Grant Lee Phillips' comments on Ladies' Love Oracle
"Recorded over the course of three days in October of ninety nine, Ladies'
Love Oracle is just me in the raw, me in the dark, me in the basement. Sometimes
a sketch says more than a mural..."
"I had become a man with a mission and for three days in October the world beyond that basement just plain didn't exist. What did come to exist however is a spirit caught in a bottle. Nine whispering tales, representing a side of me and my music that give or take a few hits might have been killed off. This work which I've christened "Ladies Love Oracle" took its title from a 19th century parlor game of divination. Like the mystic answers of an oracle, songs seem to provide for me the same right answers at the right time. It was through the generosity of my good friend Jon Brion, who allowed me to work in his private studio with the aid of engineer Tom Biller that this work came into being. Tom and I moved at the speed of light, which was possible as this material seemed to actually benefit from the sheer lack of fretting that typically goes into recording. I happen to find such barbs and thorns as fascinating as the petals myself and given Tom's Zen-like nature, everything retained that early sense of awe that so often fades as songs grow to become polished works . I'm very delighted with the outcome of this innocent endeavor which simply revealed its purpose one little step at a time. Its an acoustic collection, the instrumentation hinging on a few sparse elements, being the guitar, tack piano and pump organ. Most of these compositions have been featured at one time or another live at Largo, if only once or twice. Nic Harcourt at KCRW in Los Angeles has recently welcomed various unreleased tracks off Ladies Love Oracle to his consistently innovative play list. I consider this very flattering company. As I said to Nic, my aim with this collection is to see it reach those folks who will naturally gather what it has to offer and to avoid it being "marketed" like some major-monster release. My intention is to give it a push like a paper boat, see where goes, without any real masterminding. This is, I have come to believe, the beauty of the internet. At the urging of so many who frequent my web site, I've discovered the contemporary equivalent to that classic fantasy of writing a song on a Monday only to hear it aired on a Tuesday. It's a very pure line of expression that has never been more tangible than it is today. I'm presently engaged in coordinating the most appropriate online avenue for this album. It will be dealt with as a special limited addition as opposed to a major release. Rather than serving as a so called "Solo-debut", it is my hope that Ladies Love Oracle will serve to initiate the dawning of a new approach to distributing various aspects of my music. This will not necessarily be to the exclusion of future Label releases but a means to supplement those all too infrequent projects with fresh and interesting material that might otherwise not have have a proper avenue within the label system as it currently stands. For the up to the minute story regarding Ladies Love Oracle and all current projects I welcome you to visit my official web site. You'll find lots of information , as well as "Messages From Beyond", the official message board. Hope to see you there!" Source: GrantLeePhillips.com, November 1999 and January 2002
CWAS: You spoke of how ‘Ladies’
Love Oracle’ was very stripped down, was it hard to do that after the
big band thing, to make that decision?
GLP: No, it’s the kind of thing where my friend Jon Brion, he had built a home studio and he said to me, here are the keys, go do what you want for a day or two and I thought... ‘hmmmm, what songs should I record?’ and then it hit me that I could probably record nine or ten songs in the amount of time I could overdub one song and so that was basically what happened and, before I knew it, I had a records worth of acoustic songs. At the time I wasn’t dealing with any labels, I had let go of my previous management who had looked over Grant Lee Buffalo and so I had very few ties, which was both challenging and also frustrating, but there I was. I could have done anything at that moment, I could have gone off to Ecuador and never came back, but, instead I went to the studio for three days and I walked out with something that was all mine and it’s something that I’ve held onto, I sell it off the edge of the stage at times when I’m doing a solo show, I sell it at grantleephillips.com. It’s a nice thing to have something that you can call your own, very few musicians have that and very few recording artists have something they can call their own at the end of their career.
Comes With A Smile, Interview by by Laurence Arnold, #11, Autumn 2002
YOU'RE A PONY
"I wrote these words in about five minutes, as you probably tell, a long while back. It starts in G, then goes E minor, there's a B flat bass in there for a second, I know there's a D involved but in general it's all made up chords. Hope this helps." Source: Messages From Beyond