A breakup record that’s based on experience, observation, and imagination Nashville-based, Texas-born K Phillips released his latest full-length, Dirty Wonder, on March 10th. Produced by Band of Heathens' Gordy Quist, the ten-track collection is replete with detailed, literate stories, clever allusions, and well-drawn characters that are further distinguished by pedal steel, fuzzy guitars, and juke-joint keys that lend an overall bluesy feel to the project.
Dirty Wonder begins with “Had Enough” is a bittersweet tune accented by a gentle piano and female harmonies that pinpoints the moment when you realize you’re with someone who might not be what you need and resolve to move on, “Everyone’s got demons/I must slay my own/I never thought I would bring ‘em home” and continues with stories told creatively, capturing universally experienced themes in unique lights. Featuring vocal assist from Adam Duritz (Counting Crows), the roots-based “Hadrian” name checks historical characters as references for a relationship on the brink of dissolution. “History repeats history and none of it did save them, and none of it will save me…Come on honey, show me a spark, aw this is the easy part.”; “Rom Com” channels the romantic comedy - complete with voice over like opening “They say a man chases a woman til he’s caught…..Let that sink in” – and ethereal, romantic harmonies in a precisely told story of a relationship from a delightful storybook meeting to the whole thing going awry; and “18 Year Old Girls” adds a bit of humor alongside a seedy melody in the tale of a younger woman and older man who soon realizes they have (spoiler alert!) nothing in common.
Phillips exposes a roguish side on the rollicking title track, a seductive look at the perils of temptation even when you’re committed; goes retro-soul on the bluesy “Don't Wish Me Well” and reflects on life in the hard-hitting ballad “Coalburner,” “I used to live like a locomotive travelling through them hills of gold/Spitting steam and running coal but nothing moves me anymore.” The album is rounded out with the melodically buoyant “Round The World,” the groovy send-off “Nobody Does It” and the mysteriously seductive “Hock The Horses.”
With Dirty Wonder, Phillps proves he’s not just a songwriter, he’s that rare artist (like his namesake) who is a true storyteller; whose well-crafted, insightful and imaginative tunes engage and resonate - and will undoubtedly stand the test of time.