This artist is a modern innovator on the pedal steel guitar, bringing the expressive and difficult instrument into many other styles of music other than the weepy country & western or honky tonk music it is usually associated with. A Georgia native who started his music career as a lead guitarist, David Phillips eventually relocated to the Bay Area, where he has collaborated with such diverse bandleaders as Frank Black, Tom Waits, Charlie Hunter, and John Wesley Harding. Phillips is also a member of Jack West and Curvature, an acoustic jazz ensemble led by a guitarist whose instrument features not six but eight strings.
Pulling extra strings becoming desirable through this association or perhaps because of the aforementioned Hunter, who picks both a seven- and an eight-string model axe, Phillips became known for utilizing a pedal steel with a total of 14 strings. He is thus able to reach down to a low E as well as hitting notes as high as a violinist at 4:20 p.m. Phillips gets into series of sustained chords that hang like shrouds of rainbow, inviting comparisons to Houston's Susan Alcorn, as well as the kind of outrageous solo screeching that hasn't been heard since Rusty Young began mellowing out in Nashville.