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Virginia Creeper

4.2 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 24, 2004
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

VIRGINIA CREEPER

Amazon.com

With his third solo release since dissolving Grant Lee Buffalo, one of roots rock's great also-rans, Phillips relishes the relative advantages of the singer-songwriter style. He sketches characters with nuance, tosses off epigrammatic love songs, dives into painterly rural reveries, traces an obscure Southern myth while banging on a banjo, and offers bittersweet praise to friendship. His voice and melodic knack are all the continuity he needs. That voice, a grainy croon distilled from blue-eyed soul and California country cool, remains a prime attraction. If the tasteful, lissome country-folk backing of steel guitar, fiddle, piano, drums, and harmony vocals from Cindy Wasserman is a tad shy of adventurous, the sound suits the ripe, romantic, and dreamy mood of Phillips's songs. --Roy Kasten
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 24, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Zoe
  • ASIN: B00019JQ1Y
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #198,938 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S Hanes on May 3, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Rewind to 1992. Grunge was exploding, Jack Johnson was an up and coming surfer, and John Mayer was worrying about puberty while Grant Lee Phillips quietly released "Fuzzy", a near perfect debut album with the quasi-legendary Grant Lee Buffalo. Four star reviews and blistering live sets followed but commercial success would allude the mighty Buffalo.
The masterpiece "Mighty joe Moon" followed to lukewarm commercial results and yet more four+ star reviews.
By the time "Jubilee" had hit the bargain bin and GLB was no more, America had yawned through four outstanding releases from Grant Lee Phillips and band. Grant retreated to the basement and released the understated solo gem "Ladies love oracle" yet another quiet masterpiece to add to the catalogue. The electro-pop experiment "Mobilize" followed, bringing us here to 2004.
"Virginia Creeper" is Grant's third solo album and for the diehard Grant Lee fans the question is not "Will it be good"? but "Will it sell"? In a time where every babyfaced singer songwriter with a push from the record company sells a million records, we can only shake our heads and wonder whether America will let its criminally unknown national treasure slip into obscurity or be finally showered with long overdue commercial success. Rounder records should be able to showcase Grant Lee's talents to a new set of fans outside of the usual alt/rock crowd and to appreciators of...um...country music.
Grant Lee has always defied Genres, and he does not deserve to be thrown into the glad bag of alt/country contendors because Virginia Creeper should appeal to appreciators of all music, whether it be the harder edges of Grant Lee Buffalo or the bluegrass artists featured on Rounder.
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Format: Audio CD
I too am an old time GLB fan, but Grant's previous solo records have been nothing more than passing interests for me. This record is different. It has been in my CD player non stop since I got it. In fact I am listening to it while I write this review. It has a nice mood througout the entire record. "Mona Lisa" is a great song and a great start to the record.
People are right when they say it does not compare to a GLB record, but I think almost all the songs sound like GLB songs. None of these songs, individually, would song out of place on a GLB record (except maybe Jubilee), but it is the mood of the whole album that make it different and special.
I gave up on the hope that Grant will finally be noticed by the mainstream a long time ago. Who cares? Be greatful that Grant is still putting out new music that we can all enjoy. Turn your friends on to his music and go see Grant live. It is really amazing. I envy you L.A. folks that get to see Grant @ Largo often. Check out his tour dates on his web page. He plays smaller clubs and tix are not that much, so get out to see him.
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Format: Audio CD
That Grant Lee Phillips' solo output has not reached the same legendary indie status of his former band, Grant Lee Buffalo, more than a mystery it's a crime.

"Virginia Creeper," his third solo album, may not be as breathtaking as the hushed "Ladies Love's Oracle" nor as adventurous as "Mobilize," but it is worthy of their company.

Phillips is a remarkable songwriter, capable of the utmost intimacy at the drop of a hat, at ease with creating melodies that, before you know it, can give your thoughts its proper music.

The spare accompaniment here is flawless, mainly gorgeous violin and his acoustic guitar, subtle drums and tasteful piano, and some mandolin and steel guitar which tinge most tunes with Country overtones without lacking a Pop sensibility. Tunes like "Making Memory," "Mona Lisa" or "Always Friends" have exquisite arrangements and remind you of what a great singer Phillips is.

In total, this is an album without low points, more likely the kind where everyone may end up with different new favorites.
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Format: Audio CD
Where does Grant-Lee get his music? This man can reinvent his sound from record to record. Constant through them all, though, is his amazing lyric writing. I read the words to each of these songs the other day without the melody to back them up. Grant-Lee's songs stand on their poetic merit. Listen to the words of Susanna Little and tell me this isn't a 3 minute Steinbeck novella. Better, this song is apparently in tribute to Grant's grandmother so we've been brought into a true family tale of toughness, pain, guts. Throughout the record, gorgeous melodies underpin great writing.
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By A Customer on February 26, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This is the record I've been waiting for. It's just gorgeous, moving and poignant. My favorite of all the Phillips solo stuff and the GLB stuff. Absolutely a must have. Phillips has grown. His voice has never sounded sweeter and the songs have never been more moving and intimate. The sound of the recording is warm and sparse. You can hear every breath, every instrument, every word. Phillips is a genius. One of the five best songwriters of our generation and one of the five most beautiful voices, too. What an amazing and powerful combination. You'll love this record!
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