Bill Phillippe is a singer, guitarist and songwriter based in San Francisco. Inspired by his love of delta blues, he released his first solo album, Ghosts, a year and a half ago. That album contains some classic blues tunes like “Come On In My Kitchen” and “Death Letter,” as well as some original compositions. He has now followed that up with a new CD, Parade, which features almost entirely original material. This is bluesy folk, with some jazzy elements as well, giving it a very cool, laid-back sound and vibe, like a late night or early morning in New Orleans, when most people have gone to bed or passed out, but there are still things to be said, things to be felt and expressed for those strange denizens of pre-dawn dealings, that half-light of farewells and possibilities. And it’s not just jazzy because of the presence of the clarinet, but its willingness – or eagerness – to play a bit with form (like on “Everything I Have Is Grey”), sometimes going in unexpected directions. Ah, who knows just what the day will bring? And before that, the question is, “If I should lose my mind tonight, would you love me anyway?” Parade opens with “Blues Come Callin’ (Home),” a seriously cool tune with the bass having a strong presence. The clarinet acts like a voice perhaps doing the calling. I’m certainly ready to answer its call, as it sounds inviting, rising up from the streets like a possible angel among derelicts. Bill Phillippe’s vocal approach is like one singing almost to himself, not needing to belt out the lyrics, but knowing his voice will reach those it needs to, those it can reach within this environment. And he finds support by some nice touches on accordion. That’s followed by “Proper Street,” which contains a reference to Duke Ellington’s “Prelude To A Kiss” in the lines “I need you always exactly like this/I play the prelude to a kiss.” Duke Ellington is one of only two songwriters that Bill Phillippe turns to for covers on this CD. He does a version of Ellington’s “Solitude,” combining it with a song of his own titled “A Kinder Voice.” He performs “Solitude” as a guitar piece, without the lyrics by Eddie DeLange and Irving Mills. A song that grabs me each time I listen to this disc is “14th Street,” with its line “Please find me” reminding me of the Leonard Cohen poem that goes “Marita/Please find me/I am almost 30.” And I love the clarinet here. Both it and the accordion provide a kind of uplifting feel which we need. And check out that bass line. “As you wave goodbye/Memories refuse, refuse to fade/My penance, this solitary space.” Another favorite of mine is “Parade,” the CD’s title track. It has such a wonderful vibe. I particularly like the way the bass and accordion work together. “We danced round and round/And the circus band played.” I also really love “Red Beret,” which has a playful and cool tone and attitude. Ah, every girl, a song. Perhaps Tom Waits will cross your mind once or twice while listening to Bill Phillippe. Clearly, Bill embraces this, as he actually ends the album with a cover of Tom Waits’ “Take It With Me,” a song from the Mule Variations album. Bill makes it a slow kind of waltz, with the clarinet taking a lead spot at the beginning before the vocals come in. It’s a really good rendition.” - Michael Doherty


Parade  Somewhat a blend of old-time jazz, blues and a bit of that haunting sound that many associate with the deepest parts of the swamp, where the lines between reality and folklore get blurred, Parade is one of those things that I have a hard time finding words to describe. All I know for certain is that I really enjoyed it. After years of exploring and playing deep New Orleans funk, he took this music in the direction of blues from an equally deep place in the Delta. With this, his second solo album, he explores yet another avenue...equally as mysterious and intriguing. It can certainly be said that Phillippe does not fit into any established genre easily. I hear what might be considered elements of Celtic music, old sea shanties, gypsy caravans, jug bands, and so much more. This release brings Tom Waits to mind. A superb musician and master wordsmith, armed with a voice that is haunting, to say the very least...and backed by Ivor Holloway on clarinet, Swen Hendrickson on bass and Glenn Hartman on accordion, Bill Phillippe weaves his tapestry of life, love, loss and all those points in between that make up the parade of life. This is a man who follows his heart when it comes to his music, and, that dedication has serve him well. Regardless of what label you might want to put on his music, it is not only unique, it is GOOD. Powerful, passionate and easy on the ear, both Parade and his previous release, Ghosts, are things that I feel would be appealing to young and old alike, a rare quality in this day and age. This is not your average performer to be sure. Like Picasso with his paints and brushes, Phillippe paints vivid pictures with his music and lyrics. If you are in the market for something that is out of the ordinary, not your run of the mill blues/Americana, this might be just what you're looking for. - Bill Wilson” - Bill Wilson

