My Fine Friend Phil

Damn Glad to Meet Ya

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    8
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My Fine Friend Phil is singer/songwriter Phil Mann accompanied by a stellar cast of studio musicians. On his debut, Damn Glad to Meet Ya, Mann renders a rootsy, melodic collection of songs that could easily find a home on albums by Sheryl Crow, David Gray, John Cougar Mellencamp, or Ryan Adams. Tracks including "A Love Song," "Heaven Knows," and "Matchless" ooze with adult Top 40 hit potential, while showy ballads-turned-rockers such as "Supermodel" are high on drama and low on formula. The super-session cadre play it safe, embellishing Mann's lean baritone with a solid harmonic foundation, tempered solos, and a laid-back approach evocative of classic 1970s recordings by Rickie Lee Jones, James Taylor, and Jackson Browne. Every cut is a winner, especially "Sunset," which sounds like an after-hours collaboration between Jimmy Buffet and Brian Wilson, employing familiar Brill Building pop chord progressions, relaxed neo-calypso rhythms, barroom catcalls, and poignantly twisted lyrics.

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