In Grade 9, Shane Philip pined to play the drums.
“Only the kids that can't hold a note go on drums,” the older students in school band told him. Philip was handed a clarinet.
Determined, he played it as poorly as he could and it didn't take long before he found himself right where he wanted to be.
“I got to be quite good at the drums,” the Quadra Island native said.
Today, Philip plucks, beats or blows tunes out of most devices that cross his path. Renowned as a “one-man force,” Philip shows no favouritism toward any particular instrument. It all depends on the song.
“I'm a jammer,” he said.
But foremost, Philip describes himself as a songwriter — a prolific one. Since 2005, Philip has staged an average of 100 shows across Canada annually. In 2007, he released his first album, Earthshake. The following year, he unveiled a collaborative effort with the album In the Moment. A year later, he starred as a one-man show in the album Live at Baker Studios. Philip then took a break before releasing Life.Love.Music in 2011.
He's currently working on another 12-song album. So far, he's got two songs checked off the list.
“I am going strong on the creative side right now,” Philip said from his home in Courtenay.
Philip likens his writing style to pulling words from the air — the words are out there, he just has to grab them. It's a simple theory and he sticks to it.
“If it is not easy, we should move on to another song,” Philip said.
Philip didn't grow up in a musical family. His parents listened to Neil Diamond, while he grooved to Neil Young. As an avid, life-long runner, many of his lyrics come to him when he's on the trails. Nature is the backbone to his inspiration, Philip said. His folksy, reggae, blues and didgeridoo-infused music often mimics the rhythm and vibes found in the great outdoors.
Philip's performances match his fluid songwriting technique. He heads out on stage with no set list. It's all about the moment, the people there and what instrument speaks to him at the time, Philip said.
“I am not capable of playing a song the same twice in a row,” he added.
On Saturday (June 30), Philip is bringing his slew of instruments to the Brackendale Art Gallery. Wear your red and whites, as the Canada Day celebration kicks off at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $20. They can be purchased at the art gallery or at Xocolatl Chocolate creations at 38020 Cleveland Ave.
For more information visit www.shanephilip.com.