On Friday May 20th, Danny Zelisko Presents brought two Phoenix favorites back to town at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts. It was the long awaited return of Shawn Phillips with special guest and local artist Roger Clyne. The show started with Roger Clyne for about 45 minutes. After a stage change, Shawn Phillips played for 2 hours. It was an evening of two different styles of rock music. Roger and his band played a very upbeat and energetic flavor of rock, while Shawn did a laid-back solo performance.
Somehow over the past 20 years I have never seen Roger Clyne and his bands. Boy was I surprised and happy. I love basic rock music (love classic rock) and Roger did not disappoint. He has an early Eagles quality and style to his music, with a dash of Southern Arizona/Mexican flavor in his sound and lyrics. The band’s style has been described as, “cross genres with songs showing an Adult Alternative Rock/Pop/Americana/Reggae/Mariachi influence”, but Roger simply states they are a “Bar Band.” Normally Roger has the entire band, “Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers (RCPM)”, but tonight they had a very simple lineup of Roger Clyne doing vocals and playing acoustic guitar, Thomas Laufenberg on electric guitar and P.H. Naffah on drums. Two of my favorite songs from the night were California Breakdown and Heaven on a Paper Plate. This is one of those bands that you need to see live to really appreciate. Roger had energy and passion and Thomas was outstanding on lead electric guitar. If you get a chance to see RCPM, please go – I personally cannot wait to see them again.
Roger Clyne’s Set List: (Album)
Maybe We Should Fall In Love (No More Beautiful World)
Tell Your Momma (Honky Tonk Union)
Mekong (Fizzy Fuzzy, Big and Buzzy)
Marie (Unida Cantina)
California Breakdown (The Independent)
Sleep Like A Baby (Sonoran Hope and Madness)
Green& Dumb (Honky Tonk Union)
Never Thought (Honky Tonk Union)
Banditos (Fizzy Fuzzy, Big and Buzzy)
Heaven on a Paper Plate (Unida Cantina)
I grew up in the 60’s and my music listening started with Motown and folk rock. I listened to CSN, Donovan, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Mamas and Papas. In the later 60’s and 70’s I moved to more heavy rock with the Stones, Deep Purple, The Who, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. But I still have a deep love of folk rock as my guilty pleasure. In the 70’s, I moved to Phoenix and I was lucky enough to go to a lot of concerts when tickets were only $5. At the time, the Celebrity Theatre was the premier venue for small concerts. This is where I saw Shawn for the first time. I had no idea who he was or his style of music, but the ticket was cheap and I had a friend going. Having zero musical ability, I really appreciate people that are blessed with it. Shawn is one of those rare people that can both write and play beautifully complex music. I loved his style of folk rock music and over the 70’s I saw him at least five times. His Rumplestiltskin’s Resolve concert was one of my favorites.
Somehow I lost track of Shawn after the 70’s. When I saw that he was coming back, I had to go to see if the magic was still there. I was concerned when I saw he was doing a solo performance, since in the past he always had a band with him. I did not know if he would be able to play all of his music or was only going to do an acoustic version of his songs. The stage was setup with a chair and 8 guitars, 1 bass, 1 acoustic and 6 electric guitars. When he first started to play, I assumed he was using a backing track to provide the percussion and other guitar tracks. I later learned that only the percussion section was a backing track. All of the guitar notes were done by Shawn in real time. According to Shawn, “That includes the brass at the end of the first song and the orchestral string section in the 3rd song of the 3 ballads I sang in sequence. This was the midi guitar going through a Roland GR 20.” There were sometimes 3 or 4 layers of guitar sequences in each song and Shawn played them all. The real trick was he needed to loop and sequence them together to make the music sound great. After understanding what he did, I was even more impressed by the musical ability and engineering that went into the show. Two of my favorite songs were Everything She Gives Me and the 3 song ballad, L Ballade / Ascent / Motes of Dust. Shawn is in the process of creating a new album which should be out this year. If you like folk rock music then I believe you will enjoy this show.
Shawn’s Set List: (Album)
Song For Sagittariuns (Second Contribution)
Believe in Life (Do You Wonder)
Withered Roses (Contribution)
Wishes Are The Dreams Unrequited (Rumplestiltskin’s Resolve)
Fondest Dreams (No Category)
Hey Miss Lonely (Faces)
Calico and Rainbows (No Category)
Anello Where Are You? (Faces)
L Ballade / Ascent / Motes of Dust (Contribution/)
Dancing in Survival (-)
Whazzat / Early Morning Hours (Second Contribution)
Dream Queen (Bright White)
Man with a Gun (-)
Power of a Woman (The Truth If It Kills)
Everything She Gives Me (Living Contribution: Both Sides)
92 Years (Furthermore)
Click here to see all of the photos from that night & read more of Fred’s reviews!
Review and Photos by Fred Kuhlman