Brad Phillips never imagined his song “Dance Again” from Willow Run would take on a whole new life.
The Americana singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist revived the initial stripped-down track from the 2018 World War II era play and transformed it into a sweeping, cinematic ballad.
“The song was only two verses with a chorus and was performed with only voice and a simple, lonely acoustic guitar part. There was a lot of anguish and longing at its core at that point,” said Phillips, who’s from Dexter and teaches at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance.
“Since then, there has been another verse added, and the arrangement grew quite dramatically. The instrumentation of this new version is several layers of both acoustic and electric guitars, piano, bass, percussion, background vocals and a violin orchestra.”
Out Feb. 10, “Dance Again” soars and flourishes as Phillips’ debut songwriting single. As a longtime sideman, he’s spent most of his musical career playing acoustic guitar, mandolin and violin with Michigan-based artists, including Jeff Daniels, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, The Verve Pipe and May Erlewine.
“For years, I had wanted to be a songwriter, but I could never get out of my own way enough to let it happen. It wasn’t until I was given permission to be and encouraged to be exactly who I am that I was able to let the music in my heart flow freely,” Phillips said.
“I think I always wanted to share this song with the world beyond its place in Willow Run. This song really represents one of those rare moments in creativity in which it feels like someone else wrote it, and I was simply the conduit through which it was transmitted.”
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