What The Papers Say
Folking.com. Dai Jeffries June 6, 2020
The Village is the pseudonym of Phil Matthews; singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and Derbyshire native. Actually he doesn’t hide his real identity that well; surely he knows that classic super-heroes valued that above all else. I only mention this because one track on Escape From The Witchwood is called ‘Trapped Inside The Phantom Zone’ and mentions Supergirl. Phil says that these songs are inspired by English folk myths but I think he stretches that inspiration a bit.
Broken 8 Records June 2, 2020
One of England’s best kept musical secrets, The Village is the eclectic brainchild of trilby hatted troubadour Phil Matthews. With a visceral and spiritual blend of Syd Barrett, Robyn Hitchcock and Andy Partridge that permeate all of Phil’s music, he’s become an unsung hero of Britain’s prevailing folk scene. Once dubbed the “the voice of middle-aged England”, Phil clearly has a lot to say, and with the release of his new album, he looks set to carry on the conversation for years to come.
musicalmusingsandsuch.com Sam Liddicott October 6, 2018
Always on My Mind
ON this occasion
I am taking my mind in different directions and looking at an artist who compels new lines of investigation. I am changing pace and looking at an artist, Phil Matthews, and a musical project that is growing and creating delight. The Village (or ‘thevillage’) is the moniker of Matthews and one that I have discovered quite recently. Before I review a song from his latest album, I wanted to look at records that grow and develop over time; music that is Folk-based and looks at something quite pastoral, quaint and calming; a look at artists who are building their reputation and growing a steady fanbase; a nod to musicians who cannot be easily predicted and are surprising when you hear them – I will look at where the Village might head and what comes next. . .
Phil Matthews (The Village) – Carnival of Fools (Review)
Phil Matthews aka The Village released his Carnival of Fools album back in 2017. With elements of traditional folk music and americana, Phil has built up a fan base around the Midlands. With influences from The Beatles to the Beach Boys, The Village’s music is known to be a magical place for outsiders and oddballs. The album features tracks, “The Secret Garden” which he wrote in 1983. 35 years later and it was Number 1 in the N1M British Folk Rock Chart. Success isn’t necessarily selling a million copies of your music, it can be the little, yet effective things too. Phil records everything himself in the studio, but live he sometimes plays with Mr Hugh. . .
ALBUM REVIEW: PHIL MATTHEWS AKA THE VILLAGE - CARNIVAL OF FOOLS
March 14, 2018
Folk musician 'Phil Matthews AKA the Village' releases his third solo album.
Veteran multi-instrumentalist Phil Matthews has amassed quite the back catalogue over the past couple of decades. Most notably his eight records with 'LaF' and two solo records under the name of 'Phil Matthews AKA the Village'. Matthews describes his latest record 'Carnival of Fools' as sharing "the pop sensibilities of the first two but with a slightly more organic feel." With a varied mix of instruments (all played live), Carnival of Fools is definitely an ambitious output that shows that he isn't shy to experiment. . .
ALBUM REVIEW: PHIL MATTHEWS AKA THE VILLAGE - CARNIVAL OF FOOLS
Lynda-Louise Tomlinson Imagine.
Phil Matthews a.k.a The Village – Carnival of Fools
The title track of the previous album, Voodoo Skull, opens Carnival of Fools and acts as a good introduction to Phil Matthews’ style and sound as a retro and psychadelic throwback.
Available now on iTunes and Soundcloud, to much acclaim, the album’s track Always on Her Mind was voted number one in the British folk/rock charts compiled by NumbeOneMusic.com late last year. Heavily influenced by The Beatles and similar music of the 1960’s such as Pink Floyd and Neil Innes, Carnival of Fools by Phil Matthews (a.k.a The Village) is a fusion of retro, folk rock and psychedelia. Starting slow with heavy vocal effects and songs dragging over three and a half minutes, Carnival of Fools begins to pick up tempo with tracks becoming shorter, clearer and generally more enjoyable.
Having been involved in music for nearly five decades, Phil Matthews have written and performed and many bands before transitioning to a solo career. With bands such as Applause and Clip Ballinger and the 78s, Matthews explored genres from progressive rock to standard rock and roll.
