Phil Circle has always preferred to pursue his career on his terms, mostly by disregarding the much sought-after “record label” in favor of his own, booking more intimate venues that appreciate the musician and his work, and receiving radio play on stations all over the country and world that look for independent talent.
Phil is by no means your ordinary songster picking away quietly on his acoustic guitar. He manages to blend elements of rock, jazz, blues, folk, and even classical, to seamlessly create a style truly his own. Add to this his often flawless and always energetic live performance, and he lands far away from what most people think of as “Singer/Songwriter.”
Phil’s debut release in the 90s was hailed by In The Mix as “just what the doctor ordered” and they pointed out that his music “defies rock, jazz and blues” and said his songs were “from the master class.” 20 years later, Illinois Entertainer referred to his latest band effort as proof that Phil is “one of our town’s most unique voices.”
While living for a time in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Phil recorded Living In The Chippewa Valley (2011) and The Unsung (2013). Prior to that he released two CDs in 2010 in Chicago entitled All That I Am and Da Coverz respectively. The music on these albums was co-produced and engineered by Oscar winner and two-time Grammy-nominee George Belle. In 2009 he also released Minutes to Circle, a full band CD of more original music, which has received numerous positive reviews.Phil Circle’s earlier career included a few years living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. As a result, you can hear the Tejano influence in some of his songs, especially “Can’t Take Anymore” from his debut 1997 CD, Guilty: Extenuating Circumstances. Following that came Guilty: Live On WZRD (2000) and then, while in the midst of recording for a second studio album, he broke up the band Guilty and went solo. This led to the self titled 16 track album Phil Circle (2003), Phil Circle and Ruby Harris: Live At The Gateway (2003), and a few stalled attempts at more studio work until 2009 brought the May release of Minutes To Circle. In addition to these various “official” releases, there are many studio and live recordings that were not included on any albums or only on short promotional burns. Most of these unofficial releases are available on this site for free download. Donations are accepted. Back in 2015, after much “you should write these stories down” from friends and music fans over the years, Phil finally took the stories he’d been telling about his life in music and put them to the page. This became a collection of stories, and thoughts on the business and craft of music called The Outback Musician’s Survival Guide. It was loosely structured, non-linear and comb bound from pages printed at his home. It was, however, favorably enough received by the small number of people that got their hands on a copy. Phil also received input from many of those who read it. Their input included a lot of requests for more in-depth stories. They wanted more than the funnies, they wanted the dirt. Be careful what you ask for. This year (2017) marks the publication of a 215 page rewrite. Phil has made it a more guided story of his survival as an independent musician over thirty years. You get to learn about the darker moments along with the crazy antics, and all of his latest observations about an ever changing business and an ever evolving art form. The Outback Musician’s Survival Guide is available in softcover, print-on-demand through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and more, and e-book. Initial reviews have been very favorable.