Phill Reynolds “A Ride”

Bronson Recordings, 2022

Interesting concept album focusing on the journey of a troubled man seeking redemption.

Artwork for Phill Reynolds album “A Ride”Phill Reynolds, (aka Silva Martino Cantele), lives in Zugliano in Italy. The talented Reynolds played almost all of the instruments on his latest album, ‘A Ride’, as well as co-producing it with his long-term collaborator Bruno Barcella. Following a tour of the USA, Reynolds was inspired by the characters he met on the road and the everchanging scenery to make his fourth record a concept album, focusing on the last three days of the life of an unnamed, troubled man on the run from an unspecified event who’s searching for salvation.

The 11 track album commences with ‘This Isn’t Me’. The opening scene is set at quarter to six in the morning with the protagonist, who sees himself as a ‘ghost at the steering wheel‘, contemplating his journey to who knows where and wishing that it was ‘just a ride‘. ‘Man In A Suit Case’ features some incredibly dexterous finger picking from Reynolds and starts the character’s voyage into the unknown. The theme of fleeing the past continues on the third song ‘Run, Run Away’.

The fifth song on the album, ‘A Clockwork Dream’, is the one of the few on the record that features a full band arrangement. Reynolds says that: “It’s the kind of thing Neil Young & Crazy Horse might do on a Sunday morning”. With Jesus on his left and Lucifer on his right, the central character contemplates the trials he’s faced in the past and the loss of someone dear to him, is it his wife, lover, daughter? We never find out.

Glow Beneath The Abyss’ is a glowering, ominous instrumental. There’s something brewing, but there’s no hint of what it is. It’s followed by ‘The Fault Is Mine’, a track which wouldn’t be out of place on Springsteen’s “Nebraska“, in which the anti-hero recognises that he’s been ‘riding the character of conceit‘ and that he’s the architect of the trouble in which he finds himself.

The last song on the album is the acoustic, ‘It Rains’, where the narrator ponders that even though his life is coming to an end, maybe his pain wasn’t in vain and that he’s achieved some type of redemption. ‘A Ride’ is a fine album, the only caveat being that on several tracks it’s hard for the listener to decipher all the lyrics, which detracts slightly from the overall story. Reynolds has summed the record up by saying that: “One of the main themes here is that life can be a sort of trap unless you recognise your own demons and try to deal with them”. It’s good advice and if you’ve got a spare moment why not take ‘A Ride’ with Reynolds.

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