Don’t Do Anything
Artist: Sam Phillips
Label: ©2008 Nonesuch Records
Loving people who don’t do anything back
is the premise of the title track on Sam Phillips latest release. Her first
CD since her divorce from T-Bone Burnett and 2004’s A Boot And A Shoe,
this is somewhere stylistically between Martinis And Bikinis (1994)
and Fan Dance (2001). Sparse singer-songwriter pop music is
her modus operandi, so much so, that percussion is all but given a backseat
through much of this effort.
The dirty guitar on an otherwise sparse
opening “No Explanations” sets the stage for the nuances of this gorgeous
project. “Little Plastic Life” references domestic dreams we seem to place
on ourselves. “Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us” is a tribute to the swing
gospel of ‘40’s radio and the persevering female guitarist-spirit of Rosetta
Tharp used in a metaphorical sense. It helps that Allison Krauss
and Robert Plant covered this song in their collaborative effort recently.
This release is like opening a classic bottle of wine, smooth and consistent.
After listening to her latest interview
on NPR, I now understand why she left the “Christian” music machine. I
recommend that you go to her website to listen for yourself. Growing up
and living in L.A., she seems to embrace the notion of enduring as an artist,
much like Bob Dylan, rather than latching onto a brief notion of fame.
Hollywood tends to create disposable fame. I am not sure where she stands
in her faith these days, not to say this has to be considered at all in
reference to her inspiring work, but I am sure long time fans, back to
her Leslie days, would benefit. Though, it is probably safe to say that
some might not be as open minded.