Dig In – Dig In is Home Grown Head’s most recent LP which explores six new originals penned by the group from 2020 onward. The new album covers a lot of ground dynamically and stylistically, spanning from fast-paced straight-up rock to stripped-down soul. Home Grown Head employs a collaborative compositional style which allows each member to bring their own flavor to the table, and every song on the new album is the result of this combined effort. Dig In is also the band’s first collaboration with vocalist Brett Higgins, who brings an energetic flair to the band’s overall sound. Musicians included on Dig In are Drew Cercone (guitar/vocals), Brett Higgins (vocals/aux perc), Tyler Stamper (bass), Evan Strippelhoff (drums), Will Phillips (trumpet) and Joey Blackwell (trombone) and features Tony Mullins (organ) and Tabor Mullins (synth). Dig In is set to release fully in October 2022, with two singles and music videos (dir. Joe Hinkle) release prior for Giving it All and Headscrewed.
First Light – First Light is a single release collaboration with Living Sound Delusions (Camryn Shaffer) that combines jazz-infused composition and trumpeting with electronic production. Inspiration for First Light came largely from Herbie Hancock’s Future 2 Future and Karl Denson’s Dance Lesson #2, both album released in 2001, which combine heady jazz with intense DJ-ing and EDM. Ever since then, the idea for such a collab has been stewing for a long time. But it wasn’t until 2020 that I finally met with Camryn and we each began experimenting collaboratively. It became clear right away that we had a similar goal in mind, yet we each had unique musical backgrounds which enabled us to bring our own personalities towards a common end. In addition, I’m very thankful to have the opportunity to bring in my friend and exceptional pianist, Byron McChord, to record some tracks which really add an extra layer of personality to the whole thing. The initial spark that happens when two musicians can connect and create something new despite coming from completely different backgrounds is what inspired the title First Light.
The Local Honeys – I had the distinct pleasure of recording a little trumpet on the song Dear Woodrow on their upcoming self-titled album from Linda Stokely and Montana Hobbs, the core members of The Local Honeys. One day Linda asked if I’d be interested in playing some trumpet on their new album and of course I obliged without hesitation! Later that day she left me a voice mail of her singing a little trumpet solo over her strumming the chords on guitar. So I dove in – listened to it a few times with the intention of working up a part, but after a several listens, I kept finding myself coming back to Linda’s voicemail solo. I eventually came to the conclusion that… that IS the part! A month or so later, we went into the studio and I recorded it just the way she sang it. The Local Honeys is released by La Honda Records and is available now!
Funky collab (as yet untitled) – This EP album is another collaboration with Living Sound Delusions (Camryn Shaffer) which features 70’s soul-inspired grooves with a healthy dose of funky horns. Everything besides the trumpet on this album was arranged entirely by Camryn Shaffer, with horns arranged and recorded by Will Phillips. This collaboration was approached much differently than First Light, in that Camryn already had rough productions of all the tracks before I ever even heard them. One day he sent something he was working on and I fell in love with it immediately – just super funky riff after riff. I knew I had to do something with it, so I got to work and wrote a short segment for it. Next thing I know, Camryn just casually sent me an album’s worth of the funkiest tracks… so I got to work! For the next few months, one after another, I wrote and recorded horns and sent them back to Camryn for mixing. This has definitely been one of the most fun albums to record horns on – funk, funk, and more funk! What’s not to love?
Time is Now – Currently still a work in progress, Time is Now is a collection of soul-inspired ensemble pieces composed by Will Phillips. This album combines Soul’s memorable melodies and catchy choruses with Jazz’s soloistic improvisation and intriguing harmonies. The melodies are largely inspired by the Queen of Soul herself, Aretha Franklin, even diving into the pop realm on occasion. The horn arrangements even draw upon the vocal arrangements featured in Aretha’s music – which focus on the lead/backup style of arranging. This is definitely one of the biggest projects I’ve taken on in terms of time and effort. Having said that, Time is Now is still in the writing stage. Seven pieces are fully written, with a couple more on the way, and hopefully begin the recording process in the next few months.