Got a good one from waayyy down and left of middle Tennessee. New Zealander, Phil Stoodley’s debut solo record No Surprise flew in from down under down under like a bird from paradise, and landed itself gracefully in my headset with treats and goodies gathered with care for the birds waiting back in the nest. Stoodley has traveled a good part of the world and is back in his independent home studio working full time as a musician and blowing minds.
“Grace,” yeah, that’s a good word to pretty much sum things up right from the start. Polished and smooth, it doesn’t matter what stylistic turn Phil decides to take – from acousti-pop-folk to euro-tech, rock or bossa nova – the music glides as effortlessly as a the aforementioned bird riding the currents of a warm blue sky.
One of my first thoughts was Allan Parsons, but mixed up with one of those new bands. Then my good buddy Stephen walked in on the middle of a track and said, “sounds like Mumford and Sons, but oh, hey now there’s some Paul McCartney stylings!” Then there were bits like ELO or Frampton… and, “Wow, this is awesome!”
This cat’s got taste, and chops and production and song-writing just nailed. He should; with the list of cred under his belt.
Come the early 2000s Phil was touring the UK, Europe, US and Asia as a session player for one of New Zealand’s best loved and multi platinum selling band’s The Feelers.
A number of other successful musical ventures followed; Phil brought together and fronted the rock band STOODS, winners of the New Zealand Battle of the Bands, which also found him scooping up the “Best Songwriter” and “Best Singer” awards. Phil’s various musical projects went on to support a number of leading international bands such as Velvet Revolver, Simple Minds and Neil Finn.
That’s just a bit of it…
While is was spinning No Surprise for the first time, I sent Phil a quick note saying that I had no idea what to write about it, but that it’s crazy good. I’m still there, the more I listen, the more I like it, but just can’t put it into any other words than these:
If you don’t take him up on the offer of a free download and add No Surprise to your playlists, you’re nuts. After you listen a few times, I’ll wager that you go back and hit the Donate Button. That’s pretty much all I got to say about that.