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With over a dozen albums featuring beautifully crafted songs already under his belt, Derbyshire musician Phil Matthews—whom you’ve probably never heard of—is easily described as England’s best kept secret. The “pink sock-wearing, trilby-hatted troubadour” has been around for the longest of time but has surprisingly only been featured and covered by a handful of journalists and bloggers.

He is professionally known as The Village. Having written and performed with many bands over the years—most notably recording as Lost and Found or LaF in the ’80s—Phil’s dedication to his work as a musician is truly beyond compare. The singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist is now about six years into his latest alter ego, and it looks like he has not really aged!

A familiar sight in Northern England, Phil has been continually seeking out new musical territories to conquer with his original music. In fact, two songs off his Carnival of Fools album have enjoyed some sensational time in N1M‘s folk rock charts. He has also remarkably built a loyal following around the Midlands live circuit, paving the way for his music’s warmer reception.

The fact that this down-to-earth musician remains independent to date is commendable. For the record, Phil has been in the industry for nearly five decades, actively putting out records and performing live. Anyone sure can tell music is his life’s work. It’s a shame the mainstream press isn’t helping. But let’s!

Listening to The Village is like taking a stroll down memory lane. Without looking one might mistake his songs for those released in the good old days. But this is self-explanatory. Phil basically has a long history of blending English contemporary folk rock and pop, which is perceptibly implanted in his acoustic guitar-led, often foot-tapping anthems.

The blues sensibilities in his tracks are ingenious, and the country vibe is very much alive. He sings like he’s simply telling a story that he knows by heart and is stoked about making known. Phil’s poetic, raw lyricism and lighthearted musical techniques are reminiscent of that of Robyn Hitchcock, the Floyd’s Syd Barrett, Paul McCartney, and Bob Dylan.

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His newest addition to his discography, Escape from the Witchwood, is a ten-track album that once again speaks of Phil’s musical artistry. Released earlier this month, all the songs in the album were written, performed, and recorded solely by him. According to The Village landlord, several of the songs in his 5th full-length “referenced British folk mythology, although none of the songs are based on specific stories.”

Visit Phil’s official website and stick around. Might as well stream all of his brilliant releases!


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UNXIGNED is all about the indie. As an independently run music and artist discovery blog, UNXIGNED's core values are founded on the belief that music, being a universal language and an essential part of culture, must be celebrated no matter the scene an artist represents. It is our mission at UNXIGNED to help deserving indie artists—seasoned and new—be heard globally and to produce quality content for readers and listeners to enjoy.

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