For those who choose to take an exit from the conventional path one is expected to follow in life, and embark instead on a pursuit to fulfill a passion, life usually presents challenges that test commitment, build character and ultimately reveal the essence of one’s true self.
For living proof of such an individual who has endured the trials and tribulations of this exploration, and who has the ability to capture the highs, lows and other experiences it has provided in thought-provoking authentically-captivating songs, you need look no further than singer-
songwriter, vocalist, guitar player, music teacher and music lover, Butch Phelps!
Like an artist who makes use of all the colors of the spectrum to portray darkness and light, you’ll find a multitude of contrasts in the songs Butch sings.
With these contrasts, Butch takes us on a journey that connects us not only to lows etched with pain and highs imbued with pleasure, but also to reflections of discomfort that can result from joy and wisdom that is often gained from adversity.
Soaking up a variety of musical influences as a kid, Butch began playing guitar and writing songs at a young age.
In earlier years, he lived in different parts of the United States, including Westchester, New York; Norton, Massachusetts; Albuquerque, New Mexico; San Diego, California; and Portland, Oregon.
He is now based in Hell’s Kitchen in New York City, where he has been immersing himself in the thriving music of the East Village for over a decade.
In recent years, in addition to his solo work, Butch has formed and performed with bands known as the New Heathens, the Buck Ups and the Elevaters.
In 2012, he released the album Butch Phelps and the Buck Ups with 11 songs.
Then in 2017, he released an EP, Heavy Pour, with five songs.
His latest album, Elevaters, featuring his band, the Elevaters, is in the process of being released now.
In his 1st of 2 shows on Alive with Clive, Butch performed “Like Home” from the album released in 2012, and three of the five songs from Heavy Pour.
In his 2nd Show, all four songs he performed are from Elevaters.
Here are the lists of songs Butch performed in his two shows on Alive with Clive:
- “Like Home”
- “Good Dr.’s Orders”
- “Away from Here
- “Old Life”
- “Woke Up Upside Down
- “Life So Strange”
- “Boiling Heart”
- “Siren’s Song”
In the 1st Show:
- “Like Home” is an inherently-paradoxical song that indicates that the journey of exploration to discover all that life has to offer can feel like home;
- “Good Dr.’s Orders” is a song that pays tribute to the band known as the Freak Mountain Ramblers, who had a regular gig on Sunday evenings at an established venue in Portland, Oregon;
- “Away from Here” provides a perspective about one’s life, based on experiences and outcomes, that resulted in a state of despondency; and
- “Old Life” is a humorously-serious lament about the challenges faced by a person who is getting older.
In the 2nd Show:
- “Woke Up Upside Down” describes the conflicting emotions you feel when you wake up the day after you took an action that went beyond your comfort zone;
- “Life So Strange” is a song about the contradictions and oddities you notice when you reflect upon what has occurred in your life;
- “Boiling Heart” involves the communication of wisdom conveyed in conversations about life between a parent and child; and
- “Siren’s Song” is a recording of the observation that vast numbers of people are not perceptive enough to discern the degree to which decisions and actions of political leaders are deceptive and damaging.
“And there’s no hesitation
If you’ve been a fan over the years of such renowned singer-songwriters as Kris Kristofferson, Don Henley, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty or Steve Earle, after you hear Butch sing his songs you’re bound to agree that he is perfectly positioned and fully equipped to take possession of the baton that is, figuratively speaking, being passed on to younger singer-songwriters following in their footsteps.
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