In a music scene with no short supply of roots and Americana outfits, Josh Phillips Folk Festival stands apart. Offering an upbeat sound that resides somewhere between folk-rock and reggae, with not-so-subtle hints of soul and R&B, Phillips’ unmistakable sincerity and unflagging positivity have made the band one of Asheville’s most adored acts since Phillips split with Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band in 2007.
It doesn’t hurt that Phillips writes some seriously catchy songs.
“They’re melodic, they’re lyrically honest, and they’ve got a good dance-y kind of feel,” he says of the band’s catalog. “But I think the underlying thing is that people connect lyrically.” JPFF’s debut release, Wicker — a fitting bit of wordplay on the phrase “we care” — landed on several Best of 2008 lists, and Phillips and Co. have since made a seemingly unending string of festival appearances that this year included the Jam Cruise, Jam in the Dam (in Amsterdam) and Music on the Mountaintop.
The band is currently hard at work on its sophomore effort, due next spring. Catch them at Xpress’ Best of WNC Bash, at the Orange Peel on Nov. 17.
— Dane Smith