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The best kept secret in music

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"cd review"

Chicago blues lives and lives well in Central Pennslvania's Ash and Aaron Phipps, better known as The Phipps Brothers. A favorite at local Harley-Davidson rallies, bar and grills and just about any other stage. The Phipps Brothers have put out their self-titled cd (August 2001) of 10 original blues songs.

The cd opens with "No More Hanging Around" a conventional blues song exhibiting the Phipps' musical ablities as well as admirable lyric writing. Don't expect the rest of the cd to be so predictable, though. The Phipps Brothers support themselves only by playing music, often four or five nights a week, in and around the the Mid-Atlantic and it shows. These guys are excellent musicians.

Aaron's guitar cries ala Double Trouble and Ash's hearty bass and unbelievably rich vocals, much like Indigenous, cleave out the rythums of traditional American blues songs like "Set Me On Fire", "Drive Me Down" and "Boozin' & Bluezin".The Phipps' influeneces are fairly apparent in other songs: Jimi Hendrix in "Ain't Life So Hard", The Allman Brothers in "Zoo" and spookily dead-on Greatful Dead in "Greatest Hits Kinda Girl". But the Phipps' truly great sounds come from their amazing instrumentals, "Work Song" and "Still As Free".

"Still As Free" is one of the most suberb blues instrumentals to have been recorded in a long time. In it, the strutting bass slides under the sass of the tenor sax and the Bohemian cadence of the congas while the sweet guitar wails. The method and timing with which each piece is introduced verges on perfection, and the celebratory interjections of band members just add one more layer.

The sultry pulse of "Work Song" spreads itself like hot jam. The Spanish guitar and castanets-like percussion brings to mind a dusty scenne where a lone girl dances in a desert saloon while the sun sets. I can see it melting the average hard-boiled crowd into a satisfied soup of soothed beasts, intoxicated by the melody.

The Phipps Brothers is a well-produced, enjoyable cd. It sets a mood off in one's soul that yearns for the romantic, roughneck nostalgia of roadhouses and songs that make pretty women dance.

The Phipps Brothers' cd is sold at the band's live shows and on-line at www.phippsbrothers.com, Amazon.com and deltablues.com.

webmaster note;
just to set the record straight, J.J. Dugan sang lead on "Set Me On Fire" and "Drive Me Down". Aaron also sang with Ash on "Boozin' & Bluezin' ")
David Banyas - Fly Magazine (Feb 1, 2002) - fly magazine


"feature article"

They haven't been on the scene long, but the York-based Phipps Brothers are striving to fill some mighty big shoes. Although only a quartet, the group is heavily influenced by Chicago blues and bands such as the Allman Brothers and the Grateful Dead, whose members far exceed just four guys. Packaging such "big" sounds into a small parcel has proven to be a musical challenge for the group, but, judging by an increasing fan base, something seems to be working.

The Phipps Brothers feature Ashley Phipps on bass and lead vocals, his brother Aaron on lead guitar and vocals, Bob Turk on drums and backing vocals, and Willie Gibbons on harmonica. Ashley Phipps explains that his band seeks out the most important musical parts of a particular song to recreate it in their own way. "You have to find the 'soul' of the song-the sounds that are most important to the true feel of it. Sometimes it may be a signature guitar part or keyboard, but the original band may have had three guitarists and we don't. So, you have to pull the most important parts from each of their lines and forge that into something unique that's gonna bring the main mood of the song across."

Although you may hear a Band song or an Allmans tune during a Phipps Brothers' show, Phipps insists his group is not a cover band. "We do some covers of a lot of bands like the Allman Brothers or the Dead, but we have our own sound that's distinctly different in tone and approach," he says. "You have to realize, we're not a 'jukebox band'. You're not gonna hear note-for-note versions of a Dead song. For instance, we might play 'Dreams I'll Never See' by the Allman Brothers and it may really surprise you that just four guys can recreate what seven guys did in our own way, and you won't miss the organ or you won't miss

the slide guitar. And the main reason why that comes across is energy and a basic musical understanding of what the original musicians envisioned." The Phipps Brothers play a number of original songs each night, and are trying to increase this amount, but, Phipps says, "I don't think at any point we'll become a 100 percent original band. The main reason for that is that, as a band, you're constantly exposing yourself to new fans, and I feel the covers we do are a bridge between what people know and where we're coming from. We want people to know who our influences are so they can relate to our originals better."