Reflections in Blues

PARADE -"If young Tom Waits grew up in the Mississippi Delta, developed a fascination for the New Orleans vibe as well as the classic bluesmen from the region, he may have evolved into present-day Bill Phillippe as he emerges on his most recent CD, Parade. Perhaps not, but it's interesting to note that the creaky-voiced guitarist closes his 11-track collection with a Waits composition, "Take It With Me." It's really the only track not penned by Phillippe here, and his arrangement makes it feel as it could be one of his own. Phillippe employs the fine work of clarinetist Ivor Holloway, bassist Sten Hendrickson and accordionist Glenn Hartman to create a moody, reflective atmosphere as he shares his take on life's unending parade. Phillippe, based in San Francisco, covered New Orleans funk for 10 years with his band before turning his musical explorations toward acoustic blues in 2012. That journey resulted in a CD, Ghosts. Part 2 of that journey has emerged as Parade. One hopes there's room for a trilogy in Phillippe's sojourn.” - Fred Kraus

Minor 7th Online Music Reviews

Bill Phillippe broke big onto the scene with his 2015 all-acoustic affair, “Ghosts,” detailing his journey thru the De”lta a few years back to study the music, myths, and truths of that storied region. His latest release continues that exploratory theme, and is entitled “Parade,” This one is also all -acoustic, with Bill on vocals and guitar, Ivor Holloway on clarinet, Swen Hendrickson on upright bass, and Glenn Hartman on accordion. Of the eleven cuts, there are two covers that fit perfectly within the context of the originals that Bill uses to convey his message of “life is indeed a Parade,” and “no dream of life is spared” from it. As we listened, we likened this music to a unique joining of Delta blues with New Orleans-styled sounds, especially with the interplay between the accordion and clarinet. Bill also uses these tunes to relate to life’s many varied experiences. There’s always gonna be some “Blues Come Calling (Home),” so, might as well “punch your ticket and take your seat!” Loneliness is addressed in “If I Should Lose My Mind tonight, will you love me anyway?” The girl in the “Red Beret” who “whispers your name” and “whistles a tune, beckoning me,” to, perhaps, “come along and join the Parade!” And, in the end, nothing compares to that love of a good woman that you’ll “Take It With Me When I’m Gone,” Bill’s touching read of this Tom Waits classic. Bill Phillippe continues to bring a fresh, avant-garde perspective to the blues, using visionary instrumentation to convey the message that life is a “Parade,” so let’s all embrace it! Until next time…" Sheryl and Don Crow.” - Don and Sheryl Crow

Don and Sheryl's bluesblog

Parade. "Ghosts can come in many guises, and there are times when their very presence can be a blessing. And other times a curse. Bill Phillippe, one of San Francisco's very finest singer-songwriters, is no stranger to the ethereal beings who haunt that city. Somehow, Phillippe manages to pull their elusiveness down to earth and put them right into his songs. With backing by a clarinet, bass, and accordion, he uses his vocals and guitar to create a sound that lives in the fog and flows out into the bay. No one else right now sounds quite like this, and isn't likely to anytime soon. It's like a cross of the Mississippi Delta with Mississippi Street in Potrero Hill, a unique pairing no doubt, but Bill Phillippe is able to convey that cross-cultural blend to perfection. It's not blues, but it's not big city music either. It's more like a cakewalk into the Castro district, with a detour through the kudzu around Clarksville, ending up atop the Coit Tower watching the fireworks on the Chinese New Year. America's a big melting pot of people, places, and music, and as long as artists like this are around to keep stirring things up everything should work out just fine. "No dream of life is spared this parade," Bill Phillippe says in the first song, "Blues Come Callin' (Home)," so let it begin and keep going.” - Bill Bentley

