
2. Tough Enough
3. Teardrops
4. You're Not Alone
5. Sustain
6. Bogged Down
7. You Won't Believe
8. Here We Go Again...
9. Rogue
10. Did I Change You? [Bonus Track]

"Knee Deep In Sanity" is the first LP album released by Stephanie White and the New Jersey Philth Harmonic, a soul/rock band with elements of funk and ska. "We were really just looking to create something for people to get familiar with us and our music. It was the first group of songs we wrote together, Robbie and I, so there's no real theme to the album but it makes so much sense." The album features nine tracks, three of which were recorded acoustically in an old forge. Stephanie White and Robbie LaFalce began collaborating upon her return from Hollywood placing as one of the top twenty one overall women on American Idol, season 5. "I'd always wanted to work with him- he had a ska band, "The Miasmics", that played locally and I would go see them and just be amazed with his style of playing and then I found out he wrote much of the material. He's brilliant." The first song they wrote together, "Tough Enough," is a reflection of Stephanie's experience on Idol. "When I came home everyone was apologetic about my return and questioning what I would d o next. I told them I would make my own music and play for whoever would listen- you know- the way they used to do it. I can handle the pressures of the industry, I'm tough enough.
The most intimate song on the album is "Sustain," a rock ballad that displays the innocence and helplessness of losing a loved one to something uncontrollable. On writing the song, Robbie says: "My friend was going through a tough time, knowing that he would lose someone close to him to cancer. I wanted to write a song that portrayed the fear and realness of that experience."
Then there's the love songs- "Here We Go Again" and "Girls Have Expenses" are bluesy, R&B tunes that wail about the mistreatment of love. "You Won't Believe" is a light-hearted acoustic jam about finding your love that lives on the other side of the world- an experience Robbie found while traveling through Europe. "Teardrops" is a folk-waltz fairytale with an unhappy ending, a song based on Stephanie's first love. "Then one dark day it came/ my prince masked by his shame/ 'cause he knew he couldn't stay/ but he rescued me anyway." "You're Not Alone" is a rock jam about not being able to get through to someone because they put up their guard to the world.
"Bogged Down" is an up-tempo funk that deals with the pressure of everyday stresses. "Robbie started writing this one, and ironically enough, didn't have time to finish it. So I added the last 2 verses and we worked it out together. It's an encouraging song that everyone can relate to- everyone's racing against the clock at one time or another, or all the time."
“Rogue” is a track that Robbie wrote about a girl, by using an allegory of the Marvel Comic book character of the same name. It’s a punchy bluegrassy/pop song with a very acoustic flair, featuring upright bass and a beautiful soprano saxophone solo – Stephanie’s voice really shines as she tells the story of a woman too beautiful to be touched.
"Did I Change You" is the last track on the album. This fist-pumping disco song wails about an old love and questions whether the end of the romance was the reason for their ex's current misery. "It's amazing- the impact you can have on other people, so you have to wonder after a relationship ends, if you are the reason for that person's change in character."
What brings the album together is the incredible musicianship that all the band members bring individually to the table – putting their own flair on their own parts and making the songs come alive.



Stephanie White and Robbie LaFalce, Jr. are the founding members of Stephanie White and the New Jersey Philth Harmonic – a six piece Soul/Rock/Funk/Folk group from Essex County, NJ. Their debut album Knee Deep InSanity was independently released in October of 2007 and has sold over 1,000 copies to date. Previously, Stephanie was an award winning singer and finished as one of the top 21 females in American Idol’s season 5. Robbie was writing, recording and performing with his previous band and finishing up a degree in music education. Now, the two have converged on the same dream and have crafted some truly original and captivating music. Their sound has been described as a sort of “Joss Stone meets Dave Matthews Band” mash up of organic palatable pop.
Stephanie and Robbie regularly perform as an acoustic duo. Robbie plays acoustic guitar/piano and Stephanie melts audiences with her incredible voice. They perform both original music from their album (as well as unreleased) and a wide variety of cover songs.
A few of the most requested covers that they perform include;
“A Long Walk” – By Jill Scott
“Sir Duke” – By Stevie Wonder
“At Last” – By Etta James
Important facts;
• Since the album release on October 12th , 2007 the band has sold almost 1,000 copies of Knee Deep InSanity on their own and through their CDbaby page/Itunes/Rhapsody/etc.
• To date the band has over 5,000 unique friends on Myspace and growing.
• Presently there are several hundred fans signed up on the official mailing list and growing as well.

Currently they are booking for 2009 and are available in both acoustic and electric/full band form.