In 2020, after a 13-year hiatus singer and multi-instrumentalist Zach Phillips burst onto the indie music scene with his debut album “The Wine Of Youth.“ His deep voice and storytelling ability stood out, and he has not changed that winning formula for his second album, “Goddaughters.“
Zach Phillips has a blessing in disguise – he knows what he wants. While “search for yourself” was the main theme of his previous album, Zach is now looking inward and closer to home for inspiration. He is a storyteller, and “Goddaughters“, it’s 40 minutes of incomparable country rock music that grabs the listener not only by the soul, but also by the heart, making him feel the emotions and feelings behind the polished melodies.
The 12 tracks of LP are an impressive collection of songs that deal with themes of love, travel and self-discovery in all its forms. In each of the songs that follow, you can see the essence of this idea in their narratives. Moreover, as of the new album is almost identical to the previous one, there is a tangible bygone soul that runs through and evokes a sense of magic that is in a constant state of flux. My personal favourites of this album are certainly the themes “New Star“, “Ocean Of Song“ and “Cassiopeia“, but first things first.
The opening track “Cassiopeia“ is a cinematic instrumental intro that mirrors the entire work. The way the track is panned leaves the listener with a feeling of complete unease and look forward to what comes next
The title track “Worshipers“ has a beautiful acoustic pop-rock start. Zach’s enchanting, airy voice leads the listener through the looking glass into this dreamy yet philosophically engaged work, a seductive yet educational journey. A tightrope balance of minimalism and maximized electric guitar textures, “Worshipers“ will seep into your consciousness in the same thrilling slow burn way until you can’t stop listening to it.
“During the pandemic, I’d go hiking up in the hills here in Southern California. It became a getaway from focusing on COVID“ says Zach. “Like just about everyone, I kept wondering how to find perspective when there was so much disorder. I think the album was inspired by that. You might hear that in the songs, too, like “Worshipers,” which is really about living in the moment.“
“New Star“ is my favourite track. Whilst it may not immediately catch your ear with It’s semi-acoustic production, I was captivated by how melancholic and catchy the chorus melodies are.. Zach’s music will enfold you so fully into your head or with such a blanket of warm and sweet sounds draped across your shoulders that the line between music and listener blurs as the songs become “your own” experience. I would be more than thrilled to hear this material in a great, intimate live setting or in a beautiful and stunning outdoor amphitheatre. The impressive thing about this album is how Zack managed to achieve such a high quality sound, as the album was recorded entirely in San Diego home studio.
“I think the mind can play tricks on anyone when they’re making art, and recording can be really tricky.“ explains Zach. “You’re trying to capture something elusive — not only the right arrangement and performance of a song but also subtleties like the spirit and overall tone of the music. And then, sometimes when you think you’ve nailed it, you step back and realize what was in your head didn’t translate. I always have those concerns before recording an album. Luckily, everything seemed to work when we started tracking. We had a vision, and if anything, everyone’s contributions only made that vision clearer and stronger.“
In songs like “Curses“ and “Psychics“, the background vocals almost seem like musical instruments in places, and the captivating melodies and clever use of harmonies that change the song in track order really make this record flow. The main track, “Goddaughters,“ goes back to the roots of country music. The song is a harmonious blend of minimal acoustic guitar and Phillip’s voice, which is still smooth, enchanting and welcoming. “Courtesy of a True God“ has a beautiful guitar solo and the intimate lyrics of “The Big Mountain“ let the vocal performance shine. “Ocean of Song“ ties the entire album as one complete work and ends on an optimistic note.
“When I finished writing the album, it also seemed like a swan song. Maybe that was because the songs had a slightly philosophical tone. Not that this will be my last album, but it felt like a final statement.“
“Goddaughters“ is the perfect crossover of country, Americana and pop-rock music. Each song is carried by the melodic guitars and the baritone voice of Zach. Every detail from the songwriting, to the performance, to the production and mix of the track is executed to perfection. “Goddaughters“ is an absolute masterpiece and, in our opinion, the best country album of 2022! Brilliant, contemporary and at the same time painfully familiar.
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