Music

Glen Phillips: Out With the Old, Swallowed by the New

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Though songs by '90s band Toad The Wet Sprocket were often about mature subjects—like abuse or religion—singer Glen Phillips wasn't even old enough to vote when the band formed. "I was singing about really intense concepts in the early Toad days," Phillips said, adding how, when he looks back, he sees himself as a kind of "naked, awkward" kid trying to explore big ideas. Now 45 and a solo artist, Phillips continues to dig deep for material but, unlike his younger self, he has a wealth of experience from which to draw.

Phillips is currently on tour behind his new release, Swallowed by the New (Umami, Oct. 2016), and will be in Boise at the Sapphire Room on Sunday, Nov. 13. The album, Phillips' first in 10 years, was written after the end of a 25-year marriage. Swallowed, however, isn't at all an album about regret—just the opposite. It's about "dealing with loss and rebuilding a life after loss," and "honoring change."

"I like to say it's not a breakup album, it's a wake-up album," Phillips said, laughing.

Swallowed may be an eye-opener for fans, as well. Phillips has always been an incredible songwriter but, from singles "Grief and Praise" and "Amnesty" to the addictive "Leaving Oldtown," the album comprises Phillips' most beautiful, well-crafted, engaging work to date.

"It's important to live in a state of gratitude," Phillips said, a philosophy he extends to every facet of his life, including TTWS—the band recently wrapped up a tour celebrating the 25th anniversary of its seminal release fear (Columbia Records, 1991). Phillips credits TTWS with "allowing him to be a professional musician" and honors that time.

"I still sing 'All I Want' and 'Walk on the Ocean' at my shows," he said.