Although Phipps is a bassist, he is also his group's primary songwriter which is a unique situation. Because of his knowledge of rhythmic structures, he creates his songs in a much different way than a guitarist might. He explains that each song is based on a general chord progression. "I get a basic idea of what I want to do and have to bear in mind what the guitar and harmonica might be doing. I then take the idea to the band, and sometimes the groove that ends up coming out is totally different than what I imagined," he says.

Phipps is a voracious reader who says he jots down lyrical bits and pieces all the time, and sometimes composes complete lyrics at one sitting. His writing is most influenced by what he reads, which consists mainly of the Beat poets, existential literature and biographies of musicians. "Throw the TV away," he jokes. "I love to read. The more I read, the more lyrical ideas come to mind." An improvisational element is important in both the Phipps Brothers' originals and covers, but Phipps says his group doesn't take experimentation to the extreme. "We do like to jam on stage, but we're not necessarily a 'jam band' in that we don't go on and on," he explains. "True, a normal three minute song may get stretched to six minutes, but we don't do a lot of excessive 'noodling'."

Like most bands, Phipps finds that the type of club in which he is playing, as well as the audience's reaction often drives their sound on any given night. "First off," says Phipps, "The same set at Granfalloons [in York] may sound totally different at a club like the Blue Star [in Lancaster]. Different crowds, different rooms, even a different region all determine this."

Phipps says his band enjoys playing for all types of crowds of every age, and he can't really describe a "typical" Phipps Brothers fan. "I just like to play for anybody who is having a good time," he says. "It doesn't matter whether they drove there in a Cadillac or a Harley or a Saab...we get all kinds."

The Phipps Brothers play mostly throughout Pennsylvania, but are trying to become accepted in larger cities, such as Baltimore. Phipps explains that it's difficult, though, to attract a lot of attention from distant club owners who may not be familiar with his band. Partly because of this, Phipps also performs in an acoustic duo with his brother Aaron. He finds this often helps gain recognition for his band in different towns. "If you don't have friends who are guaranteed to come out to see you in a new area, it helps to have a side project," he states. "Club owners are scared. They may see our package and know we're serious, but if they think we don't have a big following in their area they're scared to take a chance. They don't know us and they don't know the band can draw a crowd."

Unlike most unsigned bands, the Phipps Brothers support themselves entirely by music alone, and their professional drive is unmistakable. The group is hoping to eventually attract the attention of a small record label or booking agent that could provide some stability and financial backing, and Phipps states he is "willing to do all that's necessary to continue playing. I would go anywhere, anytime, any place that I had to, and it's the same way with the rest of the band."

Now in his late 20s, Phipps acknowledges that his commitment to music is very strong. While some musicians complain about sacrifices they have made, he prefers to dwell on more positive aspects of his career. "I've already made what they call 'sacrifices' for my music time and again...You know, at times, I've lived on macaroni and cheese in the box, and at other times, I've been able to eat out every night. It all depends on how business is going. Things have been really good for the last year, and they seem to be going in the right direction. But as far as sacrifices... there's no choice for me; I don't have any gut-wrenching ordeals or decisions I've had to make for music. I've been in other bands where the band wasn't a number one priority, but that's not the case with what we're doing. That's why we're all together; we've made the commitment to the band."
Dorissa Bolinski - Fly Magazine (Jan 1, 1999) - fly magazine


"A Brilliant Concoction"

What do you get when you blend the talent of two musician brothers, who have played together since "as long aas the can remeber" and add a touch of new-to-the-band talent? You get an accomplished and well followed group that kicks ass when they get out on stage!

This brilliant concoction I'm referring to is known as the Phipps Brothers. Included in the band are brothers Ash and Aaron Phipps AND newset member J.J. Dugan (doesn't that sound like a rocker's name?). Ash, 30, plays bass sings lead vocals and harmonies and writes all thier original songs- lyrics and music. Aaron, 26, plays lead guitar and sings both lead and back-up vocals. Newest member J.J. plays drums and sings lead vocals and high range harmonies as well. Maybe that's what makes these guys so incredibly great sounding. How often do you find three guys from the same band who can all sing, whether it be harmoinies or lead vocals?

