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Singer-songwriter Phillip Marino was raised in America’s Mid-West but six years ago he swopped the state of Illinois for Essex, England. Despite the miles between the two, his finely tuned music remains very much rooted in the former. His latest effort, a 5-track EP entitled Days Like These was produced by the Felice Brothers' leader, Simon Felice and recorded in New York's Catskills. Simone Felice does a sterling job, and with his brother James Felice (also of the Felice Brothers) adding his playing skill on one instrument (piano, organ, accordion, synthesizer) or other on all five songs complemented by Simone on drums and percussion, Mountain John on bass, plus harmony vocals from Anna Sauchuk and the Felice boys his top-quality songwriting is given the platform deserved. Each and every song is a study, and with his voice possessing, when needed a world-weary feel (“Long Road”); to go with that of wonderful melodious timbre the release is first class all the way.


“Everybody Know” gets the album off to a wonderful start, and with everything falling into place the vocals and playing (and harmony vocals) merge seamlessly. And it gets better. For “Hand Grenade” is given the ammunition to fly, and boy it does just that! Wrapped in accordion, guitar, percussion and finely toned harmonies Marino speaks of how he was never at home in his skin, and had pulled the pin ('running from his sins'). Title track “Days Like These” has him rustle up a more urgent rhythm, and it works perfectly (with wurlitzer in the mix it is a real crowd pleasers), while with him going out on a limb and explore “Hero” has an atmospheric feel. But it isn’t a time to throw caution to the wind in a bid to be brave, but a time to stay, and face up to the feelings of his heart and come to terms with his emotions. A most daunting task. 


Days like These comes after two full-length albums, it could be viewed as a stopgap before he gets more songs written for another full-length album. His previous efforts of Self-Made Man in 2014, and Nothin And Everything in 2015 came after Marino’s decade plus of learning guitar and the art of songwriting. Something he was exposed to at a young age (Dylan, Jim Croce, Simon & Garfunkel etc and his greatest influence, John Mellencamp) and return to years later. I for one are glad that he did.  


                                                Maurice Hope    


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November 2017

JW Roy & The Royal Family
80 pts.
A Room Full Of Strangers
Royal Family Records
Chris Hillman
79 pts.
Bidin' My Time
Turnpike Troubadours
46 pts.
Long Away From Your Heart
Bossier City Records
Jolie Holland & Samantha Parton
36 pts.
Wildflower Blues
Cinquefoil Records
Eilen Jewell
34 pts.
Down Hearted Blues
Signature Sounds
Lucinda Williams
31 pts.
This Sweet Old World
Highway 20/Thirty Tigers
JD McPherson
29 pts.
Undivided Heart & Soul
New West
Mark Martyre
26 pts.
Tom Russell
26 pts.
Folk Hotel
Frontera Records-Proper Records
Anna Tivel
25 pts.
Small Believer
Fluff And Gravy Records
Margo Price
25 pts.
All American Made
Third Man Records
Fred Wickham
22 pts.
Mariosa Delta
Thirty Days Records
Joe Henry
22 pts.
Ear Music
Whitney Rose
22 pts.
Rule 62
Six Shooter/Thirty Tigers
Dick LeMasters
18 pts.
Incompatible Things
Longneck Road Music
Jim White
18 pts.
Waffles, Triangles & Jesus
Loose Music
Peter Gallway
18 pts.
Feels Like Religion
Gallway Bay Music
Thomm Jutz
17 pts.
Crazy If You Let It
Mountain Fever Records
Kris Delmhorst
16 pts.
The Wild
Blue Blade Records
Daniel Crabtree
15 pts.
In The Shadow Of His Wings
Jeremy Pinnell
15 pts.
Ties Of Blood And Affection
Sofaburn Records
Julien Baker
15 pts.
Turn Out The Lights
Amber Cross
14 pts.
Savage on the Downhill
Chris Blevins
14 pts.
Better than Alone
Horton Records
David Rawlings
14 pts.
Poor David's Almanack
Acony Records
Grainne Duffy
14 pts.
Where I Belong
Jeff Crosby
14 pts.
Postcards From Magdalena
At The Helm Records

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