Here is the title track from Zach Phillips’ brand new album. The video for ‘Goddaughters’ features breathtaking scenery – landscapes so expansive and beautiful that you are immediately awed, which puts you in the right frame of mind to absorb this lovely, melodic song. It was filmed around various locations in California and Arizona, including Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Death Valley and Anza-Borrego Desert; such wonderful geography – so much bigger than us – is the perfect backdrop for Phillips’ thought-provoking lines: “And someday, I’ll rise above my name // Shed my skin and make good with my fate…And the mansions we build on hills so tall // Sometimes fall // And one day, I’ll rise above my fear // Shed my skin, leave an afterimage here.” The song begins like a subtle dream, with swelling organ that gives way to warmly tuneful guitar and mandolin and Phillips’ pure vocal; it closes in a similar fashion with the guitars fading out before the organ, giving the song a sense of completion.
The new album, Phillips’ fourth full-length release, is a sister-album to 2020’s ‘Wine of Youth’, which was nominated for Best Americana Album at the San Diego Music Awards. Written during the uncertainty and instability of the pandemic, ‘Goddaughters’ was inspired by a simple but intriguing question: what does a final album sound like? Phillips says: “As the songs began coalescing, I noticed that they shared the same threads: legacy, transcendence, being in the moment and I realised, ‘This sounds like a final album. If not my final album, the kind music someone would leave to the world when making a swan song.'” Understandably, it’s a darker collection than its predecessor in some respects. However, the sense of completing a journey and redemption is uplifting and hopeful. A range of styles, from folk to 1990s alternative via alt-country and indie are blended across the songs, creating a timeless feel to the music, which is fitting for its themes. Phillips explains: “My intention was to capture music that was both of the moment and slightly outside of time. The ‘goddaughters’ are the songs themselves. We tend to them, and for a finite period, we live with them. But they are not ours. Like us, the songs are just passing through. Again … the material of a final album.” It’s a beautiful sentiment to accompany beautiful music. Check it out.
Many thanks to Americana UK and Andrew Frolish.