Classified as a Phunky, Soulful, Blues Rock Band, Phipps Brothers play some cover material but "not the jukebox version. We interpret the song in our own way. For example, we'll play a Beatles song with a Buddy Miles feel." This band definitely has Blues, Southern Rock and Jazz influences that jump out at you the minute they start playing.

I personally witnessed how these guys can throw in thier improvised version of a cover song and quickly catch the undivided attention of the crowd, because of thier personal touches to the song. When I took a quick look around the room, Inoticed that everyone was "getting a goove on" to the phunky beat they were playing.

Ash and Aaron formed the Phipps Brothers in 1996 and on the average, they paly at 4 or 5 venues a week. That's alot of travelling and I asked Ash what the motivation was to play so often. Ash quoted bassist Berry Oakley who said, " There's apoint in every show where something happens with the audience when everything starts to click- the Euphoria, the Rush- and that's the fever!" It's the fever and love of music that keeps them coming back for more, not the money. " We'd almost play for free, we get paid to bring our equipment in and tear it down. We play for the fever!", joked Ash. J.J. described Ash as a "music junkie, he has every book possible on music and he loves to read. He'll read everything and anything that has to do with music but he won't watch TV." Ash admitted that he's not a fan of MTV'S music videos. " I think the whole MTV thing is bullshit! It's as if you don't have to be good as much as you have to look good, that's bullshit!"

Ash says that over the years he and his brother have learned from other bands; " things like professionalism and to throw the ego away and that there is more to connecting to your audience than just playing the music they want to hear."

Currently the Phipps Brothers are working on their first cd which they hope will boost them into becoming more of a regional and even national band. If you liked them before, just wait until you hear the new and improved Phipps Brothers. These guys will knock your socks off! - NIGHT LIFE MONTHLY


"The Phipps Brothers Sing The Blues"

The Phipps Brothers will bring its brand of blues classics and originals to three area venues this week-end.

Emerson's pub in Columbia will host the trio tonight, the Boonedock's in Glen Rock tommorrow and the Schoolhouse Tavern in York Saturday.

Aaron Phipps, Ash Phipps and Bob Turk play blues covers of Albert King and Muddy Waters plus the rock classics of the Allman Brothers, The Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan.

"I hope our music appeals to anyone who likes the blues in any form" said bass player and vocalist Ash Phipps who also writes most of their material.
"I do about 90% of the lyric and music writing. But the sound defintely evolves through playing them with the band and working out the arrangements together. The original songs have some jazz and blues influences and a late 60's feel, but we don't limit ourselves to one certain style." he said.

"They're something we're going to focus on more than ever ," said Turk."The hard road of covers is the biggest challenge," he said. "They're great, but having your own songs crosses the threshold."

"By mixing original music and cover songs the audience can get the interconnection between the old stuff and ours. We're currently working on a demo tape. We have a large number of live tapes from shows, which we have made a sample of to help us get other gigs." Ash said.

Aaron Phipps , 23 said he's been playing guitar since he was 8 and started performing at 13. prior to forming the band, Aaron said he studied guitar from Micheal Henry Mundios for about three years. Then went down south for a while and checked things out.

"It's fun to hear what he gets out of his guitar, there's a signature tone that he can get it's all in the fingers." Ash said.
Ash is a former member of the show band, Chris Wade & All The King's Men and the original act, Gravity of which Turk was also a member.

Turk joined up with the Phipps Brothers two years ago as a drummer. "He's funky and plays a real danceable beat. I like pretty much everything Bob does. He hits the high vocals and is a well-rounded player." said Aaron.

The Phipps Brothers sometimes play
coffeehouses and open mike nights with acoustic sets.

The Phipps Brothers will be playing at The Schoolhouse Tavern on Sherman Street in York on the first Saturday of each month. - YORK DISPATCH


"Guaranteed good times"


"We do songs from the Allman Brothers, from Traffic, from Santana. We do some Grateful Dead, The Band and Bob Dylan, " says Ash Phipps, bassist and lead vocalsist for The Phipps Brothers. "It's a lot of stuff from about '67 to '77. It's mostly concentrated on the late '60's-British invasion and San Francisco sounds." In adition, the group covers blues music from artists including Albert King, B.B. King and Muddy Waters plus they perform about a set's worth of originals, which Phipps says are influenced by the cover material played.

