Ohio-based Phillip Fox Band to release debut album Sept. 2

By: Erin Callahan – Staff Writer

Ohio quartet Phillip Fox Band will play at the Hollywood Casino’s grand opening Thursday, Aug. 28, as it promotes its upcoming debut album, “Heartland.”

The band has built upon its hometown roots, and describes its unique sound as “country-fried rock n’ roll.”

Their EP album, “Motor City Blood” was released in 2012 honoring frontman Phillip Fox’s roots in Detroit. The new album, “Heartland,” will be released Sept. 2 and pays tribute to the band’s new home in Ohio, “the heart of it all,” Fox said.

“In a grander sense, I’ve traveled to four continents and there are just places that feel welcoming to certain folks and places that don’t,” he said. “I’ve found that if I get too far away from open fields, trees and a little soil in the air, I start getting antsy, a little claustrophobic. It didn’t matter if it was in Japan, Spain, or New York state. Heartland is about finding places wherever we are that speak to us and feel like home.”

Pre-production for “Heartland” began in 2013 as a team effort. As the primary songwriter and lead singer, Phillip would approach the other band members with lyrics he’d written, and they would take the instrumentals and make them their own, lead guitarist David Morckel said.

The rest was up to the audience.

The band gave three performances and allowed their fans to choose what songs they would like to be included on the record. But they aren’t the typical “tailgate and beer” country songs, Fox said.

“We have a lot of influences, and a lot of topics. There’s a certain audience that can appreciate the soul of country mixed with the soul of classic southern rock,” he said. “We captured that, and made it work within this playlist age of music. People can listen to this album over and over again, because none of the songs are the same.”

After the album’s completion in January, the Phillip Fox Band raised over $18,000 through a Kickstarter campaign to prepare for the release of“Heartland.” Dayton is only one stop on the tour, among 200 across Ohio, Michigan and Indiana through 2015.

Fox said they’re happy to be getting in front of fans, and they strive to produce great musicianship and a high-quality show for the audience.

Morckel agreed. “Our performance is very expressive, and not always exactly like what you’d hear on the record. We all have our own experience that affect the way we approach the music. Just like any kind of art, it’s rewarding to make something that becomes a part of history.”

The Phillip Fox Band will perform at 4 p.m. at the Hollywood Casino in Dayton. For more information, visit phillipfoxband.com.