The Morton Report

Parade (Arkansas Street Records) finds San Francisco-based singer/songwriter/guitarist Bill Phillippe working through a set of 11 tunes that reflect on love, life, and loss. Phillippe’s debut, Ghosts, was a solo effort that mixed his original songs with stunning recreations of pre-war blues classics. On his follow-up, Phillippe expands his sound a bit, adding Swen Hendrickson’s upright bass, Ivor Holloway’s clarinet, and Glenn Hartman’s accordion, which gives these tracks a haunting, yet beautiful quality. Standout tracks include “Blues Come Calling (Home),” a cool track that sounds almost like a duet between Phillippe’s somber vocal and the mournful clarinet, the folkish “Proper Sorrow,” the amusing “If I Should Lose My Mind,” the haunting “Everything I Have Is Grey,” the lilting title track, “Little Zion,” which ventures in a jazz direction, and the playful “Red Beret.” Phillippe also includes a couple of covers, using the instrumental of the Duke Elliington piece, “Solitude,” to segue into his own “A Kinder Voice,” and closing the disc with a reading of Tom Waits’ “Take It With Me.” Actually, listeners may be reminded of Waits’ musical style while listening to Parade, in the way that Phillippe approaches the blues. He’s not bound by traditions or norms, choosing to add musical elements in ways not usually heard (or even thought of) by most blues fans. It’s an approach that works wonders and deserves to be heard.” - Graham Clarke

Blues Bytes

PARADE - San Francisco based singer and guitarist Bill’s previous set was a solo outing called “Ghosts”, aptly enough – he has a sparse, ethereal and haunting sound which continues onto the follow-up, even though here he has enlisted the musical support of clarinettist Ivor Holloway, bassist Swen Hendrickson and accordionist Glenn Hartman. Belying the cover photos of a celebratory parade, the album has a very downbeat, and frequently melancholy sound, with echoes of 20s and 30s blues and jazz in places: Duke Ellington’s ‘Solitude’ is one of two covers; the other is Tom Waits’ ‘Take It With Me’. The title track and ‘Red Beret’ are the nearest this set gets to happy – and that’s not too close! My first impression was that this is one for all the vintage Leonard Cohen fans, and repeated listening hasn’t really changed that.” - Norman John Darwen

Flying Shoes

Tout droit venu de San Francisco, le guitariste, chanteur et songwriter Bill Phillippe nous propose déjà le successeur de son premier album, « Ghosts », unanimement salué par la presse américaine mais aussi européenne et déclaré deuxième meilleur album de blues acoustique de l’année en 2015. Reprenant la recette qui avait été la sienne la première fois, Bill Phillippe reste dans la tradition de l’acoustique et des jug bands pour proposer « Parade » tout en incorporant à sa musique une clarinette tenue par Ivor Holloway et un accordéon porté par Glenn Hartman, les basses restant le privilège de Swen Hendrickson. Détenteur d’un son d’une pureté exemplaire, l’artiste s’attache ici encore à nous raconter des histoires qui lui tiennent à cœur et nous offre des compositions qui n’auraient certainement pas fait tache dans des répertoires comme ceux de Paul Simon, de Neil Young voire même de Cat Stevens, trouvant à chaque instant le très juste équilibre entre folk et blues pour nous offrir des titres qui restent toujours à la même hauteur sans pour autant être lisses ou dépourvus de relief. On se laissera bercer par « Proper Sorrow », « If I Should Lose My Mind », « Everything I Have Is Grey » ou encore « Little Zion » et on se complaira dans la paix de l’esprit qu’inspire une musique ponctuée par des sujets où il est question d’amour, d’absences et plus largement de tout ce qui fait que le quotidien d’un individu lambda peut souvent avoir un caractère unique. Vous y ajoutez un emprunt à Duke Ellington et un autre à Tom Waits pour fignoler l’ouvrage et voilà de quoi être prêt à assister à la « Parade » ! ” - Fred Delforge