Although most of their show consists of other people's music, he explains that the group does more than just recreate the originally-recorded songs. "We take an original approach to everything we do-the blues, the covers, everything," he states. "We have our own sound and all the covers that we do, it's us doing those songs. We're not a jukebox."

Joining Phipps in the trio are his brother Aaron on lead guitar and vocals, and Bob Turk on drums and vocals. Occasionally, the band will also feature Jeph Rebert on percussion. While Phipps says the band has done some recording and is interested in making a cd in the future he stresses that the group's main emphasis is performing live. "Live is where it's at. You get the crowd response, you get the more inspired performances. Performing live is what it's all about. That's why we're together."
The York-based band formed about two years ago and currently performs throughout central and southern Pa. At all their performances, Phipps says he promise something to the crowd. "I can tell you your going to be amazed when you see us. Your going to think we're the best band in the world and blah, blah, blah. It's all hype," he says. "But one thing i can say is, if you come and see us, I can guarantee you're going to have a good time...When people come out and see us, they get happy, They have a good time." - BARFLY MONTHLY


""Playing music together is what we do...It just comes natural to us"

The Phipps Brothers
Established: 1996
Type of music: Blues/rock with some jazz, Southern rock and funk elements.
Members: Ash Phipps (bass and vocals) Aaron Phipps (guitar and vocals), Dave Iacavone (drums and congas).
Contact: Check out thier website at www.phippsbrothers.net, e-mail: bigbrother@phippsbrothers.net or call 717-334-2947.
Behind the music: Brothers Ash and Aaron have been playing music since they were kids. According to the band's Website, "Music is thier lives. They have consistently performed over 200 shows a year, on the eastern seaboard and the U.S. Virgin Islands since 1996. They have performed live on all the network TV stations in thier native central Pennsylvania.
"Since 200 they have been the house band for Battlefield Harley-Davidson/Buell, (one of the largest motorcycle dealerships in the U.S.), located in Gettysburg. They have opened for national acts, including Big Brother and the Holding Company, Jefferson Starship, Leon Russell, Dave Mason and Edgar Winter.
Making it work: "Playing music together is what we do...It just comes natural to us," Ash said. " Going out on stage is just a natural thing" - Going Out Cumberland Valley's Weekend Survival Guide


"Open Up Your Mind to The Phipps Brothers"

It's about two brothers, playing bass and guitar since they were young kids. Brought up in a musical family, Ash and Aaron Phipps are 2/3 of the Phipps Brothers Band. At 27, Ash Phipps is an accomplished musician on the 5-string bass, sings lead on most of their songs, and writes all their original compositions.

Aaron, the younger of the brothers, plays lead guitar and sings back-up vocals. And The Phipps Brothers would not be complete without Bob Turk on drums and back-ups!

The group formed about a year and a half ago-Bob and Ash had played together in a another band before, and Aaron and Ash had done acoustis work as the The Phipps Brothers along with being in other bands since their early days.

So what kind of show can you expect when you see the Phipps Brothers Band live? Well, let me say that these guys are not a band trying to sound like the jukebox. They play the songs you know, with their own sound. Typically, you'll hear classic rock from about "68 to "75...including the Doors, Santana, Grateful Dead...with lots of blues mixed in. You can tell the guys are having a good time while they perform, and they'll make sure you have one too! in all the shows they've done there have never been any fights or complaints...sounds like they're doing all the right things!
The Phipps Brothers Band can be seen and heard all around South Central PA and beyond. York, Columbia, Glen Rock, Elizabethtown. They've also aquired quite a following in State College, PA as well. Open up your mind to The Phipps Brothers spin on your classic rock favorites...they guarantee if you come see them, you'll have a good time!onthly - Night Life Monthly


"tv & radio"

we have performed live on wgal channel 8 nbc lancaster, pa (3 times), abc 27 harrisburg, pa (twice) and fox 43 york

plus we have been interviewed and performed live on the #1 am morning show in us 910 wsba with ruth o'brien.

ash has also been interviewed on 98 rock baltimore morning show with kurt, mark and lopez - nbc,abc,fox


