POSTED ON DECEMBER 15, 2010:
Home for the Holidays
Phil Marshall returns to Tulsa with To Have Heroes this weekend
Music Man. Marshall is ready to wrap up the year by returning to an old haunt and playing with some old friends.
When Phil Marshall returns to Tulsa for two shows this weekend, it will be special in many aspects. Not only will it be a homecoming of sorts for the Englishman who fell in love with Tulsa, it will be a true homecoming show for To Have Heroes (Andy Skib with Neal Tiemann of MidWest Kings) and the return of live music to a new venue in a beloved old location, as the Treehouse opens in the site formerly known as Boston's, Steamroller Blues and before that Hoffbrau.
As one of the few who missed Phil Marshall's original tenure in Tulsa's music scene, I asked him over the weekend to explain how he was originally drawn to our beloved city. "Basically, there was a girl in Tulsa who kept asking me to visit and eventually, I did in 2000" he chuckled.
"I became enamored with Tulsa, really" he continued. "I loved Tulsa from the first time I came here. I got a little airplay on The Edge and KMOD and recorded in Tulsa for part of an album and recorded the other part at Abbey Road studios in London. Ever since, I've kept coming back because there are great people and a great music scene..."
When discussing his ties to Tulsa, Marshall admitted to his fascination with the mystique of Tulsa and its ties with classic British musicians like Eric Clapton, George Harrison and even Paul McCartney. "I guess that's one thing I always found enchanting," he explained "the idea of being an Englishman, playing with Midwestern guys in Tulsa and following in those footsteps, in a way."
Over the past few years, Marshall's career path has taken him away from Tulsa, but he always seems to find a way to return and the audiences always embrace him when he does. Just over the past year, Marshall finally officially moved to the US and landed in Austin, allowing him to find his way back to Tulsa more often. 2010 has proven to be a busy year, however, as Marshall has been busy trying to build his fan base in the face of a changing music industry, by doing it the old fashioned way -- getting out and playing shows.
"Last summer, I got really frustrated," she shared, "and decided to just pack my guitar and SUV and just tell people where I was coming -- and luckily, people booked me."
Dubbed the "Not On Tour, Tour", Marshall indeed packed his car and hit the road, posting dates online as he was booked, playing everything from clubs to living room concerts on a tour that saw him go from Texas to Chicago, across to the Northeast and from New York down the East Coast before cutting through Tennessee and the Midwest before returning to Texas. After returning to Austin, Marshall flew to California and met up with his band to finish up with a gig at The Viper Room. Although he admits there wasn't much financial gain, the tour did go a long way in building up his fan base after a period of relative quiet.
Now, Marshall is ready to wrap up the year by returning to an old haunt and playing with some old friends. Backed by longtime bassist Monte Anderson, Marshall will also be accompanied by Neal Tiemann and Kyle Peek (of David Cook's band), as well as Andy Skib.
"I started playing in the bars early on and got to play with some great musicians," Marshall reflected."Part of them was people like Andy Skib and Neal Tiemann, and obviously David Cook -- who is now doing his own thing. They would come to my shows, we'd drink together, I'd come see theirs -- so there has always been a friendship there."
"I always felt like they had something special and now we're all doing things on a little more national level, so we're going back and will fill up the old room where we all used to play."
As we discussed the shows at The Treehouse, Marshall told me he wanted to play a show in Tulsa and was trying to figure out where to play. "When a friend called me and said 'Did you know about The Treehouse?' I jumped on it straight away. There just didn't seem like a better place we could play. I don't know that Neal and Andy and I actually met for the first time at Boston's, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone told me we did. It just seems like the perfect place to play."
As both parties return to Tulsa and a small room after a busy year of touring, Marshall decided to make it a two night stand. "Half the capacity will be from out of town," Marshall shared, "which says a lot about what we've accomplished."
Indeed, after a busy year for both acts two nights are necessary for a return to the room where both artists originally won over their Tulsa audiences. Doors will open at 8pm and the show will begin at 9pm each night this weekend as The Treehouse debuts with a new look and décor. Bryan Jewett will open the show on Friday, December 17, while Dante and the Hawks will open the December 18 show. "I guess we'll flip for who goes on first each night," Marshall laughed with me about deciding the order for the rest of the evening. Not that it matters, as he and Skib will share band members and Skib will likely sit in and play with Marshall as well.
Most of all it will make for a great homecoming show (of sorts) for Marshall as well and Teimann and Skib and an appropriate opening for The Treehouse as live music returns to the Northwest corner of 18th and Boston. Tickets are only $12, but you'll want to get yours early by getting them online at www.philmarshalloffical.com or www.myspace.com/tohaveheroes.
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