After a successful show at The Locks at Sona last November, Phil Roy returns to the venue for one more special show on June 9 to celebrate his "60 Years Around the Sun."
Roy established himself as a top-notch songwriter before he began to record under his own name. His song “Hope in a Hopeless World” was recorded by no fewer than four other artists, including Widespread Panic who took it to #5 on the Billboard Triple A chart in 1997. Roy’s songs have been recorded by Ray Charles, Joe Cocker, Melody Gardot, Mavis Staples, Pops Staples and The Neville Brothers, among others. His songs have appeared in films including the Academy Award winners “As Good as It Gets” and “Leaving Las Vegas.”
Roy also recorded four albums since the year 2000, garnering great reviews. His most recent release, “In the Weird Small Hours” (MRI, 2009), won Concept Album of the Year from the Independent Music Awards. And he developed a loyal fan base that attended his shows regularly.
One could say that Roy was living the dream. He was earning a living as a musician and songwriter. His songs were being recorded by renowned artists. He was able to perform concerts with top-notch musicians whenever he wanted. And then he gave it all up.
In April 2013, Roy moved from New York City to Boise, Idaho. And after 30+ years immersed in the music business, he put his career aside for a new lifestyle – that of a family man.
“I never had a family, and I’m 60 with a 1-year-old,” said Roy in an interview from his home in Boise. “It’s a very different world that I walk in now.”
Roy’s job now is supporting wife Katarina, son Enzo — age 5, and daughter Indira — age 15 months.
“People ask me what I do now. It’s a word that doesn’t exist, but I feel it totally encapsulates my world. I am a provisionist,” said Roy. “I provide in my way.”
He explained: “My wife is one of six pediatric surgeons in the whole state of Idaho. She’s on call. If the phone rings at 11 p.m. and she’s got to go do an appendectomy, I can’t be on tour. I’ve got to be there because I’ve got two young children. If a kid is sick and she’s got to go to the hospital, someone has to be there with (our) kids, and that’s not going to work if I’m touring.”
Roy has embraced the role of provisionist. He stays home while his wife saves the world. It was enough for a while and then fate stepped in. Roy went to a house concert that was hosted by a friend of his in Boise.
“This is at my friend’s house, and I used to play at houses, and I’m going to go see them,” Roy decided. “And they were really good. It just inspired me.
“The next day, I looked at my wife and said, ‘I need to go out and play music. I need to do that. I’m done creating kids. I need to create music. And you know what? I’m going to go do a tour.’ She looked at me like, ‘OK.’ And I wanted to go tour for two weeks, and she basically gave me a week. Her mother [who lives in Doylestown] had to come out to watch the kids because we have no family in Boise, so it’s a bit of a logistical thing because of her job.”
“I had a week of being Phil Roy, the musician guy, again. I loved it.”
This time around it’s just one show and a weekend away from home.
“The thing about being in Boise, it’s hard to get back to Philly. There are no direct flights to the East Coast… it takes all day to get back. (I) can do it, but I don’t come back very often.”
But it’s worth it for Roy.
“The show at the Locks was so much fun and so enjoyable for me. I’m like, ‘I want to do this again.’ It was sold out, and I haven’t played in a long time. I had such a great time. I think the audience enjoyed it so much, I (decided) ‘I’m going to do another show.’”
As always, Roy will be accompanied by a top-notch band.
Marc Vetri will be playing guitar.
“Most people know Mark Vetri for his cooking and his restaurants,” said Roy, “but not only is he a James Beard–award winning, Philadelphia iconic chef-restaurateur, he is a great guitar player and one of my best friends. We have been playing music together for close to 18 years.”
Grammy Award winner Malcolm Gold (Sheryl Crow, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, etc.) will play double bass. Philadelphia’s Chris Aschman (Trinidelphia) will play trumpet and steel drums. And Philadelphia’s legendary Fred “The Red” Berman (Amos Lee) will play drums.
Roy will perform fan favorites like “Hope in a Hopeless World” and “Melt,” and also possibly some never-before-heard songs.
“It’s actually great that we haven’t played that much because it’s so fresh. I want to create something on the spot, something different, something that’s never been heard before in that moment. A great jazz artist will always push himself to go someplace with the material. That's the most important thing – the spontaneous combustion of a musical moment. The song is the song, but you’re taking it to a place where… you hope you don’t fall off the cliff. Hopefully you ascend into the sky.”