Discography

THE PHIPPS BROTHERS(debut)
1st studio cd released (2001) songs: NO MORE HANGIN' AROUND, DRIVE ME DOWN , GREATEST HITS KINDA GIRL, STILL AS FREE, AIN'T LIFE SO HARD, NEXT IN LINE , BOOZIN' & BLUEZIN', ZOO, SET ME ON FIRE , WORK SONG
PHATHEAD - cd single plus bonus live tracks-$5
CD single of the original, instrumental song "PHATHEAD" from the new cd "No Labels, No Laws" (to be released christmas '05) plus four bonus live tracks recorded at A.B.A.T.E. of PA Highlander Chapter's clubhouse 10/04.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

THE PHIPPS BROTHERS
The Phipps Brothers have been playing music all of their lives. They have appeared on or in every t.v., radio station and newspaper in thier native central PA.

Doing over 200 shows a year since 1996, they have also toured NJ, MD, VA, OUTER BANKS, NC and the U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS.

Since 2000, they have been the house band for one of the largest HARLEY- DAVIDSON dealerships in the country,
BATTLEFIELD HARLEY-DAVIDSON/BUELL
in Gettysburg, PA.
They have shared the bill with many of rock's all time greats including; BIG BROTHER AND THE HOLDING COMPANY, LEON RUSSELL, EDGAR WINTER, JEFFERSON STARSHIP and DAVE MASON.

In 2000 they recorded with producer/f.o.e. TOM "T-BONE" EDMONDS (LENNY KRAVITZ, THE CULT and others)
In AUGUST 2001 they released their self-titled 10 original song cd.

In JANUARY 2005 they released the CD single "PHATHEAD"
The Phipps Brothers are currently mixing 12 original tracks for a new cd
"No Label, No Laws" .

AARON PHIPPS - guitar & vocals
Aaron has been playing the guitar since the age of five.

As a young boy he was taught by Michael Henry Mundus (a master in the John Mclaughlin style of jazz rock fusion and the Carlos Santana style of afro cuban blues.)

With his brother Ash he is a co-founding member / co-owner of the trademark The Phipps Brothers and has recorded with producer/engineer/ f.o.e. Tom T-bone Edmonds (Lenny Kravitz, The Cult and more) for thier debut cd, released in 2001.

Aaron rides his Harley-Davidson where ever he goes and night after night he proves himself to be one of the best lead guitarist in the world.

ASH PHIPPS - bass, vocals, producer
Ash has been a working professional in the music industry for last 15 years.
He has met some of the most famous
and worked with some the most respected names in the music world including;
Dennis Chambers
(drummer Santana, Steely Dan)
Matt Garrison (world class jazz bassist)
Lenny Kravitz, (mega-superstar)
Mark Seliger (rolling stone magazine photo editor and singer/songwriter)
Howard Stern (media personality)
Alex Orbison (drummer Blue Floyd, son of Roy Orbison)
John Oram (Father of British Eq, designer of the TRIDENT series 80 console, inventor of British Analog Mastering and friend)
plus many others.

Since 2003 he has worked at Racetrack Sound Studios in Gettysburg, PA and has produced, mixed and or played bass on releases for;
BRICK X BRICK recording artists:
Black-Eyed Susan -"Step Inside"
(co- producer/engineer)
Lane Whigham- "Blue Collar Blue"
(producer)

Los Angeles based REALIZE RECORDS;
PAUL LEWIS- "Trading Horror Stories"
(co-engineer and played bass on
"Breaking Glass" and "Bittersweet'')
Tribute To THE POLICE
(co-engineer and played bass on "Message in a Bottle" and "Walking on the Moon")

Washington D.C. based TOP SHELF JAZZ;
RICK WURZBACHER-Live featuring JOEY DeFRANCESCO
(mastering assistant)
and many others.

DAVE IACAVONE - drums, congas
A natural born talent, Dave is the son of jazz multi-instrumentalist Dominic Iacavone(music thru science, tom colgan trio).
He grew up playing drums with his dad in various bands.

In September of 2003 Dave joined The Phipps Brothers.

In 2004 & 2005 he recorded all of the drum tracks for the new Phipps Brothers cd "No Labels, No Laws".