by Toby Brooks
Photo credit: The Exeter Phoenix
Phillip Henry might not be a name you hear dominating the charts or adorning the posters outside the big arenas of the world, but when it comes to musical talent and the creation of art his name and fame becomes irrelevant as it is surpassed by his skill and devotion to folk music. Google the name and if you scroll past the website selling you tickets for his show at The Phoenix on the 25th of October, you’ll find ‘Phillip Henry- beatbox harmonica’ and yes, I can confirm that you will not be disappointed. The Harmonica is just one of the many intriguing and unusual instruments within his repertoire, the slide guitar often also having a strong stage presence.
His soulful voice might lead you to think he originates from far across the prairies, but he is actually from Lancashire. Having travelled the world playing with and learning from various musicians including Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya, who is reportedly India’s premier slide guitarist, his solo tour follows the success of his career in the musical duo Edgelarks, alongside fellow musician Hannah Martin and the release of his solo album, True North early this month.
His show at The Phoenix is sure to be musically inspiring and entertaining not just for fans of folk. With great variety in his songs from songs that will fill you with nostalgia for your childhood back in Wichita and remind you of The Boy That Wouldn’t How Corn to the upbeat and downright impressive aforementioned harmonica beatboxing in Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning. It is hard to think of other musicians closer to the mainstream to compare him to because his style is so unique but names like Ben Howard might perhaps spring to mind. His music is not for the masses but is for those looking to find something different to the invariable pop and rap music played heard on the radio.