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Toad the Wet Sprocket's Glen Phillips Shares Stories Behind New Solo Album


Musician Glen Phillips is part of the vanguard of alternative-leaning pop music in the 1990s as a member of the band, Toad the Wet Sprocket.  The group’s songs, such as Walk On the Ocean, Good Intentions, and Something’s Always Wrong featured catchy melodies, often tinged with a bit of melancholy.

Phillips still plays with the band, which will be in Milwaukee this summer, but he’s also a prolific solo artist. He was in Milwaukee not long ago for a concert at the Colectivo Back Room, and stopped by the Lake Effect performance studio to share some songs from his latest album, Swallowed By The New.

This latest album came out as Phillips weathered some challenging life circumstances, including a divorce. During that time, Phillips turned to writing and recording music as a means of dealing with the difficult transition.

The song The Easy Ones pays tribute to the people in Phillips' life who show him unconditional grace, like his 15-year-old daughter Freya Phillips. "[Freya] is really good at loving difficult people, including me," he says. "I thought she'd understand the song pretty well." Freya even accompanies Phillips with harmony in this song on the album.

"The Easy Ones" performed live by Glen Phillips in the Lake Effect studio.

Phillips says the song Grief and Praise encompasses the root of his mindset while recording the album. "In the Mayan language, grief and praise are the same word. They are the outward expression of love in the face of inevitable loss. I couldn't get that idea out of my head."

"Grief and Praise" performed live by Glen Phillips.

The last song Phillips performed in the Lake Effect studio was Nobody's Gonna Get Hurt, which he wrote with singer-songwriter Lori McKenna. "I think music gives people a little shot of not feeling alone; not feeling like you're the only person who feels something," Phillips says. "When we get isolated and think we're the only one, it kinda sucks."

"Nobody's Gonna Get Hurt" by Glen Phillips.

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