Sam Phillips in-studio with Eric Gorfain (violin), 10-30-08
Sam Phillips' latest release, Don't Do Anything (out this year on Nonesuch), is a new beginning of sorts for the veteran singer-songwriter. Most notably, it marks her first album in two decades not to be produced by now ex-husband T-Bone Burnett, though she hardly misses a beat on her debut as a producer. Storms of electric guitar bubble just under the surface of characteristically smart and savvy songs like the title track, while cohorts like violinist Eric Gorfain and drummer Jay Bellerose help bring a Waits-ian junkyard rhythm to "Shake It Down." As always, though, it's that rare voice that carries things, conveying as it does the kind of wisdom that knows enough to keep searching.
We talked to Phillips about self-producing, self-analyzing, and the recording of one of her songs on one of last year's biggest releases, Plant & Krauss' Raising Sand. She also talked new beginnings, old L.A., and the real life spiritual characters that inhabit some of the new songs.
View the photo set from the session
Recording engineer: Steven Kray