GLEN PHILLIPS

Glen Phillips performing at Cafe Eleven

April 30, 2016

8pm

with special guest Donny Brazile

The Original Cafe Eleven

 St. Augustine Beach, FL

$20adv / $24door

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Glen Phillips started his first band, Toad The Wet Sprocket in Santa Barbara at age 15. It was that group's third album -- the jangling, orchestral Fear -- that truly broke the group, garnering heavy radio play with the singles "All I Want" and "Walk on the Ocean." After three years away from the recording studio, Toad returned to the mainstream with Dulcinea, which again found one of its singles, "Fall Down," in heavy radio rotation. After six albums and a substantial string of hits, the group disbanded in 1998.

 Phillips began touring as a solo act after Toad the Wet Sprocket's demise, and has released 5 solo records and two EPs, collaborated on two projects (Mutual Admiration Society and Works Progress Administration), released an EP with Plover (with Neilson Hubbard and Garrison Starr) and an album as RemoteTreeChildren (with Portland's John Askew).

In 2006, while supporting the Mr Lemons album, he also toured North American with a reunited Toad the Wet Sprocket. Toad has toured off and on since that time, and in 2011 played 70 shows and decided to begin writing for a new album, to be released late in 2012.  Glen is currently at home except for a long weekend of shows each month, and is writing songs for Toad as well as future solo releases. He still lives in Santa Barbara with his wife and three daughters.

 

 


Donny Brazile

   

Some men are born to be messengers. Some do it with oratory while others do it with song. Donny Brazile has a gift for both.

As a skinny long-haired kid with a thirst for knowledge and a gift of gab growing up in a small community, not particularly tolerant of what that package represented, Donny picked up his guitar at the young age of 16 and went off to LA to put the thoughts swirling around in his head to music. Meeting up with three like-minded guys, they formed a band like so many other kids their age. But the band wasn’t like all other teenage bands. They were talented musicians and songwriters and soon their sound was attracting the attention of some big name stars and agents. They opened for the likes of the Goo Goo Dolls and Jane’s Addiction and were on the precipice of making it big. But that big break never materialized. They had a special sound, but perhaps it was not quite special enough. So after giving LA ten years of his life, Donny found himself seeking a different message and a different mode of expressing it. He went back to school in the midwest, earned his BA and MA and eventually found himself in front of a college classroom of students in Tennessee, most of whom seeking that piece of paper that provides entrée into the adult world. But a few were actually seeking the gratification that learning itself can provide. Donny’s message of questioning both society’s norms and one’s own values resonated well with those students. That, combined with his well-honed skills as an entertainer, made him an award winning professor.

But music was never far from his mind. He had experienced life and the lyrics of his songs chronicled the lessons he learned from living. The sound reflected a blend of the places he lived, combining the driving rhythms of LA with a hint of Nashville funk and the heartfelt lyrics of country.

He longed to return to his Florida roots, the sunshine and the surf. But most of all, he longed to return to music.

So here he is with his array of instruments, expressive voice, extensive list of cover and original music, and of course, his ever present gift of gab; the consummate entertainer. But underlying it all is his desire to convey a message. Whether combining his music with his poetry in his over 100 original songs, or his ability to convey the feeling that others express in their music as he covers over 400 other tunes, Donny is a messenger.

Let me close this brief biography by relating a recent incident I witnessed. Donny and I were sitting in a bar listening to a musician friend when a patron asked the troubadour to play the Styx song “Come Sail Away.” The musician did not know the song well and struggled with both the music and lyrics. Donny started to help him out, calling out chords and lyrics. Eventually, from the table at which we sat (and with his friend’s permission), Donny took over the song. And in an uncharacteristically bold voice, sang out the lyrics:

I look to the sea,
Reflections in the waves spark my memory,
Some happy, some sad,
I think of childhood friends and the dreams we had,
We lived happily forever, so the story goes,
But somehow we missed out on the pot of gold
But we'll try best that we can to carry on

The feeling with which he sang those words conveyed exactly the frustration and glorification of the pursuit of one’s goals, that I believe the songwriter intended. Donny had the whole bar mesmerized as people stopped their conversation, came up close and sailed away with the moment.

That is Donny Brazile.

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