Phil Circle Goes Local

Chicago blues transplant releases first local album

Lindsey Quinnies, photos by Liz Felder

Phil Circle seems to have found his place among us in the Chippewa Valley. After an unexpected move from Chicago in 2010 with EC native and wife Megan Corse, Phil was more than pleased to find our rich music scene. Over the last couple years here, he’s been hanging out with locals, drinking cheap beer, soaking up the Eau Claire landscape and lifestyle, all while absorbing inspiration for his 10th and latest album, Living in the Chippewa Valley. Circle’s musical tastes encompass a broad range, but this album may be his most “consistently stylistic” yet, featuring a ballad and some underlying folk rock, but mostly making his roots in true Chicago blues prominent. Songs burst with saxophones and intoxicating guitar solos alongside his smooth, genuine vocals. The five-track album includes three songs that were largely improvised, recorded live, and put together “like the Grateful Dead” with a variety of local musicians. What really stands out is Circle’s insatiable passion and love for both the music he creates and the place he’s living right now, two things that collide on the title track. The track Just the Blues, Ma’am is another close to his heart, about recently losing a longtime friend – and the person who inspired his love of blues. As Duke Ellington would say, “If it sounds good, it is good.” And this does, so check it out. Also available at The Local Store.