Rocket Racket Records
Sounding like a taunt from a villain of my not-too-distant past, the letter that accompanied Phil Marshall's new CD, "Scatterbed," opened with "Just when you thought Phil Marshall had nothing left." It could be argued the master guitar wizard always had this album in him and that the time he spent with other notable outfits was a lifelong detour. That's not to discredit The Colorblind James Experience or any of the many notable bands he's chopped wood for (Hotheads, SLT, etc.), but you gotta wonder why, after all these years, Marshall finally hits the stands with his first album.
This album — with just Marshall and his guitar for the most part — is a dark brew, teaming with atmosphere and melancholy. Marshall's guitar is rich in tone as he trips, travels, and traipses tremendous. Anyone that's heard him knows the man can play anything and everything, but on "Scatterbed," he plays it cautious — not held back, but tastefully reserved. Marshall's voice is quiet, limited perhaps in range but not in breathtaking honesty and mood. The whole album is mellow with a shared introspective flair, kinda like a cross between a lie detector and pop lullabies sung in half time. The whole affair is simply gorgeous.