The Roots Highway — Still Night

by Roots Highway August 2004


Chicago's Zach Phillips is one of the greatest undiscovered writers coming out of the music scene. The mystery still looms high over Chi-town why he has yet to be discovered. On his sophomore album "Still Night", Phillips displays qualities of some of the best musicians -- he's managed to showcase his ability to get up close and personal with the listener bearing his heart and soul by interweaving thoughtful and introspective lyrics with original melodies While taking a painstaking look at life and love, Phillips has revealed a bit of himself, and has also shown us that wearing our hearts on our sleeves might not be our best option.

Of the twelve original tracks, Phillips takes us down one rocky road to another with woeful songs of love gone wrong. Not that it's a bad thing, but few artists have managed to maintain a successful career of someber songs (Neil Young being one of the successful ones to come to mind). The influences of Phillips can be felt throughout the journey. You'll find hints of The Band in the opening the opening "Cry Like I Do" where Phillips has suffered sleepless nights thinking about the one he once loved, the Doors in "Time To Move On," throw in some influence from the Byrds on jangly pop cuts like "I Wanna Know" and you'll discover an album that's diverse in sound, but unfortunately not subject matter. Cuts that display his stellar songwriting capabilities include "Farewell My Love", "Some Faith" and "Farewell, So Long." All the cuts are bolstered by Phillips' warm, and heartfelt vocals that are distinctively familiar, and put the listener at if you're listening to an old friend.

While the heart can only ache so many ways, one can only endure so much hurt before they turn to the bottle. And if Phillips has lived these moments that have been etched in stone, it would be suggested that intervention might be an option he'd want to consider. It should be noted that the closing track "Brightest Star" shows a glimmer of hope....let's hope that Phillips finds that light at the end of the tunnel and that it takes him to a better place and show us that he's not "too far gone."

Grade: B

(, August 2004)