Philip Sayce


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photograph of Philip Sayce

Philip Sayce was born in Aberystwyth, Wales, and grew up in Toronto, Canada. He started his career recording and touring with Jeff Healey, Melissa Etheridge, Uncle Kracker, and others. In 2009 he released a solo album, "Peace Machine". In 2010 he released "Innerevolution" (Europe/UK only), "Ruby Electric" in 2011, "Silver Wheel Of Stars" in 2012 (EP version), and "Steamroller" was released in 2013. He currently lives in Los Angeles.

Growing up in a musical household and exposed to his parents’ eclectic record collection that included the likes of Eric Clapton, Ry Cooder and Dire Straits, he was particularly drawn to the guitar – being taken by his parents to an Eric Clapton concert left the young Sayce awestruck and in no doubt about which was the instrument for him.
By the time he was 15 he was playing guitar in his first band; he was up and running. He soon became a regular fixture on the Toronto club scene, where his fluid soloing and mesmerising overall musicality turned heads an earned him many fans. With an insatiable appetite for jam sessions at the likes of Grossman's Tavern in Toronto, Sayce began rapidly distilling his own singular guitar style and tonal palette from a melting pot of influences that included such greats as Clapton, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Jimi Hendrix, Robert Cray, and in particular Stevie Ray Vaughan, to whom he is, understandably, probably most often compared.

While still a teenager, Sayce was held in such high regard that, after jamming on stage with one of his heroes, guitar player and fellow Canadian Jeff Healey, he was invited to join Healey’s band. Sayce was now living the dream. He can still remember the first time he heard Healey – and the effect it had: “It was in a supermarket car park. I was 11 and my parents had gone into the store. This song, See The Light, came on and I was just overwhelmed. I literally punched the radio.”

After three-and-a-half years with Healey’s band, playing with them at the Montreux Jazz Festival and at gigs around the world, Sayce, the apprentice having learned well from the master, felt it was time to move on.

Looking to further expand his musical horizons, in 2001 he moved to Los Angeles. He joined Uncle Kracker, and was with the band when they had their massive US No.1 hit song Drift Away. He starred in and wrote the music for the short film Cockroach Blue, directed by the award-winning Robert Crossman, which received high acclaim when it was shown at the Woodstock Film Festival. Then, in 2003, Grammy and Oscar winner Melissa Etheridge came calling (“very talented – like Stevie Ray Vaughan,” she enthused), and he enjoyed an “awesome” time playing and recording with her band until 2008.

During his stint with Melissa, Sayce released his debut solo album, Peace Machine, using what he describes as Etheridge’s “shit-hot” band and producer Michael Nielsen. Recorded live in the studio in just a couple of days, it’s full of raw, high-energy, low-maintenance retro-blues delivered with startling punch and real style, and showcases Sayce as a soulful, powerfully expressive vocalist as well as a supremely talented guitarist and all-round musician. The album also includes a crunching version of the Neil Young classic Cinnamon Girl, the song often a resonant inclusion in Sayce’s thrilling live shows.

And live is where Sayce, his jam-club years in his pocket, shines brightest, he and his band performing with a potent mixture of power and finesse, the guitarist regularly pulling the trigger and unleashing visceral, mesmerising solos. And while they’re checking out the hot licks, it’s clear that many of the girls in the audience are equally taken by the good-looking guy with the swept-back blond hair and charisma to spare. If you’ve got it…

May 2010 saw the release of, INNEREVOLUTION, recorded with his live band - keyboardist Fred Mandel (Queen, Supertramp, Elton John, Alice Cooper), bassist Joel Gottschalk and drummer Ryan MacMillan (Matchbox 20). This collection of songs, some co-written with Richard Marx, busbee, Mike Bradford, Dave Cobb and Marti Frederiksen among others, further establishes Philip Sayce not only as one of the finest blues guitarists around, but also as a musician, singer and songwriter with tremendous talent and potential.

“Richard came out to a show and we immediately hit it off,” Sayce explains of how he came to write with Richard Marx. “He's a massive talent and to have the opportunity to collaborate and learn from him is something I am grateful for. Anyone I collaborate or co-write with, the goal is to be open and learn, and I've been blessed to work with some of the best of the best.”

More varied than Peace Machine, and overall more sophisticated and more polished in terms of songwriting, sonics and performance, Innerevoltuion is a stylish, engaging and thrilling album that should bring Philip Sayce to the attention of a bigger and wider audience.

With Peace Machine, Innerevolution, Ruby Electric, Silver Wheel Of Stars, and Steamroller, Philip Sayce continues to write his own chapter in the long and continuing history of popular music. And it’s clear that this gifted young musician has many more pages yet to write.

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Gear used by Philip Sayce

Philip Sayce electric guitars

Philip Sayce delay effects

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