With songs ranging from being written a few months previous to 34 years ago, Carnival of Fools explores memories of childhood to fears for the future, referencing not only himself but also literary greats such as H.P. Lovecraft, Thomas Hardy and William Shakespeare.
Recorded in real time with all percussion (ie cajons, tambourines and shakers) played live and instruments ranging from mandolins and melodicas to Phil Matthews’ favoured sunburst Fender Stratocaster, Carnival of Fools is his third album release but certainly not his last.
The Village: Carnival of Fools – folk pop from Derby musician
Posted on6th September 2017AuthorSarah Lay
Derby musician Phil Matthews has just self-released his new album of whimsical folk pop, Carnival Of Fools, under his The Village moniker.
Having made a name for himself on the local live circuit and in writing and performing with many bands The Village is a vehicle for him as a solo performer and as a multi-instrumentalist songwriter. Lyrically and melodically referencing ’60s pop the album is full of gentle refrains and brushed percussion, subtle details and light washes of influence from a number of guitar genres.
The Beatles, Kinks, Syd Barrett, Martin Carr and more can all be heard echoing in the refrains here, sometimes more explicitly conjured to the fore as in Muses, where Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds is re-told along with references to Cider With Rosie, Gone With The Wind and more. Harmonica brightens the lilting melody, the vocal measured.
The list of boxes unticked on Nothing Ever Happens Here adds a note of regret to nostalgia, and while mid-tempo the track remains upbeat melodically. While made up of eleven distinct songs this is a consistent collection sound wise – a little more skiffle here, more electric guitar there but Matthews is faithful to a particular thread of folk pop throughout the whole album. Not a bad thing – it makes for a good listen as a whole piece, or to dip into for individual tracks.
This is the music of the drowsy slumber at the end of a day of imagined sunshine over a provincial village green. It is, as the cover suggests, the delight and half-remembered excitement of bunting strung prettily and the canvas tents hiding the delights of the fête. It is a melodic re-imagining of a by-gone age, the rose-tinted sound of perfectly pleasant pop bringing a welcome acoustic folk direction to the many psych-infusions around.
The Village‘s Carnival of Fools is out now on streaming and download services including iTunes.
The Village at the Victoria Inn, Derby 16.01.15
The Village in question appears to be Royston Vasey - or somewhere very similar - where 'Little Tom Peep' and other oddballs make up the cast.
These Syd Barrettesque creations are the work of Phil Matthews and he makes no secret of his influences.
'Lionel Strange' is, he tells us, a "homage" to the Pink Floyd front man, but while Barrett got fame early, burnt out and disappeared, Matthews is gigging well into his fifties and seems to be very pleased about it.
He's happy to joke about bagpipe players, the fortunes of Derby County FC and just about anything else.
The half-rhyme and defiance of 'That's The Way It Is' was well received by a youthful, good-humoured crowd gathered around the radiators in the chilly venue and 'Fifty Years' was just as good, an ode to the joyless nine-to-five hum drum that Matthews has left behind.
He 's also been a football commentator - catchphrase: "Derby County nil" - but what of the future ?
Matthews is The Village tonight. The backing band heard on debut release 'Welcome to The Village' are elsewhere - "We're more like a hamlet tonight," Matthews quipped - and if he doesn't reach every note he aims for, his world-weary tales of dashed hopes and defiance are probably the better for it.
On the evidence of this all-too-brief set, Matthews, a good-natured, eccentric soul in pink socks, could be popular with music fans of a certain vintage beyond the Derby pub circuit.
Maybe this village isn't just for local people . . .
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The Musings of OceanicBlue
Your first stop for music by talented-but-under-the-radar-musicians that everyone needs to listen to.
The catchy and semi comedic lyrics of The Village
Little Tom Peep is a catchy little tune with semi comedic lyrics and a uplifting instrumental arrangement that gets your foot stomping. That's The Way it is opens with a smooth and
addictive instrumental sequence.
The Village is a music project setup by Guitarist and principal songwriter for Derby Band LAF Phil Matthews.
Phil has been a songwriter for over 25 years and his most recent songs haven't suited LAF hence we saw the beginnings of the village with it's themes of reflection, the past and the future
Post By - Boulent Mustafa
Derby Evening Telegraph
D E T July 15 2016 By Sophie Sparham
Dive Into Psychedelia
Those who go out in the live music scene will probably have heard of Phil Matthews a.k.a. the Village.
