We caught up with Phoenix at Country On The Coast and asked him to do an interview with us. Here is what he had to say.....
Q: How long have you been writing and performing country music?
A: I have been writing country music since 2016, I started playing guitar some 10 years ago and spent some time in a Kings of Leon tribute band. My first song Rear View Mirror is still a firm favourite of mine and also opens up all my live sets. Sometimes the old ones are the best ones!
Q: If you could invite the people who have influenced you in your music career to a dinner party, who would you invite?
A: Oh Wow so many! How big is the table? I would say certainly Kris Kristofferson and John Fogerty. Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson would need to be there as well, Oh and Emmy Lou Harris. If I had a big enough table I would invite Bruce Springsteen and Taylor Swift, Which some people may find surprising but Taylor’s songwriting and the way she crafts the story is remarkable. Go listen to All too Well if you don’t believe me.
Q: If you were to take one well known song and put your own country twist on it, which song would you choose?
A: It would have to be More Than a Feeling by Boston! One of my all time favourites and it transforms me back to my rock n roll days before I became a country fan.
Q: If you had the chance of performing anywhere in the world, Where would your dream venue be?
A: Folsom Prison, California! To do what Johnny did and play for the inmates, to give them real Outlaw Country!
Q: What excites you about the British country scene?
A: The talent! There is so much talent and with the Irish girls too! Remarkable! I feel we have a deeper meaning to our music, its not all Trucks, Fishin' and beer songs! Kezia Gill for instance is one of the BEST country acts and songwriters I have heard, here or in the USA. Nashville is a machine for hits, we don’t work on that machine here, we are all telling stories about our lives and allowing the songs to carry that story to the listener. The UK has a strong folk background and country is a full blown extension of that. Personally I think we are more real than most of what comes out of Nashville these days. Go back to the old days of the highwaymen and Glen Campbell, that's real country and for me a lot of acts here are doing the same things now!
Q: The British country music scene is growing fast. Each artist having their own take on what country music is to them. How do feel that our music stands up against the music coming out of America at the moment?
A: As I said before we really have a grasp on country in most senses, I feel there is an element of its “cool to be country” in some places but just being at Country on the Coast really does show you how much talent we have here. Real songs with real meanings and real stories, that's what country is right? Three chords and the truth! That's what I do, I tell stories of my life!
Q: Where do you see British country music in 5 years time?
A: I'm not sure, I’m hoping acts can break the main stream and not just be The Shires all the time, we have some awesome talent here, awesome talent that deserves more of a mainstream audience. I can name five straight away! But the only way this can happen is to have websites like you showcasing us. The more we gig, the more music we put out and the more we work hard the more it will happen.
Q: Do you think you will be more accepted in 5 years, when you say you are a British country music artist?
A: Quite honestly I hope it's not, this scene is so precious to us artists and its fans, and there are fans! I feel if it becomes ‘accepted’ it will be diluted just like the current Nashville scene is. We need to build this slowly and show what we can do and be proud to be British Country! Work inside the country to build the following and not keep looking west to fulfil a country need. Recording a song in Nashville doesn’t make you country! Making you country is telling your story and staying true to yourself! You could record it in Western Super Mare, it can still be a country song!
Jackson Maine in a Star is Born says it perfectly, '‘Look, talent comes everywhere, but having something to say and a way to say it so that people listen to it, that’s a whole other bag. And unless you get out and you try to do it, you’ll never know.’
Where can we find you on social media?
Photos credited to Ian Morrall - Forever British Country