He’s better known for his blues-rock swagger as lead singer and guitarist of Phil Barlow and the Wolf, but he’s changing his tune and embarking on a career as a solo artist swapping gyrations and flirtations for good vibrations and utopian aspirations.
Somewhere between James Bay, Jack Johnson, Van Morrison and Bernard Fanning, you discover an uplifting new sound of indie roots, blues and soul in Phil Barlow’s solo offering.
We caught up with the songwriter about the transition to performing solo and how people are responding.
“On one hand this transition has been liberating and effortless, on the other hand it has been quite challenging,” Phil told Blank Gold Coast.
“Life just kept opening doors and nudging me to explore the solo direction, but I really struggled letting go of driving the band forward like I was. I would say it has been a period of surrender and trust.”
Phil says his new music is a softer, heartfelt expression. Whereas the band brings out the wild, this is an easy-listening yin expression, where space and word become the focus.
“It feels authentic and honest and is coming from a very different place as I go through deep healing and profound connection to life,” Phil said.
And the format seems to be working. Phil says the response has been overwhelming with deep connections with people through sharing the new songs in intimate spaces.
“I am certainty feeling purpose in sharing this music and while I have had challenging moments to trust life as I express my most vulnerable side, the response and how it is feeling is affirming I am on the right path,” he said.
But fans of the rocking blues set need not worry, Phil Barlow and The Wolf is still a going concern, focused on delivering big shows at festivals and smaller venues, including Blues on Broadbeach, Scarborough Originals and Sonny’s House of Blues.
“As a band we are having great creative jams before rehearsals and during shows. We have begun working on new music and recording but are going to take our time. We really want the next album to represent a true creative evolution,” Phil said.
“The band shows are heaps of fun, full of rocks riffs, bluesy tones and tasty bass lines. I love bouncing off the energy of the guys. It’s so great to play with such quality musos. The wilder, festival vibe is so fun too.”
“But I have the best of both worlds now.”
“At the moment I am working hard at refining my solo show and road-testing the new material,” he added.
“In the background I am also writing a lot of new music and will soon select songs I would like to be on the new solo and band albums. I hope to go in the studio later this year. I feel this is a year of preparation.”
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Phil Barlow plays solo 11 August at NightQuarter and 14-15 October at Buskers by the Creek. You can catch the full band, Phil Barlow and the Wolf on 19 August, also at NightQuarter as well as Mitchell creek Rock and Blues Festival on 15 September