Phil Celia – The PCB Sessions
Multi-talented singer-songwriter Phil Celia is plowing a row for himself as an independent artist in a field where having a unique and distinctive sound is becoming increasingly uncommon. A talented singer-songwriter his vocals blend naturally with the rich folk instrumentation and the songs are imbued with a classic feel reminiscent of a new yet older retro Folk-Rock sound. Parallels in Celia’s sound can be drawn between soul artists like Bruce Springsteen and blues icons like Van Morrison and James Taylor as well as modern songwriters in the vein of Mat Kearney, Damien Rice and James Morrison. His songs are often reflective and thought provoking, yet maintain a free spirited and light hearted tone. Celia’s songwriting often explores the complexity of love and compromise from a unique, but relatable perspective.
On “The PCB Sessions” his latest and greatest release, Celia ddelivers what I can only describe as mood music without even trying. It has flavorings of instrumental folk, pop, and a Folkish-Americana blues feel, but, perhaps surprisingly the primary focus is striped down Acoustic based Pop-Rock. Early tracks “Toe The Line” and amazing “Ordinary Day” you clearly hear have an elegant journeyman’s feel, becoming almost hypnotic in places. The rock-folk-blues textures of Celia and his band are especially evocative. “Find My Way” has a short but sweet structure, lending it more of straight folk-blues-rock feel, but it could hardly be called pop when it’s built around Celia and his acoustic guitar at the sonic center. At times Celia reminds me of and Tom Waits, Corey Crowder and Cry Cry Cry. I can also hear Zach Gill Sean Hayes, The Beautiful Girls, and Peter Bradley Adams. While my favorite piece “I hate the Rain” are as smooth as fine cognac. Some tracks have a particularly steady-thrumming bass line that adds firmness and tension “Wild” and the epic closer “Rock Me on Your Knee”. All songs are a glory-full return to folk-rock-singer sadcore-songwriter with a stuttering rhythm section underpinning some terrific work from all involved. Phil Celia is one Southern Californian who has numerous albums to his credit. This – his latest outing and a great pickup if you’re either in a mellow mood or looking to instill a mellower one. While this is music you could work or play to, it’s most suited to simple contemplation. Its might just be the perfect CD to brighten up your day or on those rainy days where a heartfelt ballad can cause you to think. Isn’t that something we could all use a little more of in our lives. Celia sets it – all to well.
The Bottom Line: “The PCB Sessions” by Phil Celia is well-suited for audiences that enjoy all the typical conventions of Folk-Pop-Americana and more. Even slight elements of Singer/Songwriter mood music and earthy Folk based Pop. Expect great things from Celia as his cult fanbase gets established along the West Coast and beyond. I feel there’s a disgruntled audience out there just waiting for him to arrive with open arms.
Listen to song samples – https://philcelia.bandcamp.com/