Phil Burdett is a very curious individual and he has an incredible and unique style that has quickly made him a favorite of many of us here at Beat100.
His latest entry to the music charts "Crossing Woolwich Ferry" is a very odd song and it's not something you can listen to once and be done. It's a fantastic and eclectic mix of country, folk, blues and acoustic and it's a song that constantly evolves whilst maintaining something gentle and intoxicating. It tells a gentle story of reaching out for each other and life in all its glory and disgrace. It's really a beautiful song with a gentle atmosphere and deep evocative lyrics.
As a singer Phil Burdett has a truly unique voice. He has a folk, country, bluesy voice which is gravelly in places and light and soft in others. It's a unique style that allows him to convey a myriad of different thoughts and emotions with ease. Lyrically his liberal use of metaphor and symbolism lets him paint pictures in the mind as few modern artists are able to do. He's very much a poet artist and this is his huge strength; yet he still manages a catchy chorus and beautiful vocals.
In terms of the music itself we have a gentle acoustic led song with a very soft tone. The guitar work is gentle with plenty of tone but it really takes a backdrop to the superb vocals. What I assume is a mandolin that quietly plugs along in the background provides some gentle accentuation to parts of the song and adds a little extra depth. The drumming is melodic and accents key places, pushing the song and story forward. While nothing in the music stands out in the “in your face” style we’re used to in modern music (there are no over the top guitar solos or drum rolls) the harmony of the music is simply perfect. Taken in isolation the instrumentals play a background role but when taken together, as they are here, we are left with something complete, exciting and imaginative. It’s hard to explain just how well everything comes together in this song; which is why I recommend you listen to it again and again! The music tells the story while the vocals tell the music and we are left with a perfect snapshot of life.
It’s rare that we find something that comes together so perfectly and often the video lets the artist down. Yet the simple collage of the band, public domain footage and a sparing use of effects here comes together to add a second layer of meaning to the song. It’s a simple collage but it shows a very personal side of the band and life generally. The juxtaposition of stock footage of, unsurprisingly, boats and passengers contrasts brilliantly with the band at the pub and relaxing.
"Crossing Woolwich Ferry" is a song you really have to go and listen to and it’s something that grows on you every time you do. Here at Beat100 we’d like to wish Phil the best of luck and we look forward to his next uploads wholeheartedly.