If you were to close your eyes right now and picture a place of complete serenity and retreat, perhaps a tranquil river, dappled in the sunlight with wisps of blue clouds drifting overhead and birdsong filtering in overhead. Betsy Phillips has a voice that is a living embodiment of such a tranquillity.
Phillips new EP Like We’re Talking is a perfect introduction to her work as it focuses your attention on her softly melancholic vocal stylings that are heart-rendingly beautiful to the point where they feel almost haunting. However, the clarity and calmness of her mind comes through in her every word, making her every sentence a comforting lullaby that soothes and assuages. For Like We’re Talking Phillips teamed up with Anthony da Costa and Ethan Jodziewicz, both of whom lend their subtle string melodies to her evocative voice and elevate her higher and higher. Phillips is an emotional and inclusive performer with a heart that is daring open to the world. Her songs touch on her intimate and private life from her personal relationships to the events of her childhood. It is as thought her whole heart is on display. This willingness to share her heart makes us all want to open our own to receive her and the intimacy that she shares with her fans is truly stunning.
Quite inspirationally, Phillips who is originally from Nebraska and relocated to Nashville stated that she didn’t move there knowing how to write songs but instead simply decided that it was something that she was going to do and that ‘writing songs was something I was going to do, and something I was going to be good at’. This insight into her determined personality is key to enjoying her work because to listen to her EP it is as though she is born to this, with her personable nature and touching lyrics – but she is humble enough to readily admit that she works for her every achievement and with Like We’re Talking it is clear that she has achieved her goal. Smooth, soothing and soulful, Like We’re Talking is a softly inspirational and delicate EP which will leave you somewhere on the cusp between joy and sadness. A melancholic cheerfulness washes over you with her indelible voice and leaves you completely at peace with the world.
Review by Joe Knipe