With big drums and beautiful strings, Sam Phillips conjured up her 10th studio album, World on Sticks, in between making music for television (Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life for Netflix and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel for Amazon). Swinging from broken modern sounds to dreamy, cinematic music, Phillips’ unique voice takes us on a journey through a world thrown off balance by excessive greed, speed, pollution and power.
“Troubles on the outside can be reflections of troubles on the inside. We hand big business and big tech the keys when we accept their definitions and dreams of the good life, of beauty, of success, instead of creating our own. As I wrote these songs I wanted to look at our lost connections…with nature, with mystery, with other humans and parts of ourselves,” Phillips explains.
Sam’s band, Jay Bellerose (drums), Jennifer Condos (bass), and Eric Gorfain (multi-instrumentalist/arranger), is joined by special guests Jon Brion (bass/guitar), Chris Bruce (guitar) and The Section Quartet (strings).
Though the title World on Sticks suggests a gloomy view of the world, Phillips uses the phrase affectionately in the title song’s lyric when she says “our world on sticks so brave so small / I’m ready for the works so let’s have it all”. She may not want to live here forever, as she says in “Roll Em”, a dark Mancini-like song about a sociopath, but Sam ends the album with the assertion that, “If only / with candles and stars / And broken light from dreams like ours / we will still find our way through / to love.”