Zicazine - French Online Magazine

Parade Arkansas Street Records Off to California for some old time acoustic blues with a hint of jazz. Because that is what Bill Phillippe is dishing up on this here record. It’s a strange one as all the songs sound like they’ve been plucked from a time machine, and brought to life in the modern world. Strange, because with the exception of a Duke Ellington tune and a Tom Waits one, these are all originals from Mr Phillippe. And it’s really rather good, as it takes a sidestep into a world inhabited by clarinets, accordions and dimly lit, illegal after hours clubs. Which is to say, it’s an incredibly atmospheric piece of work. Mr Phillippe has an idiosyncratic voice, but ably assisted by Ivor Holloway on clarinet, Swen Hendrickson on bass and Glenn Hartman on accordion, he readily transports you into another time and place. A round of applause for everyone involved.”

The Rocker

“ Stripped down and straight to the heart… “ Singer-songwriter / gitarist Bill Philippe leeft al twee decennia in de baai van San Francisco, CA, waar hij regelmatig lokaal in bars, cafés en clubs optreedt. Na tien jaar met zijn band ‘The Brothers Goldman’ zijn weg zoekend doorheen de funk van New Orléans en drie albums later (“Ascended Masters of the Order of the Tantric FOnk” – 2003 / “FOnk” - 2008 / “FOnkOlOgy” - 2011) is Phillippe in 2012, terug naar de roots van de Delta Blues gekeerd. Solo en op zoek naar de geest van Blind Willie Johnson, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson en Mississippi John Hurt, componeerde hij hiervoor “GhOsts” (2014) en recent “Parade” (2016). “Parade” is Bill Phillippe’s nieuwe solo album met vooral eigen werk. Enkel Duke Ellington en Tom Waits brachten hem even in verwarring. De verhalen die Phillippe brengt zijn verhalen over liefde, verlies, verdriet en andere alledaagse dingen. Opnieuw is de prachtige (retro) hoes van Summer Porter. Het is zijn tweede solo album, maar Phillippe doet het niet meer helemaal alleen. Hij kreeg de hulp van Ivor Holloway (klarinet), Swen Hendrickson (staande bas) en Glenn Hartman (accordeon). Al direct vanaf de opener ”Blues Come Calling Me (Home)” hoor je blues anno jaren ’20 en ’30 echoën en wordt je ondergedomeld in de melancholie van toen. In ”Proper Sorrow” klinkt het verdriet heel gemeend en ”14th Street” lijkt wel een wandeling. In ”If I Should Lose My Mind” zijn de accordeon van Glenn Hartman en de clarinet van Ivor Holloway er heel nadrukkelijk en Duke Ellington’s ”Solitude / A Kinder Voice” klinkt als poëzie. In de titel song ”Parade” klinkt Phillippe opgelucht. ”Little Zion” klinkt hallucinerend en ”Red Beret” bevrijdend. Tom Waits’ ”Take It With Me” is afscheid nemen met een tas vol warme herinneringen... “In a land there's a town And in that town there's A house And in that house There's a woman And in that woman There's a hart I love I'm gonna take it With me when I go I'm gonna take it With me when I go” Met zijn album “Parade” zet Bill Phillippe een volgende stap. Een stap verder dan de conventionele grenzen van de akoestische blues muziek. Hij doet het niet meer alleen (wat hem en zijn muziek siert), maar een klarinet, accordeon en een staande bas helpen hem een unieke, vaak wat melancholische sfeer creëren, die er nodig is om in deze parade te kunnen opgaan. “ Bill Phillippe is taking the next step. A clarinet, an accordion and an upright bass help him creating an unique, often somewhat melancholic atmosphere, which is needed to let this parade succeed... “ Eric Schuurmans” - Eric Schuurmans