Band of the Week: Phillip Fox Band

Meet the Band: Phillip Fox (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Jonathan Kampfe (vocals, bass), David Morckel (vocals, guitar), Austin Nill (drums)

Straight Outta Cowtown: The Columbus band came together three and a half years ago. Fox, who's originally from Detroit, had been doing solo work. Kampfe was living in Virginia but moved to Columbus to start collaborating with Fox. The group found Morckel through open auditions and shortly after that they added Nill to the fold. They put out an EP in 2012. "Columbus is a funny town," says Fox. "It has an incredible wealth of musicians. It's a great incubator. But for as big and good as it is, you have to get out of the city."

The Beardbackers: While trying to come up with the finances to fund the recording of its new album, Heartland, the band ran a Kickstarter campaign. It got a good response and thanks the fans who contributed, dubbing them "Beardbackers" in the album's liner notes. "We called them Beardbackers and the ones thanked in the liner notes are the ones who donated a certain level," Fox says. "It's great. They are owning that [name] now."

Why You Should Hear Them: The band started pre-production on Heartland way back in 2012. It had more than enough songs for a full-length but put out an EP "just to get it out." The songs run a wide gamut. Album opener "You Are the Girl" recalls the tougher alt-country of Drive-by Truckers and Uncle Tupelo and "Ava Lee" has a bit more traditional twang to it. "As a band, we don't want to be pigeonholed," says Fox. "How many people listen to a whole record?t The records I listen to are the ones where artists step out of their comfort zone. We want to see what kind of momentum we can build on our own. We tried to pitch it to radio and the feedback was that it's too rock for country and too country for rock. We want to see what genre lines our fan base falls into."

Where You Can Hear Them:

Where You Can See Them: Phillip Fox band plays a CD release show at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 6, at Around the Corner in Lakewood and at 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 12 at the Thirsty Cowboy in Medina.

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Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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