Tidings Café: Broadway Phil & The Shouters

Economic recession is causing some musicians who once had day jobs to rely more heavily on their art for sustenance.

Broadway Phil and The Shouters have been playing together for 16 years through the best and worst of times with what they call a roots based industrial blues sound. They wore their hearts on their sleeves through their Tidings Café performance on July 8.

Phil Newton, lead vocals and harmonica, wrote the original song "Oregon" for his wife, Cindy. Their second song, "Walkin Man Blues," is their version of a Robert Johnson tune. Accompanying Newton for the live performance at the Daily Tidings newsroom was David Mathieu on drums, Jake Thompson on guitar and Gary Davis on bass.

Their music is based largely on the emotional aspects of life while striving to include a positive note when dealing with hard felt emotions such as, loneliness, loss and grief. They call it "a hint of light at the end of a long night."

"There was almost no roots scene here, then, only top 40 or country," said Newton of the change in Southern Oregon's live music scene over the years.

"One thing that consistently impresses me is the caliber of musicians," said Newton, who moved to Southern Oregon from Florida in 1983.

Newton has a day job working for the state. Life's not so easy for Davis, his long-time band mate, who was laid off in January.

The group has several gigs booked throughout the year, but would like to be a little busier.

Broadway Phil and The Shouters prefer to play with no cover except for benefits for good-cause organizations, such as Bright Futures, a Grants Pass-based nonprofit that gives 100 percent of its donations to educational opportunities to 400,000 youngsters in Nepal with a recent expansion to Nigeria.

"Women have a tough time getting an education," said Newton, adding, "They help boys, too."

The next opportunity to catch a heart-felt performance by Broadway Phil and The Shouters is Friday, July 31 at the G Street Supper Club in Grants Pass at 8 p.m. More information on Bright Futures can be found at www.brightfuturesfoundation.org. More goodies about the band, schedule of performances and CD ordering is available at www.theshouters.org.

Videos of both songs can viewed on the Tidings Café group page of connectashland.com and at dailytidings.com.

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