Phil has been a part of Derby’s live music scene now for many years now and is still going strong with new music, live events and regular performances.
This year he has released his new album and it is definitely worth picking up.
Upbeat, rustic with a hint of Tom Wait’s rawness and quirkiness of the Kinks, the Village’s new album, Voodoo Skull , is as psychedelic as its flowery and yellow cover.
Phil takes his audience on a journey through stories about love, loss, the sadness of mundane work and even cats and dogs.
In his singer/songwriter style, Phil, who is massively influenced by the Beatles, acts as our storyteller, pulling us into his world as only he can.
He says: “the sound of my music is based around the late 60s and early 70s. Using some iconography of the TV show The Prisoner gives some people a hand on the music and lets them know what it is all about.”
Crispy Music Questionaire
Can I borrow your car keys? I don’t have a car but you can borrow the pump for my bike if you want.
Can you describe yourself in one sentence? Always gives his best
What are your roots? I’ve written songs and played in bands since I was 14. Inspired initially by seeing a group of school friends pretend to be the Beatles in a school show. Got the bug and have never shaken it off. Many songs written for the bands I’ve played in over the years but Welcome to the Village is my first totally solo project.
How would you describe your sound? It’s best been described as a retro pop mix of the Beatles and Travelling Wilburys so I’ll go with that.
Who or what inspires you the most? Life in general but I am a big lover of the music of the Beatles and a sadly too obscure band called Stackridge
How important is connecting with fans for you? Fans, friends, followers are the most important thing or else you may as well be whistling to yourself on a desert island.
Is social media a big help in your opinion? Absolutely vital, the internet and social media have made it a far more level playing field for bands and solo artists wanting to get their music out into the public domain.
Who is currently on repeat on your iPod or Spotify list? A random list of music from the last 55 years.
People say the end of CDs is near? People said the same of vinyl and that is making a big come back. I certainly had to have CD copies of my album as the media were not interested in mp3s attached to press releases.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever got when you started out making music? Don’t give up
Words of wisdom? Concentrate on being the best you that you can be. At least then whatever level you reach you know you did your best.
The Victoria Inn Review
First up in the acoustic corner was Phil Matthews, a very talented guy with a guitar managed to crack a few jokes during his set and for anyone who’s familiar with the saying “I bet s/he’s a got story to tell” he definitely falls into that category.
During his set he told numerous stories about growing up in the 60’s and covered a couple of Beatles songs hits including ‘Hard Days’ Night’ as well as some material of his own.
I admit I’m not much of a fan of American Country music but Matthews was very good and even got the crowd to join in an add some backbeat during his last two self-written songs ‘A Land Called Faraway’ and ‘Here Comes The Sun Again’ .
This is the first time I’ve ever seen him live and he was really good and had a soothing voice.
‘Welcome to The Village’, Phil Matthews
Phil Matthews; the musician and vocalist with “a hint of Bob Dylan”…
Phil Matthews – performing live with his band, ‘The Village’ – is often found singing his self-written, Country-Pop favourites at the forefront of your cosy, local bars and venues. With vocals not too dissimilar from young Rock/Pop artists – greatly admired during the 60’s – Phil Matthews (a.k.a The Village) makes you feel reminiscent of the greats who transformed music into what it is today.
His melodic finger picking, used in the majority of his songs, is appreciated by many – especially in his single ‘Summerisle’, where listeners have admired “the instrumental Guitar work” used throughout. With this beautifully composed piece of music, requiring no accompanying vocals, Summer Isle is a great starting point for those who have not yet listened to Phil Matthews’ creative work.
Don’t be deceived by the ‘lionel’ strange naming given to a collection of his songs, for beyond them is an incredibly talented musician.
Take a Listen to…
Summerisle, Phil Matthews –
Listen To This… The Village
Adam's Journal February 18, 2017
Phil Matthews, a solo artist whom along with his buddy, Mr Hugh, are also known by their stage name; The Village, have been performing for many years and take influence from artist such as Led Zeppelin and The Beatles. The songs sound fresh and original, just listen to Lionel Strange and Land Called Far Away. Not bad at all bad.
