PHILLIP VONESH – Single Review: “Fly Over State”

Phillip Vonesh is a Canadian singer-songwriter and guitarist from Toronto who makes a pleasing style of alt-country/Americana. Drawing inspiration from a mix of genres ranging from 60s folk revival and 70s outlaw country to 80s pop, Phillip “strives to write songs that will be stuck in your head as well as your heart.” Over the past four years, he’s released music both as a solo artist, including an EP Lost Our Way in 2019, a two-track EP Cold Hands / Warm Heart, and a touching song “Noa-Grayce” for his newborn niece, both in 2020, and as a member of indie-Americana band The Spare Parts, who released their debut album Infatuation in 2021.

On May 5th (apparently a very popular day for releases, as this is the fifth review I’ve written of music released that day), Phillip dropped his latest single “Fly Over State“. The lead single from his forthcoming album If Only For The Night, it’s his first new music in nearly two years. It was well worth the wait, as I think it’s his best song yet.

The track was co-written by Phillip and Canadian songwriter Hannah Gazso, recorded, produced and engineered by Aaron Goldstein, who also played electric guitar, and mixed and mastered by Alex Gamble (who also mixed and mastered the EP Common Fantasies by fellow Toronto singer-songwriter Alex Southey that I reviewed in January). For the recording of the song, Phillip sang lead vocals and played acoustic guitar and percussion, Ryan Gavel played bass, Nick McKinley played drums, Scott Galloway played piano and organ, and Carleigh Aikins sang backing vocals.

“Fly Over State” is a lovely slice of folk-infused Americana, with vibrant instrumentation layered over a soothing melody. All the instruments are well-played, but the highlights for me are Scott’s beautiful piano and organ and the interplay between Phillip’s gentle acoustic guitar notes and Aaron’s edgier fuzz-coated electric guitar that adds a sense of tension to the proceedings.

Phillip’s plaintive vocals, backed by Carleigh’s lovely harmonies, are wonderful, beautifully conveying a strong heartfelt vulnerability and sense of sadness expressed in the bittersweet lyrics about feeling used by a romantic partner who’s emotionally unavailable, only coming around when she wants her needs met. He likens her to an air traveler who treats him like a ‘flyover state’:

I want to be the destination
Not a view from above
I wouldn’t feel this hesitation in your heart if this were love

But I’m wondering when you’ll be around,
sick of trying to chase you down,
I want to be more than a map dot town

But I’m a layover ‘tween betty and veronica
You only stay-over when it works for you
I’m a fly-over state and I got lost on ya
What do I have to do?

“Fly Over State” is superb, and I’ve had it on repeat the past few days. It’s a promising prelude of what we can expect on Phillip’s forthcoming album.

Connect with Phillip: FacebookInstagram

Find his music on BandcampSpotifyApple MusicYouTube

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