Month: August 2010

Phil Romeo – Guitarcity

Guitarcity is the first release from native Philadelphian Phil Romeo. Born and raised in South Phily, Masters in music education from Temple University, Guitarcity will hopefully bring well deserved recognition to this musician.

Romeo’s first release has eleven tracks of which Penn’s Landing opens the CD. The tune was also the initial inspiration behind this first CD. “I love riding my bike through the city at night, I was walking with my bike on Penn’s landing one night and there was a really cool vibe going on and the  melody started running through my head. I couldn’t get home fast enough to write it down” Phil recalls. Romeo’s spoken thoughts about his music are organized as well as his music, each line bringing the perfect transition into the next note culminating in a perfect cadence.

Sitting down with Phillip and his wife Barbara in their south Philadelphia home to talk about his CD over cappuccino and Barbra’s biscotti gives this witness a visual image behind the inspirations for Guitarcity. The kindness and love in the lyrics on the 7th track, For my Girl is exhibited as I watch both Phil and Barbra interact. The personal side of Romeo’s life are the notes played on his guitar for us to hear.

Lyrics aside, the skill, technique and ideas in his playing are flawless. When asked why he never went out to try to “make it in music” Phil points to a family portrait next to his piano and proudly states, “because I always wanted to have a family”.

Romeo plays guitar, bass, percussion, harmonica, soprano recorder, and vocals. Backing Phil is Steve Tanzer on flute. While the commercial use of his music isn’t what Phil is striving for, the track that inspired the CD would be a perfect soundtrack for an advertising campaign for Philadelphia tourism with the closing line, I’m Mayor Michael Nutter and this is Philadelphia.

Christopher Farrell-Rit Mo Collective

Working as the Artist in Residence for Temple University’s School of Dance has given Rit Mo Collective founder Christopher Farrell another outlook and approach for his compositions.  Farrell an adjunct professor at Temple University founded Rit Mo Collective in 2005 and released their first CD Arianna’s Thread in 2008.  Farrell is currently working on a new CD.

Farrell explained that in addition to his newly developed understanding of rhythm for dance adaptation, a large influence on his music has also been guitarist Robert Fripp’s, new standard tuning. Rit Mo Collective’s shows are a mixture of material from Farrell’s first CD, which the composer describes as Avante Garde Americana and of course his new material. Farrell further states that the first CD is reflective of his influences from chamber music. His newer material is more cinematic and funky with a lot of time signature changes in the compositions.

While his arsenal of strings includes: banjo, bass, Chinese Ruan, Zhong and the mandolin, Farrell’s compositions are written on the guitar. The mandolin is particularly close to his heart owing to the fact that the strings are tuned in fifths, which is close to the new standard tuning that he loves to work within.

Rit Mo Collective will perform at Silk City on Wednesday August 18, 2010. The doors open at 8:00PM. Silk City is located on the corner of 5th and Spring Garden in Philadelphia.  Joining  Rit Mo for the evening will be Hang Drummer Dante Bucci.