Todd Phillips is the bassist of choice for many of the most innovative, as well as traditional, acoustic instrumental and bluegrass recordings made since the mid-1970s. A two-time Grammy Award winner and founding member of the original David Grisman Quintet, Phillips has made a career of consistently performing and recording with acoustic music’s �nest and most creative artists.
His tone, timing, and subtly intricate bass lines make him one of the few real stylists on acoustic bass, and he is among the very best practitioners of the instrument on the scene.Along with Tony Rice and Darol Anger, Phillips was a founding member of the original David Grisman Quintet.
He spent �ve years playing both rhythm mandolin and bass with the group. He then spent another �ve years with Rice in The Tony Rice Unit.
Rice and Phillips also worked together with J.D. Crowe, Doyle Lawson, Bobby Hicks and Jerry Douglas in the now classic bluegrass recording group; The Bluegrass Album Band - producing six albums over �fteen years.
Since then, Phillips has had the opportunity to work with a virtual “who’s who” of acoustic music’s �nest, such as Vassar Clements, Ricky Skaggs, Sam Bush, John Hartford, Alison Brown, Mike Marshall, Stuart Duncan, Tim O’Brien, Del McCoury, Darrell Scott, Larry Campbell, John Doyle, Dirk Powell, Tara Nevins, and has performed in venues from Royal Albert Hall in London, with Joan Baez, to The David Letterman Show with Elvis Costello.
In 1983 Phillips received his �rst Grammy Award for his work with The New South (Crowe, Skaggs, Rice, Douglas) in a live concert recording;
“Bluegrass - The Greatest Show on Earth”.
Also in ’83, he �nished his critically-acclaimed �rst solo recording; “Released” (Varrick Records), featuring Tony Rice, Jerry Douglas, Darol Anger and John Reischman.
Throughout the 1980s, Frets Magazine readers voted Phillips �ve Readers Poll Awards for “best jazz” and “best bluegrass bassist”.
Phillips has recorded much since then as producer, engineer and artist. In 1993 he produced Kathy Kallick’s “Matters of the Heart”, and in 1995 he released his traditional “old-time” bluegrass instrumental CD; “In the Pines” (Gourd Music), and another CD of all original jazz in���uenced compositions; “Timeframe” (Compass Records).
Todd’s second Grammy Award came in 1997 as producer of “True Life Blues - The Songs of Bill Monroe”. The album received three Grammy nominations and won “Bluegrass Album of the Year”. The project also received two I.B.M.A. Awards (International Bluegrass Music Association).Throughout the 1990s Phillips toured and recorded with PsychoGrass (Anger, Marshall, Grier, Trischka, Phillips), The Laurie Lewis Band, NewGrange (O’Brien, Anger, Marshall, Brown, Aaberg, Phillips), The Tim O’Brien Band w/Darrell Scott, and Phillips, Grier & Flinner, among others.Phillips has produced recordings for guitar great David Grier; “Panorama”, and two projects for mandolinist Matt Flinner; “The View From Here” and “Latitude”, which lead to the formation of the innovative instrumental trio; Phillips, Grier & Flinner and their two unique and highly acclaimed CDs; “Phillips, Grier & Flinner” and “Looking Back”
(Compass Records), featuring only acoustic guitar, bass, and mandolin.In 2001 Phillips completed an set of instructional DVDs for Homespun Tapes;
“Essential Techniques For Acoustic Bass, I & II”, and again in 2012 Phillips added to this endeavor by doing a “bass workout” instructional DVD focusing on strength, endurance, pitch and rhythm building exercises for upright bassists.Todd has produced and engineering projects at his home studio, including Noam Pikelny, Bearfoot Bluegrass, PsychoGrass, Laurie Lewis, John Doyle, and Claire Lynch.
Phillips moved from California to Nashville in 2008 and began touring the U.S. and Europe for the next two years with Joan Baez. Since his migration to “Music City” he has performed and recorded with some of the town’s best - Russ Barenberg, Brittany Haas, Sierra Hull, Jim Lauderdale, David Peterson, John Cowan, Roland White, Mike Compton, Andrea Zonn, and Janis Ian, to name a few.2014 - Phillips begins a busy year which includes touring with Claire Lynch (starting in March) and recording/engineering her 2014 Christmas CD.
Also production is under way of a rare live recording of Tony Rice, Mike Marshall, Darol Anger and Phillips to be presented as a bene�t for Tony Rice.
Additionally, this may be the year that his long awaited production of Hazel Dickens songs sung by a host of legendary artists (including Joan Osborne, Linda Ronstadt, Elvis Costello, Iris DeMent and Emmylou Harris) is �nally released on CD.Todd endorses D’Addario Strings and Fishman Transducers.