By Jeremy Harris
The Phillip Fox Band is probably not a name many will recognize at the moment, but in my opinion, they are a band on the rise. Recently I was lucky enough to be able to see this four-piece group whose music ranges from straight-up country to rock with a blues influenced southern flare. The show was in Ashville, Ohio at the local community park as part of the yearly Independence Day celebration. Due to this being a free show in a small community, I'm sure there were plenty of people getting their first taste of the band on this night but most seemed to really enjoy the show and even stuck around during a rainstorm. One thing that did hurt the show (other than the rain) was the layout of the stage in relation to the seating. The bleachers were too far from the stage and divided the crowd from the stage by being behind the walkway heading to the restrooms and caused somewhat of a separation effect between the crowd and the stage. I thought for a moment about walking up to the front of the stage and standing to get a better feeling of the show but didn't want to be "that guy" up there by myself twenty foot in front of everyone else so I sat in the front row of the bleachers and made the most of it.
The show started off with "Goin' Out With You" (one of the five songs on the bands 2012 EP Motor City Blood) and they were able to make their way through all the songs from their EP and mix in several strong covers of songs both old and new. I could've done without one of the cover songs (which will remain nameless... cough cough Wagon Wheel) although the guys did do a good job of putting a fresh sound to the song. They really do have a special way of making every song they perform one of their own which could have a lot to do with lead singer Phillip Fox's unique and raspy voice. One cover that really stands out (for a positive reason) is the Allman Brothers bluesy classic "Whipping Post" which suits Phillip's vocal style very well and also fits the band as a whole. One thing you won't hear covered at a PFB show is any crappy, pop country song that all the fourteen year old girls are singing this summer and I don't remember a single truck reference all night. (Please don't call me out on "Wagon Wheel." It was a request from someone in the stands and Phillip stated several times before playing it that it was not a Darius Rucker song.)
The highlight of the night for me was when they played a few songs that will be on their first full-length release, which should be out late this year or early next. One of these new songs was co-written with members of Whitey Morgan and the 78's and while I can't remember the name of the song I do remember it was awesome. Another song that is scheduled to be on the album is a song about Phillip's wife and her battle with cancer. The song is very well written and should become very personal to anyone who has ever had a loved one battle cancer. Luckily the song does end on a positive note and I can't wait for everyone to be able to hear it. I have been hoping for a new release from the band, and hearing these new songs is only making it worse but hopefully Trailer or I will get a chance to review the album before it comes out. (hint, hint).
Currently the tour schedule at www.phillipfoxband.com roams throughout the Ohio area, so if you're in the area be sure to catch them. A new album could bring higher demand and will hopefully allow more people, in more areas of the country to enjoy one of Ohio's best kept secrets.