Many records, like this one, are simply a man and his guitar. Yet rare is the hand-eked, spare and minstrel-like quality of Lindsay Phillips, whose move from Melbourne to a woodsy part of Sweden sapped his funds and saw Solguden’s quiet self-release.
Phillips’ finger-plucked steel string guitar and vibrato-fringed baritone conveys meditation and awakening; loneliness and its solace. In the notes he talks of a “newly developed … connection with the real world” in snowy Sweden where he traces wolf tracks and ponders sun worship. His timeless musings pour into timeless songs, rich in elemental and spiritual wonder. When he sings “I have come for the ages/And the ages to me/When finally I witness eternity”, it feels true.
Leonard Cohen’s hat-tip to universality “I know we are not new/In city and in forest they smiled like me and you” is constant on Solguden, which pays homage to past offerings, as on ‘Dies Irae’, a re-worked translation of part of the requiem mass, while Baudelaire’s poetry springs exquisitely to mind on ‘The Song Of The Siren’: “The light never ending/On the length of her hair”. Recorded live, sans digital tweaks, with its reference points of nature, death and deliverance, Solguden is folk music’s essence; fresh in its evocation of the old things.
Like this? Try these: Grand Salvo, Death; Rand & Holland, Caravans