By Ayah Victoria McKhail
Special to The Telegram
It’s been a connected and ambagious alley on the artery to bloom for Phill Hood. With Ontario in a accompaniment of emergency as the arena struggles to accommodate COVID-19 and get vaccinations underway, he’s had to stop and crop a lot, but he’s no drifter to detours.
“Life is all about switching apparatus and award your abundance area aural that. You may accept to change lanes already in a while, or apathetic down, but it’s all allotment of the journey,” he says.
The award-winning artist, who has developed a acceptability as Toronto’s “go-to guy” for East Coast Celtic music, was on bout in the U.S. aftermost March with The Tartan Terrors, a bandage that blitzes stages beyond North America by accumulation the atomic activity of a bedrock appearance with their signature humour and stepdance, back a faculty of approaching doom punctured the air.
“That was a bit of a white-knuckle experience, as we didn’t apperceive what to apprehend back we got to the bound a day later. Luckily, we got home aloof fine, but 24 hours afterwards that, Toronto had shut aggregate down. That was the end of my old activity for the accountable future.”
Thrust from the spotlight with no gigs on the horizon, the frontman of Phill Hood and the Exclamation begin a buoy in the anatomy of government programs, and began recruiting and teaching guitar acceptance online, in accession to assuming abandoned from his absolute own plexiglass balloon for a abrupt aeon over the summer.
The communicable lockdown has spawned a aeon of adroitness for him, and a new anthology is in the works.
“My abutting almanac will be a little added bedrock influenced, as The Exclamation absolutely begin a canal in that architecture afterwards years of awning and bells gigs. We’re all big admirers of archetypal bedrock and Canadian rock, so those influences accept crept into my autograph style,” Hood says, apropos to his bandmates, John William Blakeley, Charlie McKittrick and Jake Saenz.
• • •
Born in March 1985, Hood started demography piano acquaint as a child. On his 11th birthday, his friend, Rob Pittman, (who plays with St. John’s bands With Violet and Women of Rock) brought over one of the era’s best defining albums, “Dookie” by Green Day. The another bedrock masterpiece had a catalytic aftereffect on Hood’s development as a musician, and back Pittman bought an electric guitar, Hood followed, accepting a cheap, knock-off Stratocaster.
“I got beeline to assignment and abstruse ‘Dookie’ in its entirety, as Rob and I aggregate the troops to anatomy our aboriginal bandage to comedy those songs live.”
Over the years, Hood’s adulation for the accent connected to grow, and in 2003, he accustomed in Toronto to abstraction applesauce guitar at York University. He acquired acceptance by hosting and assuming on the open-mike circuit, accepting gigs at some of city’s best accepted haunts and snagging a few residencies at bars.
Some of his best memorable adventures accommodate affair Gene Simmons of Kiss, audition Spirit of the West’s absorbing set active through the walls of the bar they were arena in while he was strumming agnate Canadian ballads to his own admirers nearby, administration a date with above International Space Station administrator Chris Hadfield while assuming for NASA alumni and arena in Western Canada with singer-songwriter Jesse Daly, Cape Breton fiddler Lennan Delaney and Jarred Albright, who plays the dabble and mandolin on The Exclamation’s admission album.
Over the years, Hood has additionally faced a alternation of challenges, and talks candidly about aggressive depression, and the accent of mental-health supports for musicians. He’s additionally had to attack with a granuloma, which is a advance of blister tissue that obstructs his articulate cords, affecting his adeptness to sing — or alike allocution on the affliction days. This has led him to acclimate to new means of arena and authoritative music, acquirements to assurance others more, and allurement for advice forth the way.
Another soul-crushing acquaintance took abode in 2005. Hood had started an EP with a flat in Toronto, advance a ample sum of money in the undertaking. The engineer/producer concluded up abandonment his job and took Hood’s song files with him, so canicule of assiduous assignment were lost.
With awakening in mind, in 2011, Hood bought his aboriginal recording interface and condenser microphone and abstruse to produce. Released in 2017 — the acme of over a decade of blood, diaphoresis and tears — he called the anthology “Detour.”
“It was the absolute allegory for my journey, with the anthology actuality the final destination.”
Blakeley, the bassist, who hails from Miramichi, N.B., addendum that musically, it finds a canal about in the assemblage of “Big Shiny Tunes,” East Coast Celtic bedrock and the archetypal bedrock appearing from the brand of Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen, and reveals its bounden element.
“These songs are angry calm with the cilia of biking and the distance, both affecting and physical, that comes with it, active and growing into yourself far from home. Merging the disparate elements of your accomplished to accomplish your present,” Blakeley said.
The anthology strikes a ambit with Carmen Toth. As a child, the Montreal-born, Toronto-based singer-songwriter lived in four altered cities, and St. John’s was one of them.
“I acclaim active there with accepting my alpha in music, as Newfoundland’s a absolute culture-rich and agreeable province.”
Currently in pre-production for her aboriginal feature album, she enjoys every song on “Detour.”
“There’s an affecting artlessness to the absolute song agreeable and delivery. It’s one of those albums that has layers — you apprehend altered things every time you accept to it, and acknowledge it more.”
While Hood counts The Beatles and Bruce Springsteen as accepting a aural aftereffect on him, “Detour” has garnered comparisons to Great Big Sea, and there’s a acceptable acumen why.
“The anthology ‘Up’ had hit the airwaves about the time my agreeable interests were sparked in the mid-’90s, and it was adamantine as a Newfoundlander not to be aflame by the band. They were bounded heroes, and if Alan Doyle happens to be account this, I still anticipate ‘Fast as I Can’ is one of the best adulation ballads anytime written.”
Acknowledging that Toronto’s already pulsating music arena faces an ambiguous approaching as shuttered venues abound and Hood aboveboard ponders whether ample crowds and mosh pits will be a affair of the past, he’s assertive the music won’t stop.
“Musicians are a able bunch. You can booty abroad every befalling for them to perform, but they’ll still acquisition a way to accomplish some noise.”
With a faculty of animation and optimism, he says, “It’s not accessible to apply on the things that are out of your control. The things that are in your ascendancy are area you’ll acquisition purpose and happiness. Those things may attending altered as you face new challenges in your life, but it’s important to be able to let go sometimes, and aloof alive your life, rather than anxious for the past. To adduce my song, (‘The Appropriate Road’), ‘You can never booty the amiss road, back you’re accessible from the get go. You can put abroad your problems, and booty a aberrate on the appropriate road.’”
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