Four days before Christmas, 1982, a drunk driver broadsided the car occupied by Vince Bell and his wife. Both were so gravely injured that Vince Bell died on the highway, then came back, quite literally. Eventually the two went their separate ways, each carrying the cruel damage of injuries undeserved. Twelve years later, Bell crafted Phoenix with the help of producer Bobby Neuwirth and a group of accomplished musicians. Of course this sounds too easy, and it is. The life that Bell refused to stop living during those years of unrelenting recovery is the soul of this excellent album. The songs are compact and in some cases, difficult. Knowing his history, it is no easy thing to listen to Bell sing "Frankenstein" or "The Beast." There are moments of simple beauty, evidenced by "Sun & Moon & Stars," as well as stark sadness, as presented in "I've Had Enough," which has been covered by Lyle Lovett. Phoenix is truly a look inside a man who simply will not give up, and for that, the listener is fortunate.
AllMusic Review by William Ashford