Sam Phillips To Release 10th Studio Album WORLD ON STICKS This Friday
Sam Phillips conjured up her 10th studio album, World on Sticks, in between making music for television (Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life for Netflix and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel for Amazon). Jay Bellerose (drums), Jennifer Condos (bass), and Eric Gorfain (multi-instrumentalist/arranger) were joined by special guests Jon Brion (bass/guitar), Chris Bruce (guitar) and The Section Quartet (strings) for these recordings that swing from broken modern sounds to dreamy, cinematic music.
The songwriter's unusual voice is surrounded by big drums and beautiful strings as she makes her way through a world thrown off balance by excessive greed, speed, pollution and power. "Troubles on the outside can be reflections of troubles on the inside. We hand big business and big tech the keys when we accept their definitions and dreams of the good life, of beauty, of success, instead of creating our own. As I wrote these songs I wanted to look at our lost connections...with nature, with mystery, with other humans and parts of ourselves," Phillips explains. "Watching a tree suffer through the California drought last summer made me feel for him. I wondered if it was painful or difficult for him to sprout leaves in the spring after such a dry year. I spent a few minutes with him every day. As I was standing in front of him, the words 'Walking Tree' popped into my head. I imagined this was his name for me...a name that reached out with empathy for my conflicting desires to be both rooted and free. Maybe he felt for me because of my short life and fast-spinning mind...not taking enough time to realize that I'm here to be a loving part of all this."
Harm done to the environment is a reoccurring concern throughout the album. "American Landfill Kings" was written after Phillips' father died and she was cleaning out his home. "At the end of my dad's life, his dementia manifested itself as hoarding and chaos where he lived. If one person in a small place could leave behind so much unwanted, unusable stuff, how much more trash are the rest of us assembling in our lives? This is deeply affecting the way I look at owning and collecting things. I don't want to leave behind another American landfill when my time on the planet is up."
In a video for the single "How Much Is Enough", Sam collaborated with writer/director Dave Rygalski (former writer for both David Letterman and Jay Leno) stringing together jittery film clips of word and picture collages she made using vintage album covers. Phillips calls the agitated footage "jittervids" and Rygalski set them to the song's sly question.
Though the title World on Sticks suggests a gloomy view of the world, Phillips uses the phrase affectionately in the title song's lyric when she says "our world on sticks so brave so small / I'm ready for the works so let's have it all". She may not want to live here forever, as she says in "Roll Em", a dark Mancini-like song about a sociopath, but Sam ends the album with the assertion that, "If only / with candles and stars / And broken light from dreams like ours / we will still find our way through / to love."
WORLD OF STICKS
1. Walking Trees
2. World on Sticks
3. Tears in the Ground
4. American Landfill Kings
5. How Much Is Enough
6. Different Shades of Light
7. I Want to Be You
8. Roll em
11.Candles and Stars
Produced by Sam Phillips
Recorded and mixed by Eric Gorfain
All songs written by Sam Phillips, except "World on Sticks", "I Want to Be You" and "Continuous Limit" written by Sam Phillips and Jay Bellerose