First up, how long have you both been together?
I’ve known Hugh for a long while; we actually played in a band together many years ago. When my current band LaF went into a state of suspended animation I released a couple of albums “Welcome to the Village” and Voodoo Skull” under the name the Village and started performing solo. Hugh came along and joined me for a few of them providing harmony vocals along with harmonica, kazoo, and percussion. Nowadays I perform the occasional solo gig and Hugh performs alongside me at the majority of the shows.
How would you describe yourselves as a duo?
I’d describe us as hunky and good looking but most people who see us would say that I really should go to Specsavers. Seriously though, I hope that the majority of audiences find us entertaining. I’ve always hated serious faced acts that refuse to communicate with audiences between songs and banter with the audience and between the two of us is a very important part of what we do. My own songs are best described as retro pop (whatever that is) and allows us to pepper our shows with pop classics from the past 60 years
….. also what music influences your music?
I’ve always been a Beatles fan, and many of the people who come to watch us remember that I used to be part of a group of friends who put Beatles Conventions on in the East Midlands. I love the classic bands from that period such as the Rolling Stones and the Who – all of which you can hear shades of in my music. My all time favourite band was an obscure West Country folk rock outfit called Stackridge who would think nothing of including self penned music hall tunes, reggae, blues rock, jazz and classical music in their stage shows, and I would like to think that I bring a little of that to what I do. I am, however, interested in the contemporary music scene. It just seems that what I write and record reflects my older influences.
As a duo, do you both find it easier when thinking about musical ideas?
You are absolutely spot on with that suggestion. The biggest frustration for me (and I suspect many other acts) is that anything you want to do has to be run past 3 or 4 other people. Purely on a logistical basis booking gigs can become a nightmare when you have to ask each member if they are available and they then have to ask their wives/girlfriends/cat etc if they are available. I’ve always loved the camaraderie of playing in bands but the number of great songs that have never made it onto set lists because one or other person has a problem with it is immense. Solo I only have me to deal with as I know if I am available or not, and I also choose songs that I personally enjoy playing. Having one other person involved brings a few of the above mentioned problems but it is easier to keep track of availability. Also having a second person to bounce musical ideas off helps to keep you focused. Also with the best will in the world it is hard to be your own critic and having one other person able to point things out solves a lot of that.
The Village, interesting name for your band, how did that come about?
I’m a huge fan of cult sixties show the Prisoner. In a nutshell the idea of the series was that people who the authorities felt to be dangerous were taken to a secret destination to be re-programmed. The place they were sent to was known simply as the Village. Knowing that the Prisoner was very much of its time and attracted a certain type of audience I thought that the name would give people something of a handle on the music. The Prisoner is a great series and I would recommend anyone who has not seen the original Patrick McGoohan show to check it out.
Out of all you gigs which has been your favourite so far?
I’ve enjoyed so many of them for different reasons and I’d hate to offend the various promoters that I have worked for but I would have to give mention to the Shed in Leicester and the bandstand in Nottingham Castle both of which I played solo and the Acoustic Rooms in Nottingham and the Rock and Blues Festival at Pentrich which we played as a duo.
….. and where would be your dream gig?
I would love to play Greenwich Village in New York as it had a bohemian atmosphere and attracted the best singer/songwriters of their era. The Cavern in Liverpool for obvious reasons and finally the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury.
As a band, how’s life on the road going?
This has been a great year with over 100 gigs so far. There is no point as a writer having songs and not taking them out on the road and long may that continue.
Unless you’ve already done so would you ever play some gigs abroad?
I’d love to play abroad, not sure where although the USA does appeal. Not sure how my sense of humour would be accepted though.
Have you had much airplay at all?
With the ever increasing number of stations broadcasting via the internet I estimate my songs have been played on over 250 of them over the last couple of years. My songs have been streamed over 1,000 times, and I believe that at least one of my songs will be played somewhere in the world virtually every day.
And lastly where can fans listen to your music?
It would be great to see people who have read this article come and watch us live when we are next down your way, but for now they can either go to our Facebook page to watch live performance videos and hear the music or listen to the album tracks at