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Stranger on a Train

Last week I went to hear Phil Roy in concert at Pastorius Park in Chestnut Hill. Phil who, you ask? Well, you probably know who he is, but I was ashamed to admit I had never heard of Phil until a few months ago.

I was riding SEPTA's R5 train (rock stars always take the R5 when their limo's in the shop), and there was this guy sitting directly across from me taking care of some business on his cell phone. Normally I can tune out this sort of distraction, but some key words piqued my interest, such as “Morningstar” (a recording studio in Springhouse) and “tour dates” (he was asking someone to update his web site).

Of course I flushed with shame for eavesdropping, but he was talking right in my ear! I feigned a sneeze so I wouldn't hear the password to his web site. Phil, dude, too much information! Later I asked a friend who actually knows something about music who this guy was. While not a household name as a performer, he has had his songs covered by a slew of big-name performers and included in movie soundtracks.

It was a beautiful summer night for a concert, and the audience was quiet and attentive during the sensitive numbers when Phil practically whispered the words accompanied only by his guitar—except for the dogs barking, that is. Phil's Golden Retriever Travis was part of the act, and I enjoyed his contribution as good-will ambassador almost as much as the music. While Travis knew not to bark during the music, the other dogs in the park weren't so respectful.

Phil did a lot of new tunes as well as his hits, such as “Melt” and “Undeniably Human.” He was accompanied by a band called Dr. Ketchup that included Hooters’ guitarist John Lilley. I guess John can pick and choose his projects since that chain of restaurants was so successful...

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