The Phil Christie of today is different than the Phil that wrote the songs on his last album “Rearview Mirror.” He is a now a father and a little older, wiser and more in touch with himself. The images of “looking back and reflecting on love lost, love won, dreams unfulfilled and those dreams that may yet still come true” that were the theme of “Rearview Mirror” are memories. Those memories became the starting point for Phil’s upcoming release, “Ghosts of Christmas Past.”
The aptly named “Ghosts” speaks of the holidays in a way that only a man who has done some reflection on life could do. Looking back and learning from his past have given Phil Christie a unique take on the reality of the holidays. There is an almost melancholy feel to the new work that is a bit of a departure from the traditional, feel good holiday music. “Ghosts of Christmas Past” will include several traditional holiday classics, as well as new tracks that Phil has written for this stripped down, almost folk/Americana CD. It is all about sitting around beside the fire on a cold night, enjoying each other’s company and remembering the “Ghosts of Christmas Past” – good or bad.
Phil Christie is a native of Canada who first picked up a guitar at age 7 when his aunt gave him one as a gift. Shortly after that, his parents divorced and what followed was a dive into using music as an escape that any psychiatrist could peg a mile away. Phil took to the guitar right away and Glen Campbell was a huge early influence. He wanted to sing like him, play like him, and sadly, even wear his hair like Glen. Soon after, Phil discovered the Beatles, Neil Diamond, Gordon Lightfoot and John Denver and would recreate their concert albums over and over in his room – with enough savvy to use a desk lamp as a spotlight.
That spotlight soon began to shine on Phil in public, as well. He earned a Cub Scout merit badge for singing Glen Campbell’s “Dreams of the Everyday Housewife” in front of everyone. That experience was the beginning of turning a shy, introverted kid into the person he became. Music was a wonderful way to make friends and the songwriting process became cathartic. Phil played in school concerts and assemblies, using these public forums as a way to express his bottled up feelings. High school was fun and he had learned firsthand how passion and art could enhance self-esteem and build confidence.
Phil Christie is taking that learning experience and giving back to kids who might not have the same opportunities he did to express themselves. He knows full well what music can do for a child, and plans to open a “School of Rock” in December, 2014. Music really is for everyone – from the jocks to the nerds – but it is especially transformational for the shy kids, the loners, the outsiders that feel isolated. Phil is passionate about teaching and wants to help enrich the lives of children through music.
Even after all of the commercial and critical success he has had over the years (Kerrville New Folk Finalist in 2002, airplay on over 200 radio stations worldwide, a 2005 Billboard World Song Contest finalist and playing at the legendary Bluebird Cafe), Phil still feels that his biggest accomplishment was becoming a parent. Jason Christie was born in December of 2009 and has had a wonderful influence on Phil. Two of the songs on the soon to be released “Ghosts of Christmas Past” are about parenthood. Part of the motivation behind opening the “School of Rock” is because Phil knows how enriching music can be and wants to leave a legacy for his own son. Phil Christie has come full circle by using the lessons learned from his own past and sharing them with others. He has grown as a singer, a songwriter, and a man through the shared experiences we can all relate to.