...what? Born?...yes, I was certainly born...up in Liverpool in the north-west of England, within the scent of the River Mersey in 1955.
I started playing guitar when I was seven. I got an awful plastic thing for my birthday (at the time of course I thought it was brilliant) and started learning chords. I could never understand why the Beatles songs didn't sound the same when I played them on this plastic guitar with nylon strings!!!
At twelve I got a new guitar - made of wood! - but actually worse than my first guitar - it was so warped you had to re-tune it every time you played a new chord, but I learned anyway.
At school I started a band - DNA - with the unpromising instrumental line-up of; acoustic guitar, (the one I just mentioned) played as a bass; ukulele, as rhythm guitar; and fiddle, as something sounding like a cat being murdered. There may still be tapes in existence of some of the songs we did - for example an excruciatingly bad version of 'Mother Nature's Son'. We practiced a lot but somehow never got round to playing live, which is probably just as well.
DNA more or less split up (that could almost be seen as a biological joke - no? Oh well, never mind) when we all went off to our various universities.
At Birmingham University I was one of very few people who studied Ancient and Modern Greek but we still had time to start up a little acoustic band - two guitars, mandolin and accordion and two-part harmonies. We played a few of the folk clubs round the Uni, on one night earning the gigantic sum of 27 pence each - the big-time was only a step away!
For two years we struggled with both the Greek language and making money with music until in my third year I went to...
I lived in Ioannina in north-west Greece for two years - the start of an on-going love affair with the country. I had a few bands there too - and one of the songs on the CD (Shining Light) is dedicated to this wonderful country.
When I came back and finished my degree - my full title is Phil Newton, BA (Hons.) - I went back to Liverpool for a year where I worked in a Chicken Factory (a dream job - and probably the subject of my...hmm, fourth book, let's say). Then I moved on to London and got some experience (in fact all the experience I'll ever need) of television advertising, working in connection with the advertising agencies for Scottish Television. That gave me the background for the song "Nine to Five Blues". A year of that kind of office work was enough so I moved on to...
The beer-gardens and music scene captured me (along with parenthood) and I've been here since 1980.
After being asked a thousand times if I had a CD and having to reply "er..no!", I finally got round to making one. With the help of the wonderful Pit Floss, we finished in December at Track One studios in Munich. Six of my own songs and six favourite cover versions, all of which are featured in my live programme.
The aim was to keep everything simple and as close to the 'on-stage-sound' as possible. I did that by keeping the arrangements minimal - no drums, no computers - just two acoustic guitars, a little percussion and one voice with some back-up vocals.
There are also some guest appearances from the brilliant Titus Vollmer on dobro and slide, too.
Here are some reactions from people who've heard it:
"Hi Phil, congratulations!!! Your CD is great!!! Since Thursday I heard your CD every evening! - that's really true! . We are absolutely delighted with your CD!
See you Birgit"
I borrowed your CD from my friend Christine - it is GOOD !!!
See you, Hildegard"
This is Joachim. Congratulations, your CD is very good (at the moment the song "The World Is New" seems to be the best).
Best regards Joachim"
And if you want to delve into my writings I now have a BLOG!!