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Instruments keep musician fresh

Shane Philip returns with one-man grooves and new tunes
Kyle Wells

Shane Philip is returning to Powell River to play at the Italian Hall on Friday, January 28 and he’s bringing his usual array of instruments to get people up and out on the dance floor.

Philip, who lives on Quadra Island, is touring in promotion of his new album Life.Love.Music, a collection of songs recorded with fellow musician Joby Baker. This is the first time someone has collaborated on one of Philip’s albums and the two recorded the album in eight days, an epic session compared to Philip’s usual two-day stints.

The album incorporates Philip’s usual hybrid mix of a variety of genres and influences, including rock, reggae, blues, world and folk. Philip said the album is a slight departure from his past works, that he has scaled down the didgeridoo and turned up the rock and reggae feel with Baker on bass and drums, giving the album more of a full band feel. It also features his first cover, a heavy, electric guitar-driven version of Bob Marley’s “Exodus.”

Philip is touring by himself but said he is able to recreate the sound of the album pretty well considering the tunes are down one set of hands. Philip is truly a one-man show as he plays guitar, drums, didgeridoo and everything else to create his full sound. He gets bored easily and half-jokingly commented maybe that’s why he plays so many instruments.

A new member of his repertoire is the ukulele, an instrument he picked up during a trip to Hawaii. Three songs off the album are based around the ukulele and Philip has been enjoying playing around with his new toy. Having a new voice, as Philip calls it, helps him write songs from a different starting point and keeps things fresh.

Philip believes he has played Powell River three times before and he always enjoys his visits here. He sold out the Italian Club last time and said he is always stoked about the energy of the crowd that comes out.

“I always get a great turnout of funky, crazy dancing people, and I love that,” said Philip. “I ask for nothing less than that.”

Although he’ll be focusing on tracks off the new album, Philip enjoys lengthening the songs for dancing and improvising while on stage. Philip feeds off the energy of a crowd, letting them influence how the song will progress or how long it will continue. His songs take on new life live and they come out different every time he plays them.

“I watch the dancers. I can see they want to keep going and I want to keep going and then next thing you know the song changes and keeps going,” said Philip. “That makes it exciting for an audience and for me...I’ll never get tired of a song because it’s always morphing into something else.”

A delight for both the ears and mind is promised by Philip, who said a commitment to both themes and sound makes his music both interesting to listen to and fun to move along with. Making the event extra special is that it will be Philip’s birthday, a fact that Philip failed to mention but that will give concertgoers even more reason to celebrate.

Tickets are $15, available at Ecossentials on Marine Avenue, at the door or online at Neko Rei will open and deejays Westerley and Jacob Krauss will close the night. Show starts at 8 pm.