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Phil Gammage - Reedemed (Self-Released)

1 April 2024

With influences ranging from Tom Waits to Nick Cave, longtime New York figure Phil Gammage isn’t your typical folk or blues rock singer. Originally hailing from Texas, Gammage moved to New York in the 80s and started cult post-punk band Certain General. Although his newest album Redeemed, firmly planted in Americana, may at first seem to be a million miles away from CBGB, those angular, postmodern roots aren’t completely a thing of the past. There’s a certain askance, left-of-center quality about Gammage’s music that prevents it from ever sitting comfortably in the traditional singer-songwriter genre, making the experience of listening to Redeemed all the more exciting and unpredictable because of it.

Gammage tackles a number of styles from America’s past from country to rockabilly on tracks like “Right On” and “Johnny Lee,” respectively, but his lyrics are often far darker than one would expect, telling stories of murder and life in seedy 80s New York. These vignettes and his songwriting in general are his greatest strengths, but the little musical nods in the production also show he has undoubtedly devoured the records of the genres he’s emulating. Gammage definitely goes for a slow burn on Redeemed, but the power and ingenuity of these ten songs quietly sneak up on the listener, making it arguably his strongest album yet.