Phil Cornish | Walkaway

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Country: Bluegrass Easy Listening: Background Music Moods: Type: Acoustic
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by Phil Cornish

A second-generation bluegrasser and mandolinist, featured on this album, showing his versatility with composing instrumentals and song lyrics.
Genre: Country: Bluegrass
Release Date: 

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  song title
1. This Place Is Not Enough
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2:58 $0.99
2. Walkaway
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4:21 $0.99
3. Lay Down and Die
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2:50 $0.99
4. Since You Walked Out On Me
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2:39 $0.99
5. Front Stoop
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2:49 $0.99
6. The Bar Fight
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4:48 $0.99
7. Bag of Beans
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3:39 $0.99
8. I Always Come Back to You
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2:14 $0.99
9. Cold Room
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2:58 $0.99
10. California Gold
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4:16 $0.99
11. All Alone
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2:03 $0.99
12. Bitter Wind Ain't Always Bad
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2:29 $0.99
13. Not So Much
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4:00 $0.99
14. Canyon of the Kings
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3:44 $0.99
15. Merced
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16. Strumming Are the Sages
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4:06 $0.99
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Album Notes
Phil Cornish is a second-generation bluegrasser and many in the Bay Area know him as an excellent mandolin player and the member of many bands in the area. The sixteen songs on the album include 13 written by Phil and show his versatility with composing instrumentals and song lyrics. Phil’s cherished Red Diamond mandolin graces the cover and liner photos and the mandolin’s warm, rich sound adds an intensity to the songs as deep as a fine red wine. The title cut, “Walkaway,” has a delightful bubbling quality to the melody and Phil is joined by Ron Lauder on guitar, Megan Lynch on fiddle, Ken Clarkson on banjo and Suzanne Suwanda on bass. The music box precision and clarity of the mandolin interplay with the darker tones of Megan’s fiddle and the banjo in the whimsically named tunes “Bag of Beans” and “Front Stoop.” Phil doubles on guitar and mandolin on “Merced” which has an effervescent sparkle and pulse to match the cascading sounds of its namesake river.

While the instrumentals have an optimistic upbeat tone, the songs’ lyrics show a darker side of life. There are tales of mismatched lovers and poor souls who are “liquored up and lonesome.” The song “Bitter Wind Ain’t Always Bad” has a hopeful reminder to be “grateful for what you have.” “The Bar Fight” is a classic western movie plot rendered in song and Phil’s voice rumbles in the Johnny Cash range while Dad Rick Cornish adds a surprise ending to the song. “Strumming Are The Sages,” written by Phil and Tushar Parte, adds a spice of Indograss with sitar and drums blending in a hypnotic mix with mandolin, Mike Tater’s fiddle, Phil Vostic’s banjo and Ron Lauder’s guitar. This is an intriguing album with a mixture of textures and tones that reveal more nuances with each listening.


to write a review

Martin Gothberg

Not just for bluegrass lovers
yes, that's the genre but if you listen between the lines and measures you will hear something crossover maybe along the lines of modern folk. You MUST hear the title track and then don't miss Merced and All Alone. I am partial to instrumentals but the singing works well and this comes across as a creative work of art...4 stars as I rarely give out 5 - but almost for Walkaway.

Steve Johnson

Either kick your feet up or try to keep them on the floor.
In total, this is one beautifully moody piece of work. Each cut sucks you into it's own space, be it a zippy upbeat tune or one of those growling deathbed ballads. You can't help but share in the emotions that went into making a song, and the reason simply has to be that every one of the musicians excels at their stuff and understands the big picture.
And that picture must be a fresh histogram of Phil Cornish's mind.
I love the way it works. The instrumentals are so darned tastey and flowing. And the lyrical songs pull you into the story while the instruments don't sidetrack to get you lost along the way, so you're there and feeling the love or heartbreak or whatever.
I won't comment on specific tunes beyond that, because I hate CDs that just have a couple good tunes and the rest is blather or showmanship. Don't you? Well that's not the case here, not a turd in the bowl. This CD is very listenable and enjoyable from top to bottom.
So much so that you can't put it on and listen while you're working or you won't get much done. Hold this one close, it's a keeper. Enjoy.

Joe Ross

Engaging melodic moments and a unique flair
Playing Time – 53:18 -- Californian Phil Cornish’s bluegrass has engaging melodic moments and a unique flair that is modest and self-effacing. Cornish picks mandolin and guitar, and he sings most lead vocals. His talented and competent guest musicians include four other guitarists, five banjo players, three fiddlers, four bassists, and others. The musicians include Phil’s father Rick Cornish (fiddle), Pat Ickes (banjo), Megan Lynch (fiddle), Mike Tatar (fiddle), Mike Anglin (bass), Todd Clinesmith (Dobro), Paul Lee (fiddle), Jon McNeill (banjo), Suzanne Suwanda (bass), Toni Murphy (bass), Todd Kimball (guitar), Dave Magram (banjo), Graham Murphy (banjo), Ron Lauder (guitar), Eric Guest (bass), Ken Clarkson (banjo), Tushar Parte (guitar, Indian instruments), Suchita Parte (lead), and Phil Vostic (banjo).

Phil Cornish wrote or co-wrote all but three of the sixteen songs. The other three were written by Rick Cornish (Phil’s father), Paul Lee, or Ron Lauder. The set has plenty of both vocals and instrumentals. The former reveal emotional depth, with the most evocative being “Since You Walked Out on Me,” “I Always Come Back to You,” and “Bitter Wind Ain't Always Bad.” “The Bar Fight” is a moving ballad with Phil, his father and Pat Ickes each singing their respective parts as the stranger, the bar tender, and the local. It’s a tad long for airplay because the story spans nearly five minutes. Sung by Rick Cornish, “California Gold” conveys strong personal memories of the family’s western roots and settlement, and the song establishes a stirring groove. Ron Lauder’s lead vocalizing and Todd Clinesmith’s resonator guitar provide for some mesmerizing variation in “Canyon of the Kings,” but the song seems to be missing some energy to convey heartfelt passion and emotional attachment to the message. Nevertheless, other artists and bands looking for innovative, fresh material from out west should pay attention to the songs on Phil Cornish’s album.

Cornish’s progressive instrumentals impart some stylistic departure from Appalachian-rooted traditional material. Tunes like “Bag of Beans,” “All Alone,” and “Not So Much” are jaunty adventures with interpretive twists of individualism. Tunes like the title cut and “Cold Room” are new acoustic displays of impressionistic enchantment. Phil’s notes on his Red Diamond mandolin are clear and precise, and he also presents his melodic phrases in a capricious and fanciful manner. I particularly tuned into some of the tunes (e.g. Merced, Front Stoop, All Alone) where Phil plays both guitar and mandolin. It would’ve been nice to see the liner notes include some narrative about the musician, his captivating music, and his personal goals, influences and inspirations. While some of the tracks work better than others, there’s plenty here to hold one’s interest as Cornish alternates poignant vocals with acoustic ambiance. The set closes with “Strumming are the Sages,” an experimental composition that fuses bluegrass instruments, sitar, percussion and vocals into a type of polyethnic Hindugrass that conjures images of a 1960s vintage folk coffeehouse session in San Francisco. Overall, “Walkaway” is a nicely animated and vivacious representation of Cornish’s original songs, talent and presentation. (Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now)